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ALA, in one word, was AWESOME! This wasn't just my first author event it was also my first conference EVER. And I loved it. And now I want to do it every weekend. Forget house cleaning and mowing the lawn, I want to go to giant halls full of booths with lots of books and tons of cool librarians, authors, bloggers, and every other kind of book lover to hang with, every weekend!It started with Friday night at the FSG/Roaring Brook party. I put on a cute dress and some makeup
iphone self pic
(The kids were in shock. Four Year Old: "Mommy! You're beautiful! Quick, go show Daddy!!") and headed for Grace O'Malley's in Chicago.
The party was in a big room on the second floor and as soon as I got there I felt a wave of nerves. I met the marketing director (who was lovely) and the Macmillan publisher (who was so nice!) right away and I was feeling a little in awe of the people that were going to be at this party. But right away I spotted super cool YA authors Brenda Ferber and Jenny Meyerhoff, and totally relaxed. The party was really fun. Some FSG people spoke
and they introduced us authors (I think there were 7 or 8 in all there) to everyone and then we mingled for the rest of the night. There was lots of yummy looking food and drinks but we were busy talking and signing books to sit for long. The party was supposed to end around 11-ish but we didn't actually get to our cars until around midnight.
Sunday morning I woke up super early to get ready for the YALSA Coffee Klatch and was in my car heading back for Chicago by 6:30am. I thought I had plenty of time to get to the Marriot on Michigan where the event was held but I drove in circles for at least a half an hour on Michigan. I couldn't find the Marriot!. Turns out it is a small sign behind a big tree and impossible to see from the street. I eventually just parked somewhere and walked down Michigan until I found it. And I was only a little late.Once there, I went right to the green room and was just about ecstatic to be in a room full of SO MANY fabulous authors!
Richard Peck was sitting a couple of seats away from me and Sarah Dessen and E. Lockhart were at the table next to me. It was WILD. Here I met Lisa who is just as sweet in person as she is online
and we had fun chatting with the rest of the amazing authors in the room. Soon we went into the coffee klatch area, which was HUGE and watched Elizabeth Bunce receive the Morris Award and give a great speech.
Then the speed dating began. And it rocked! Who knew I would love talking to so many people in 5 minute bursts?
I loved the questions the attendants asked and I invited everyone to come to my signing a half an hour after the coffee klatch ended. When we were done all the authors grouped together for a picture. There was much too much awesomeness to get in one shot so we have two.
After that, I shared a twenty-minute cab ride with Katie from FSG marketing and Julie Halpern and Margarita Engle to get to McCormick Center and the conversation was great-- Julie and Margarita are both so interesting and talented.
I sat down and began signing books and discovered that I really like this whole book signing thing.
Definitely must do it again! :-) Everyone in line was so nice and I got to meet more authors, and book reviewers, and lots and lots of librarians! Many that I just speed dated at the Marriot! I was so glad they did come over for the signing too!
When I ran out of books to sign I was free to go explore the hall and joined up with Lisa, Tammi Sauer, Cindy Pon, Cynthia Liu, and Darcy Vance. We snagged free ARCs from various booths
and then had a crazy expensive lunch in the cafe area and then back to arc snagging. We stood in line for Maggie Steifvater's Shiver signing
and then met author Sarah Ockler and then headed for the BBYA teen book talk to rest a bit and hear what teens thought of some of their favorite books. It was awesome to hear such honest thoughts. After that I walked the hall a bit more with Cindy Pon and then headed for home. ALA was such a truly cool experience and I'm hoping I get to do it again next year!
Kristina, Miss Delighted to Debut