Okay. So the whirlwind which was this extra long week has finally come to a close. Not that there still isn't quite a bit coming up in the near future, but man, I have to say, I'm pooped.
Also it isn't exactly like this extra long week was particularly painful. It was, dare I say it, down right pleasant, and as always there is much to share. So, let's get sharing!
The week continued with Wednesday, many weeks do tend continue this way, nonetheless . . . Wednesday evening was the Scholastic Canada dinner at the Gardiner Museum (a ridiculously convenient location for me to get to). It was really lovely, and I got to meet many another author and bookseller. But the highlight for me would have to be getting to chat with Gordon Korman. I loved his books growing up, and when I was little could not get over the fact he was first published by Scholastic at 12. We spoke a bit, can't really remember about what as my internal dialogue was, "I'm talking to Gordon Korman, I'm talking to Gordon Korman, OMG I am talking to Gordon Korman!" And then he signed a copy of his latest book, Schooled, for me, and then . . . tee hee . . . I signed a copy of mine for his kids!
Then I flew out the next day to St Louis Missouri to attend the Big Read Festival.
St Louis was hot. And I was told, unseasonably so (though as I write this Toronto is having its hottest Thanksgiving on record, so I guess it is happening everywhere). I spent the first night hanging out in my room, and then going to bed early as I was visiting schools the next day.
The next day proved to be even hotter, and I was very proud of myself that I had packed so well for the trip - that is summer dresses etc. So I met this lovely woman, Lisa from Left Bank Books who was going to be driving me to my first location, down in the lobby and she informed me that we had to wait for Peter Brown. Now for those of you who have read a lot of this blog, you will remember that Pete is my artist pen pal from New York who is the author and illustrator of the Chowder book series (his latest, The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder just came out). I knew he was going to be at the festival, but I didn't know when I'd see him so it was so cool that we were being driven around together.
We drove to Pete's school first, dropped him off, and then continued to Central Elementary where I got to speak to a gym full of kids. I spoke. I read. We did a Q and A, and it was really fun. The kids were very enthusiastic, as were the teachers (one of them had been reading my book to his class, which was so cool!).
I was supposed to do a radio interview next, but the person who was supposed to pick me up got lost and then ran out of time so had to go to the interview without me. But fear not, the amazing Lisa managed to still get me on the air via telephone. Now it is rather difficult to do a radio interview by telephone. You have no idea if they can hear you, if they want you to stop talking . . . really odd. But I think it went well, and it was pretty fun!
Then I was picked up by a Big Read volunteer Lauren, and we went for lunch, and then she drove me over to Maplewood-Richmond Heights Elementary, where I had to do three presentations in a row. I was concerned how overwhelming the experience might be, but the kids were so enthusiastic, and really sweet, and they all wanted my autograph (yes some rock stars sign certain body parts, I sign backpacks). I wound up having a wonderful time.
Then I was driven back to the hotel by one of the teachers and I just lay on my bed in utter exhaustion. Pete, his girlfriend Vinnetta, and I had considered going site seeing in the afternoon, but it turned out that he too had had a heck of a day so instead we agreed we'd just go for dinner. We went to this really great tapas restaurant called Bar-celona, get it get it? We showed up around 6:30pm and got a seat on the patio. We must have come just at the right time because maybe half an hour later the place was packed and there was a long line waiting to get in. It was such a nice night, the sort of night you totally forget about the weather because it is the perfect temperature.
We parted ways a couple of hours later, Pete was doing his thing at the Big Read at 9am so he needed to crash, and I watched some tv in my room and went to bed.
I had to check out of the hotel at noon, so I stored my bag in the lobby and went for a brief meander around the Big Read, saw Dorothy Hamill talk in one of the tents, and then met up with the other two authors - Sharon Shinn and Vicki Grove - who were on the Girl Power Hour panel at 2pm with me. I was nervous because I had no idea what I was going to talk about but fortunately neither did Sharon or Vicki. We chatted a bit, figured out a game plan, and then were introduced. We each talked and read for 15 minutes, and then answered questions.
Then it was off to the airport for a long trip home by way of Charlotte and a slightly uncomfortable taxi ride back to my apartment where the driver informed me that this was his first day back after three years. You see he had gotten into a head on collision and spent 3 months in a wheel chair and still got anxiety attacks. Yes it is impressive how well he recovered, and really horrible what happened to him . . . but I don't really think I need to know those particular details of the driver who is navigating his way along the newly slicked roads from the storm that just passed.
But I made it home safely, and have lived to blog about the tale here today.
Just a reminder that this coming Sunday (October 14th) at 2pm, I am doing a book launch/signing/reading thing at Indigo at Yorkdale Mall here in Toronto.
Also I apologise for the lack of me on Etalk. I keep getting bumped so I can't really tell you when I'll be on. However that interview I did for Space, while it hasn't aired on TV yet, you can listen to some of it on the Space Podcast here - just scroll forward just past the halfway mark (though you can listen to the whole thing, the Space podcasts are pretty cool).