Notable among my experiences in Japan was visiting with my publisher, where my lovely Japanese editor and I discussed Jamie being cute on the cover of the sequel, she showed me the fabulous posters made of the Japanese Cover of Amazing and she said Hiromu Arakawa liked my book! (I can now die happy.)
On my return from Japan, I found I had locked myself out of my own house. Since my housemates Jennet Wilde and the Durham Lass are in China, this resulted in things like me unpacking wildly on a street at night time, making frantic calls to friends, and being laughed at by the bakers around the corner.
I am such a Responsible Mature Adult. Luckily, with the aid of two good friends and Google, my prince (and by this I mean my twenty-four hour locksmith) finally came, and I was rescued.
Since I have been home, I've been doing things for the Children's Book Festival in Ireland. And now I am sitting amid the Ruins of my Packing for America and the tour.
The current state of my room, you guys. Well. Imagine the fall of Rome, and then add a lampshade wearing a pyjama top.
But since I have been doing events, and I will be doing more events in the next nine days, I thought that I could tell you about events as part of how life works, stumbling through publication.
So for childrens' books and teen authors, there's another kind of event besides the events authors of adult books have - signings, talks, panels. For us, there are also school visits.
School visits are different from events for one important reason: many, if not all, of the people there won't have read your book. Some of them won't ever. Some of them don't like reading! So it's a different sort of event, and one where you have to change the talk as you give it, depending on what you can tell about the audience's mood.
Because we all spent a great deal of time in school being painfully, terribly bored. And it horrifies me to think of adding to that boredom. Not just for the sake of the poor bored classes, but because obviously, I think books are a huge amount of fun. And I want people to have fun hearing about them: have fun talking about them.
So school events for me are a mix of me talking about how to write and structure a story (sometimes with a diagram), talking about my book, reading out from my book, talking about different books, and talking about being a writer (I tell hundreds of stories about how I've horribly embarrassed myself in hundreds of different ways). I throw sweets to get people to answer questions. Sometimes I hit people with the sweets. Sometimes I go into distressing detail about weaponry.
I like school visits a lot, though I do have all those worries about boring people. I had a particularly nice one in Cork the day before yesterday, where I was asked excellent questions and got to talk about being attracted to bad boys, the reasons why some people are and the things that might be behind a bad-boy facade. I also got to talk about the horrifying embarrassment of meeting celebrities, and my undying love for Taylor Swift.
There are other events, of course. This week I did a visit with a youth group, where I met aspiring writers and gave out a tiny Japanese sword keychain and heard an excellent argument in favour of the romantic match-ups of Nick and Mae, and Alan and Jamie. Yesterday I was at a children's and teen books breakfast for charity, where I met some awesome people, drew my story diagram on a napkin, and heard an excellent argument in favour of some entirely different romantic match-ups.
I also discovered something distressing about myself, which I will now reveal to you so you may use it against me!
During my events in June, I did not talk all that much about what would happen next, mostly because The Demon's Covenant was still in edits, and nothing was set in stone. And indeed, the book is extremely different than it was in June. I will do another blog on writing book two one day, but for now I will say that Writer and Baker Extraordinaire Ally Carter told me book two was always the hardest, and she was absolutely right.
But now I do know what will happen, and I am terribly weak about telling other people. It makes me happy they want to know! They have such excellent guesses! Did I mention I was weak?
So, yes, for those of you who will meet me at events soon, I hand out spoilers like candy. And I will also be handing out chapter one plus extra scenes of The Demon's Covenant at events. So everyone will know what happens in that!
For me, that's part of the joy of a series, and why I love writing serieseses...eses. Waiting for the next book in the Harry Potter or the Twilight series, analysing the books out, theorising about the ones to come, devouring them when they did come, was an international pastime. It's like the serial fiction of the old days, when the next Dickens instalment made crowds run down to the harbour yelling at the ship carrying the instalment 'Does Little Nell die?' It's like online fiction, often put up in serial form. It's like the fact I personally would hand over a sizable amount for Kelley Armstrong's The Reckoning. 'What happens next?' is one of the questions that propels story-telling.
Ahem. But I should still be less weak about giving out spoilers.
I also love events because you get to meet so many cool people, who are into books. And I don't just mean my book - though, obviously, meeting people who are into my book gives me head-rushes of joy. But it was most excellent meeting people who are really into Cassandra Clare's books, and the books of all the Sarahs at the Sarah Signing in New York. I love talking about other people's books, and I have many strange theories and interpretations of them. I'm looking forward to chatting to people who love Scott Westerfeld's books, since I do myself.
It's lovely to put faces to the great comments and emails I get. (And speaking of great emails, and indeed faces, I recently got a pretty awesome email with a link to a guy she thought would make an excellent Alan. Since I agreed with her, I thought I would share!)
So - events. They are worrying, and sometimes tiring, and make you very busy. But they are a huge amount of fun. I am really looking forward to doing more! Here are the American dates again, with the two new appearances in italics.
STAGE 1: Los Angeles
Tuesday October 6th, 4:30PM
(with Scott Westerfeld)
Santa Monica Public Library Event hosted by Children’s Bookworld
601 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Wednesday October 7th, 4:00PM
Mrs. Nelson’s Books and Toys
1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750
Wednesday October 7th, 7:00PM
3700 Torrance Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90503
STAGE 2: San Francisco
Thursday October 8th, 7:00PM
Menlo Park Library event
800 Alma Street
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Friday October 9th, 4:00PM
Steampunk High Tea
140 Kentucky Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
(That's right. A Steampunk High Tea. Is that not the most amazing thing you have ever heard of? I mean, my book is not steampunk, but I can chatter happily about how awesome steampunk is, about all the things I know about weapons, and ask people to pass me clockwork scones.)
STAGE 3: Portland
Saturday October 10th, 3 PM
(Scott will already have done his presentation! But, I will have flyers for the Goblin Market I will pass out! I will survive!)
Presentation and Q&A at Wordstock, Portland’s Book & Literary Festival
Location: Oregon Convention Center
777 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard
Portland, OR 97232
Saturday October 10th, 7:00PM
Barnes & Noble presentation and signing
Location: 12000 SE 82nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97266
STAGE 4: Seattle
Monday October 12, 7:00PM
Third Place Books
Location: 17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 981555
I will be seeing some of you very soon! And giving you spoilers! (Seriously, don't ask unless you really mean it. I have a problem.)