Last week I had the best time talking to librarians at the annual Texas Library Association convention. Held in Dallas this year, the week-long event was full of keynotes, panels, luncheons, dinners and signings with amazing authors and illustrators.
I was there with my publisher, Simon & Schuster, to talk about my book, THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST. I had a busy Tuesday, starting with a standing-room-only panel with fellow Texas authors Mari Mancusi, Jessica Lee Anderson, Tara Dairman, Cynthia Levinson, Cory Putman Oakes and Cynthia Leitich Smith, moderated by author P.J. Hoover. It was enormous fun as we talked about books, author visits and our favorite parts of Texas. A big thank you to author and librarian Susan Kralovansky for organizing the panel.
Next up was a Speed Dating Meet and Greet with librarians filling up 10 large roundtables and authors and illustrators moving from table to table. P.J. Hoover and I were paired up, with me telling librarians about THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST and P.J. Hoover talking about her new chapter book series, published under the pen name Connor Hoover. We handed out bookmarks and the librarians loved the comfort squares for THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST.
Then I was whisked off to the Exhibit Hall for my first signing. I’m not sure how many ARCs I signed, but we didn’t get through everyone in the line in the 30 minutes allotted time. Signing ARCs for those librarians, as well as some kid readers, was the most fun and a sincere honor. It was amazing to see their excited faces and hear their stories.
I met more librarians during the week as I lined up in signing lines for other wonderful authors. I’m so excited about the haul of books I brought home and have to focus hard on not dropping everything to just read. Here’s the list of books I picked up: MEET YASMIN by Saadia Faruqi, THE HOTEL BETWEEN by Sean Easley, ANGER IS A GIFT by Mark Oshiro, EVERLASTING NORA by Marie Miranda Cruz, HEARTS UNBROKEN by Cynthia Leitich Smith, WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW by Cindy Baldwin, TIFFANY SLY LIVES HERE NOW by Dana L. Davis, SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young, DREAMING DANGEROUS by Lauren DeStefano, LET’S GET LOST by Adi Alsaid, LOVE SONGS & OTHER LIES by Jessica Pennington and THE SERPENT’S SECRET by Sayantani DasGupta.
Finally, the week ended Thursday night with a Simon & Schuster-sponsored dinner for librarians, where I was one of eight featured authors, along with Neal Shusterman, Margarita Engle, Amber Smith, Kevin Sands, Shaun David Hutchinson, Jenna Evans Welch and Mary H. K. Choi. The evening was so much fun, hearing about the new books from these fantastic authors and talking to and signing ARCs of THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST for the wonderful librarians. And the wonderful staff at S&S gave me a copy of Neal Shusterman’s THUNDERHEAD and an advanced galley of DRY, which he wrote with his son Jarrod Shusterman. I can’t wait to read them.
I’ve attended TLA for years as a fan and SCBWI volunteer, but my first TLA as an author was amazing! I’m really looking for ALA in New Orleans in June–right when my book will be coming out. If you’re going to be there, I hope you’ll come say hi. I can’t wait to meet you.
Were you at TLA? What was your favorite part?
Here’s a collection of some of mine: