If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you probably saw the evidence of my recent weekend in Boston, which was a trip full of firsts for me as a newly published author. I got to meet my amazing critique partner, Emily Martin, who I have been corresponding with online for more than two years, which was beyond wonderful. You know when you meet someone and feel like you’ve known them forever? That’s how it felt spending the weekend with Emily!
On Friday night, Emily and I– along with fellow authors Marieke Nijkamp and Anne Cardi– did a panel at Brookline Booksmith moderated by the one and only Jen Malone. It was such a cool experience. Our subject was Real Teen Lives, and got to discuss writing for teens, our paths to publication, writing challenges, and more. At one point, the audience picked a random page for us to read from our books. For me, that turned out to be page 15. (If you own a copy of Firsts, turn to that page and try to guess just how red my face was!)
It was surreal to be in the company of such amazing authors. Also surreal was a first Emily and I got to experience at the same time—seeing our books in the wild for the first time. It’s a moment I won’t forget!
We had such a fun, supportive audience—lots of fellow Sixteeners came out, along with authors Mackenzi Lee and Anna-Marie McLemore (who just so happens to be my very talented editor-sister)! I was nervous at first, but being in such great company put me at ease. Plus, my red-faced reading kind of broke the ice…
Afterward, we signed books and stock for the store. The staff at Brookline Booksmith is so kind and I’d love to go back the next time I’m in Boston!
Before we left, we signed our names on the wall in the bathroom, which is a rite of passage for authors. Here’s what I wrote! I thought it was appropriate.
On Saturday, we hung out on the exhibit floor at ALA. I can’t even begin to describe how cool it was seeing thousands of books everywhere I looked. I felt like a little kid in a candy store. Well, actually, I felt like adult me still acts in a candy store—excited and overwhelmed and way too giddy. I picked up lots of ARCs, despite remaining very aware that I carried my luggage on the plane and couldn’t take on too much extra weight. Let’s just say there were too many amazing books to resist!
The day continued to bring more awesome firsts. I got to meet my amazing editor, Kat Brzozowski, and so many fellow debut authors, along with wonderful book bloggers and librarians. Talking with so many passionate book people was truly incredible!
In the evening, the Sweet Sixteens participated in our Meet and Greet event with librarians, and it was so much fun. My only complaint is that the time passed so quickly! After our event, we went for dinner at a Mexican restaurant and chatted some more. I was able to sit beside Lygia Day Penaflor, who is just as sweet in real life as she is online. (Even sweeter!)
On Sunday, I had brunch with my editor and two of my wonderful editor-sisters, Anna-Marie McLemore and Ann Jacobus. It was great to talk writing, books, travels, families, day jobs, and everything else under the sun! Plus, I had Nutella French toast, which is every bit as delectable as it sounds. (I told Kat that I’d try to recreate it at home sometime, but I seriously doubt I’ll be able to!) Afterward, we went back to the exhibit floor, where I continued to pick up ARCs like a crazy book-starved fiend. Anna-Marie and Ann had a signing, so I was able to get beautiful hardcover copies of their books. Later in the afternoon, I watched Emily and fellow authors Dana Elmendorf, Elizabeth Briggs, and Roshani Chokshi at a panel for the Class of 2K16. I was a total fangirl in the audience and in awe of how smart, funny, and brilliant these women are.
When Monday rolled around, I couldn’t believe it was time to go home already. With two carry-ons full of books (grand tally: 23), one very sore shoulder, and a head fresh with great memories, I arrived back in Canada to snow (booo) and one very enthusiastic Chihuahua (yay!). I’m already excited for my next event, which will be in Toronto at the end of the month for the Ontario Library Association Super Conference. If you’re in the city, I’d love to see you there!