Saturday, May 29, 2010

Book Expo of America 2010

So as is becoming a bit of a tradition around these parts, I am doing my annual BEA wrap up. For those of you just joining here at Chez Temp Actress Writer who don't know what BEA is, let me give you a brief explanation.

It's the Book Expo of America. THE big book trade show convention/conference in the States (akin to the London Book Fair, and Frankfurt). These days, with the economy etc, it is taking place in NY yearly, as opposed to switching locations every year.

I've been three times. The first was to sign arcs of ALEX, the second for TIMOTHY's release and the third . . .well this time I signed copies of both! TIMOTHY was also nominated for an Audie Award (which is the Audio Book industry's equivalent of the Oscars I guess) and I thought it would be kinda sweet to go to that too.

And now follows the tale of my adventures:

I arrived in NY on Monday the 24th . . .

the very NY view from my hotel room

. . . and met up with two fellow author buddies staying at the same hotel, Mr. Lee Edward Fodi and Mr James McCann. They were both signing at the expo too, but also have a podcast called Authors Like Us where they interview authors, so were wearing two hats as it were. Actually they only wore one hat each, James a fedora, Lee a wizard's cap (this is something they do, don't ask), but you get that what I meant earlier was more metaphorical like right?

We grabbed a bite to eat, and then were all touristy, walking up past the Empire State Building, Bryant Park and onwards to Time Square . . .

. . . where we proceeded to take very thoughtful pictures of ourselves on the stairs:

Me and Lee. . . not quite as thoughtful . . .

We took a brief sleep break in our tourist schedule, and then the next morning . . . we were tourists again. This time we walked up 5th Avenue to Central Park, stopping in St. Patrick's Cathedral on the way.

The park.

We had lunch in the park and then returned downtown to the Empire State Building which we went up. I hadn't been up since I was 15 and the security had changed somewhat since then. Pretty intense. But we were lucky it was mid day on a weekday and didn't have to wait too long in line for the elevators, maybe only 20 minutes.

The views were amazing.

Here they are:

The Javits Center where BEA takes place . . . isn't it huge??

Then we all returned to the hotel. I had to get ready to go to the Audie Awards, and Lee and James had a book store event to get to. I needed a couple hours at least to do my hair. I'm not very good at doing my hair. See I wanted to just put it up, that's it, nothing fancy, but even that takes way too much time. Still I was very proud of myself for having done it, and it looked not bad, not bad at all.

Now here are a couple pics of what I pretty much looked like. I say pretty much because technically these pictures were taken at my friend Emily's wedding from a couple weeks back in Vancouver (yes, I've been all over the place, hence the lack of blogging) and I wore the same dress to the Audie Awards. However I neglected to get any full body shots of me at the awards, so I'm using these so you can see the finished ensemble. My hair looked pretty similar too.

I met Brilliance Audio producer Tim Ditlow (my date for the evening) and we cabbed it up to the Museum of New York. I must admit the name of this museum kind of confused me as it implied it was the only museum in New York and we all know that's simply not true. Now if it had been the Museum of Meaford (where my cottage is), that would make sense. Of course when I arrived I realised that it was a museum dedicated to the history of New York. Which made a lot more sense.

Now Tim knows EVERYBODY in the audio book world. Seriously. So it was so cool hanging out with him and getting to meet . . . everybody. Also, some trivia, Tim worked on the audio books of Harry Potter and that's just like so totally cool.

I had such a fantastic time at the awards, with all the different groups of people there. I found the audio book gang fascinating, it was so interesting hearing about what their jobs are like and what goes into producing an audio book. The librarians there, many of whom were judges, were so delightful. I really love librarians in general, there's really no one who quite shares their love and enthusiasm of books. And of course the nominated narrators were great to speak with as well as they were all actors and we have that in common so it was great getting to know them.

Now, I will say I didn't win the award. But I'm not too fussed about that. Getting shortlisted is a pretty huge coup considering how long the long list is, and I got to meet some awesome people. Sadly I did not get to meet my narrator for TIMOTHY - Christopher Lane - but my hope is someday I shall.

In all I felt so welcome, and it was such a lovely event, out on the terrace with the best food (lobster ravioli my friends, lobster ravioli). And the after party was at the Hudson which is just about the coolest hotel in New York.

Some pics of the event (you should know I'm TERRIBLE with names, so the pics where I have mentioned people's names are seriously because they had given me their cards. This isn't to say I didn't totally adore everyone I met, and don't feel totally stupid for not being good at remembering names, it's just this thing with me. I don't know why. I even had a long discussion with one of the librarians about it, and said her name several times . . . and I STILL can't remember it. Seriously. Something's wrong with me. Anyway . . . just trust me that despite not having everyone's names, I really did think they were all equally awesome):

The terrace.

Me and Tim

I got to wear a nominee medal thingy. It was cool.

Three delightful and hilarious librarians/judges (the one on the left is the one with whom I discussed forgetting names and now can't remember her name, ditto the one in the middle, but the one on the right is Mary Burkey - I have her card, this is her website - she announced my category)

The Brilliance Gang - all of whom I believe worked on the Harry Potter books. Once more all totally awesome, I mean check out that tie!

The list of nominees in my category on the big screen (yay TIMOTHY!)

Me and actor Dion Graham who won for his narration of PEACE: LOCOMOTION by Jacqueline Woodson. Very charming man, and lovely.

The library bar in the Hudson where the after party took place.

One of the bathrooms in the Hudson. I liked the mirror. I really wanted to capture the whole room as it was huge, virtually empty and white. You could totally stage a Beckett play in that bathroom. Is all I'm saying.

I slept in the next morning and made my way over towards the convention site to meet my amazing gorgeous legs-all-the-way-down-to-the-floor agent Jessica Regel for lunch. I'd met her in NY before when she was repping my wonderful friend Lesley Livingston (well, she still does rep her of course), but it was so cool to get to chat in person, as it was the first time since she signed me on that we had. We discussed many things, none of which I can really share here with my superstitions and all, but she did inspire a pretty cool next book idea which I'm looking forward to playing with.

At this point in the game I'd like to reiterate my request to all my lovely blog readers to keep your fingers firmly crossed as my other books are still on submission and need as much luck as possible. Thank you. I'll let you know when you can uncross them, I realise you might be getting a bit uncomfortable like that.

Then I met up with Lee and James. They interviewed me for their podcast. I was delightful. Then we headed over to the Houndstooth Pub to meet some fellow children's book authors from the Verla Kay writing forum for authors of Children's/YA lit. We'd met up last year, and it was so weird that a whole year had already passed.

Me and fellow Verla Kay writing forum member Laurie Crompton. We had fun geeking out over Iron Man 2.

Very quickly the room got quite full as we had purposefully decided to choose the same location as the KidLit event, organised by editor Cheryl Klein - an event that brings together authors, editors and agents of children's and YA fiction. Totally fab.

It was there that my dear friend Peter Brown and I were reunited after I'd say probably two years. You might remember him from a while back. He's the children's book author and illustrator whose work I saw online and was so impressed with I just had to send him an email. We started a correspondence and then became friends, meeting up in NY and then again in St Louis coincidentally at the same event. Anyway, it was so good to see him again! He's doing really well, had just won TWO awards.

I got to talk to many other authors and agents and editors, all of whom were seriously delightful. I really have to say, the children's/YA book industry is just the most supportive group. Truly. It's so much fun hanging out with everyone involved.

Then it was hotel for an early night, and then the Book Expo the next morning.

They keep telling me that the expo has changed significantly in recent years. This year for example it was mid week and only two days long. They say it's smaller now, not like the good ol' days. But every time I've gone it has seemed just as huge and chaotic as ever.

I met up with Judy Hottensen (publisher of Weinstein Books) and we made our way over to the Perseus Books section - Weinstein has recently merged with them. Now I love signing books. I do. I love it because I always meet the nicest people, everyone is always in such a good mood, and there is much joking around.

But let me tell you something else . . . evidently I also totally rock at it. You see my friends, I signed 200 books in an hour and a half. I'm not sure, but I feel like that could be a record. Everyone at Perseus at least seemed impressed. What's even more impressive is I'm able to have full conversations with everyone I sign for. Yes. I really do talk that fast. It's really something to see. Also I think probably a little terrifying. To be honest, I'm not quite sure if I'm having conversations or whether it's just me talking really fast and the other person humouring me but having no clue what it is I'm saying.


Seriously though, it was such a whirlwind that I had no idea how much time had passed nor that I had signed that many books. Like I said earlier, I just really have so much fun doing it. I mean, come on, it's seriously one of an author's biggest joys, getting to meet people who enjoy your work. Especially considering writing is such a solitary pursuit, and we don't really get to see the response first hand. How can you not enjoy signing books really? It's kind of a serious honour.

After that I wandered around the centre for a while, went over to the Brilliance Booth and said hey to Tim. I also randomly wandered into Rob Weisbach who was my former editor at Weinstein Books and who has always been so supportive of me and my writing, even after he left the company. That was a real joy getting to see him, especially as it was pure luck that we ran into each other.

Some pics:
The inside of the Javits Center . . .

The Perseus Books section of the expo

There's my name!

There are my books!

That's me with my books!

That's me signing my books! See the stack? That's not even all of them, there are yet more in boxes behind me.

Lee signing. Yup. In his wizard's cap. Told you.

And James signing his stuff. Not in his fedora. But his cap. Hey, I guess he literally does have two hats.

And then I was done. I returned to the hotel to hang out with a friend from LAMDA for an hour (he had just sold a book himself, so plan on hearing about him here in future as his book comes out etc), and then off to the airport.

Where my flight wound up being delayed several hours due to a thunderstorm.


I made it home. Eventually. To a very hot apartment.

Oh that's another thing, NY was insanely hot last week, quite overwhelming, but Toronto even more so evidently. And I don't have air conditioning. Oy vey I say. Oy vey.

So that is the tale from this year. I hope you all enjoyed it! I know I had a great time. Thanks again to everyone, especially Judy and Tim who were responsible for me being there in first place! And of course Lee and James, who kept me company despite my constantly picking on them. Which I did.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Signing at BEA

Just a quickie with a promise for one of my slightly too long TMI posts about the Book Expo once I'm home again.

I'm in New York at the moment for the Book Expo of America (aka BEA - yay! Love this time of year :) ) and just wanted to do some shameless self promotion.

Check that.

Just self promotion.

I feel no shame about this at all:

Adrienne Kress
Thursday, May 27,
11:00AM - 12:00PM
Signing both ALEX and TIMOTHY
Location: Jacob K. Javits Center
Booth 4225 Perseus Books Group

If you're around at all, please do come by and say hi! Would be lovely to meet some of you in person.