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Scott and Sarah On the Road

So, my dear livejournal, it has been a while, since I have been on tour! But now I will tell you all about my touring adventures.

So, I was extremely nervous about touring with Scott Westerfeld, as he has written several millionty awesome and much-feted books. These nerves did not cease when I popped off the plane in LA, and Scott showed me an awesome slideshow of the illustrations from his book, which as you can see from this book trailer are kind of the definition of awesome.

SARAH: Oh oh my God. What am I going to do? MY BOOK HAS NO PICTURES IN IT. I thought I could do a reading-
SCOTT: No! Readings are boring.
SARAH: Oh oh my God. Is there a fainting couch in this hotel...?

We added three of my covers to the slideshow, and I used the Japanese cover art to point to and describe all the characters as I talked about open and closed fantasy worlds, and having a character who didn't fit into the ordinary world at all but would have to learn, and make-out scenes. Also, I made many and various lame jokes.

I had lots of fun. The audiences we had were lovely and attentive, and asked brilliant questions (more on that later) and laughed at all the lame jokes. Touring is huge fun.

Touring is also insane and exhausting. One day we had to get up at 4 am to catch a plane, and then we did three events that day. Oh we were not our most sparkling selves upon that night.

SCOTT: Sarah, we need to get food, but I do not want to carry my gadgets, and in my state of exhaustion I locked my room key in my room.
SARAH: That's okay, I have a room key!
SCOTT: Great, we'll put the gadgets in there.
SCOTT: ... Where was that room key again?
SARAH: *tips up bag onto the floor outside door* It is CERTAINLY in here somewhere. I am 78 per cent sure!
SCOTT: In other news, are you sure this is your hotel room? Because I hear movement in there...
SARAH: Of course I am sure! How can you be so absurd?
ELDERLY MAN IN PYJAMAS: *opens the door*
SCOTT AND SARAH: *hysterical laughter*
SARAH: OH HERE IS MY ROOM KEY! Now, where is my room?
SCOTT: Being a writer is so glamorous.

Sometimes, traveling with a boy writer was very sad.

SCOTT: Sarah here I am, looking so debonair and also all ready in my black ensemble for the steampunk high tea.
SARAH: Oh my God, should I curl my hair or straighten it? Do you think there's such a thing as a steampunk hair straightener?
SCOTT: ... I have no opinion on the matter.

The steampunk high tea, where there was a little steampunk set and people dressed in steampunk costumes (I wore my Victorian button boots, but must admit I was way outclassed) and a Goblin Market with a raven and talismans, was amazingly fun, but we did have to rush it to catch a plane. So I made the Ultimate Sacrifice.

LOVELY BOOKSELLER: Shall I bring you a scone?
SARAH: ... No. No, these lovely people have already put up with all my terrible jokes and are now about to get the full force of my lameness one-on-one. They do not need to see me signing books with clotted cream in my eyelashes.

Getting up early and rushing around on tour is pretty standard. However I will admit, some things would only happen to me.


SARAH: *smells smoke*
AUTOMATED VOICE: You may have noticed your hotel room is on fire. Please stand by for further details.
SARAH: Well, I will stand by. The automated voice is never wrong.
SCOTT: *calls me* Sarah where are you the hotel is on fire!
SARAH: I am standing by in my room. The automated voice told me to.
SCOTT: What if the person whose job it is to press the button to change over to the automated voice that says 'Please flee the burning hotel' has already died in flames?
SARAH: Compelling point, Mr Westerfeld. I will be right down.

Some time later...

SCOTT: Sarah, did you bring anything downstairs but your laptop?
SARAH: *shifty eyes* Well... did you?
SCOTT: ... I brought my phone.
SARAH: When you take your laptop and leave your passport to burn, I think you reach some sort of ultimate level of geekiness.
SCOTT: Look, firemen! Let's twitter this event.
SARAH: Perhaps for us there is always a geekier level.
SCOTT: Do you remember when I played a joke on our publicist today and pretended I'd got off at the wrong train stop?
SCOTT: Do you think there's any chance she'll believe me if I email her and say the hotel is on fire?
SARAH: O Scott, you have killed us both.

Some time later...

FIREMEN: Not to worry, little hotel people. We brave men of the flame have saved the day. The fire was caused by towels.
SCOTT: People were smoking towels to get high?
SARAH: Newlyweds are in the hotel and the towels were ignited by their passion!
FIREMEN: ... Towels in the dryer.

The moral of this story may be never to leave writers to come up with their own explanations. Also, something about never crying wrong train station.

It got to the point where I was pretty scared to do an event without Scott, but at Wordstock in Portland I did one with the lovely Laini Taylor, who I was thrilled to see had pink hair. I even did a reading from The Demon's Covenant at that event, though I knew Scott would not approve.

Another thing which proved slideshows are awesome was that my copies of chapter one of the second book WENT FAST. Often I did not have enough. Sometimes, I did not have any.

SCOTT AND SARAH: *arrive at a new hotel*
SCOTT: Ahhh, time to rest. Isn't technology grand?

So, anyone who came and did not receive a copy of chapter one, I am sorry! It does not mean I do not appreciate you. And I hope I gave you a spoiler, if you wanted one. There was one lovely lady called Sojo in Seattle who I promised a present to I could not find at the time - if she is reading this, email me! I always keep my promises. Sometimes being terribly lame slows me down, but it never stops me. (Sarah Rees Brennan's motto for life - 'Never Let Being Terribly Lame Stop You'?)

It was lovely to meet people - booksellers and our audiences - who were really into books, who wanted to talk about them with us and who were into our books enough to come listen to us talk about them. Who were brave and true enough to sit through my cruel impressions of my little brother, and my enactions of Scott's characters making out.

I got many excellent questions, some of which I shall answer in another post for your further Tour Experience pleasure (one was about a gender-flipped Nick, and I have to admit, I did give some thought to a Nicola once upon a time). One was about whether blogging had helped me or hurt me.

I admit, there are downsides to blogging. But most of the people who came to mine and Scott's events for me were people who also read the blog, and told me they enjoyed it. I was not only graced with their presence at my events, but even given gifts - tea and chocolate and lemons and a talisman and a pumpkin with a demon's mark on it, oh my! That pumpkin was carved by the lovely lemonsquid, who has already made me a ton of awesome fanart. I wrote some of the third book that night by the light of the demon pumpkin in her honour. In Seattle I met the magnificent lettered, who had already won my heart completely by creating marmalade_fish, but who then gave me brownie cookies I am currently eating in Mexico.

I also now have a framed picture of the directions to the Goblin Market, left of the crooked tree, which is amazingly beautiful and destined to fill the place on my dresser currently occupied by a picture of my unworthy parents.

In short, getting to meet people like that, getting to hear my writing meant something to them - I could never regret blogging. It was an honour and a privilege to meet those of you I did meet! (It was also an honour and a privilege to meet Demon's Lexicon fans who did not read the blog, and Scott's most excellent fans, but though I thank them here, they may never see it!)

I hope to have the honour and privilege of meeting more of you sometime soon, and for now I hope that you feel you know a little about the Tour Experience! In summary: airplanes, slideshows, steampunk high teas (with models of ravens!), lame jokes, and hotels on fire. That's just the way I roll.


( 70 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 16th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)
It sounds like the tour was amazing! I enjoyed your pictures of the firemen from twitter, too ;) I wish I had had the time to travel down to an event; Canada is lacking in book tours.
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
Scott, Holly Black and Cassie Clare are doing appearances in Canada next month! But sadly not me...
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:15 am (UTC)
Oh, Sarah. I love your stories of mishaps and mayhem. They always make me laugh. And that you had the brilliant Scott Westerfeld along to share in them... Fantastic! :)
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
It was great fun!

Speaking from the audience side, we were wonderfully entertained by you and Scott both. Hope you're having a wonderful time in Mexico!

Pam - who saw you at Mrs. Nelson's.
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:27 am (UTC)
Re: It was great fun!
Why, thank you, and thank you very much for coming!
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC)
While I have to admit that academic reading has prevented me from reading your book, I was rather pleased to see it at the main branch of the Columbus Public Library during a recent visit *g*.
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:26 am (UTC)
It was so great to meet you! Thank you for putting up with us demanding so many pictures! I hope you enjoyed the presents! Tkp was beside herself up to and after the even XD

By the by, I just finished Leviathan, and I completely agree with your 'death-from-above-now-is-the-time-oh-look-we-survived-how-terribly-awkward' theory. Alek is so *cute*!
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:28 am (UTC)
I simply loved the presents, and it was lovely to meet you too, and I am glad that you are of the correct state of mind about Leviathan and the Airship Make-Out.
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
Oh gawd, I wish I was there. Not when the fire happened, the tour events. *WANTS COPIES OF 1ST CHAPTER OF COVENANT LIKE BURNING* Or a spoiler. I'd sell my soul for a spoiler*

I do hope you have a great time in Mexico! And I'll just be here, waiting for your lj entry on your exciting adventures while I stew in jealousy...
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:33 am (UTC)
I missed you at Copperfield's, but it sounds like you and Scott had a blast. :)
Oct. 20th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:25 am (UTC)
I plan to, yes. ;)
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:48 am (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful tour, I wish I could have participated. Are you planning to put the first chapter of Demon's Covenant online at some point? I read the first chapter of Lexicon several times in anticipation of the book, and I know people who bought the book just based on that chapter.

I'm glad that blogging has it's upsides. This is one of my favourite blogs, it would be sad to see it go.
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:26 am (UTC)
Yes, I do plan to put up the first chapter online soonish, depending on copyedits. I hope people will enjoy!
Oct. 16th, 2009 04:59 am (UTC)
That sounds rather like what happens when a particular chum of mine and I are left to explain the world similar to writers but not quite as entertaining for the people around us, usually classmates and lecturers. I am glad you don't regret blogging it brings the sound of choked laughter to a flat where the apple mold grows blue and the reason we watch our weight is that we already navigate the crowed halls with care and one muffin to many could result in impalement. Come to New Zealand or at least be in Ireland when my life lets me get there and I can meet you too, I'm told I make amazing cookies and desserts and if you were not to come back to this flat I could offer you all kinds without fear of your being stabbed by the objects littering our halls and walls.
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:19 am (UTC)
Loved your tour and appearances. I have been lucky enough to meet many authors - most terrifically witty and kind, and a few complete arse holes (very few, but memorable).

But only once have I had the privilege of meeting a writer whose work I've watched develop over the years (since Underwater Light, 6th chapter). I didn't get to tell you that, since you seemed nervous enough without fangirl (ok, fan-dowager?) attention, but I have to say, I have loved reading your work through the years. I've enjoyed every minute of it. It has been lovely seeing your writing become better, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Thank you, thank you for bringing us along with you.

And btw? Awesome boots for steampunk.
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:24 am (UTC)
I thank you for the kind words about the writing and the boots, and am dismayed the nervousness was so apparent!
Oct. 16th, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
it was v. v. fabulous to meet you at wordstock. and personally i am v. fond of your blog, and scott should be too. because i live in a cave and would not have know that it was imperative to see him if i hadn't read about him in your blog. so, you see, blogging = good.

and i wanted to bring you presents, but my life is a bit chaotic currently. am v. glad others brought you presents though ♥
Oct. 16th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)
It was fun to listen to you!
Your enthusiastic presentation and Q&A at the Menlo Park Library were far, far better than any reading, and you should post your Trilogy Theory because hradzka was dying of curiosity to hear of it. Having a picture of the Japanese cover along to point out who was what was very useful.

I'm glad that you and Scott escaped the menace of the smoking towels!

Although I hadn't heard of you before the tour (sorry!), I bought and enjoyed The Demon's Lexicon and just pre-ordered The Demon's Covenant. May seems so very far away.
Oct. 16th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Re: It was fun to listen to you!
I am thrilled that you liked the book, and thrilled that you came to both the signing and the blog! *beams*

My Trilogy Theory is that all trilogies go along these lines: Book One, set up, Book Two, make out, Book Three, defeat evil. Even the Lord of the Rings trilogy - heeeellllo Eowyn. Definitely the Uglies trilogy!
Re: It was fun to listen to you! - kimberkit - Oct. 20th, 2009 10:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: It was fun to listen to you! - sarahtales - Oct. 20th, 2009 10:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 16th, 2009 06:15 am (UTC)
It was quite a privilege to meet you! I'm very glad that you had as much fun as we all did. Also I'm very happy that you met tkp; she's awesome, isn't she? (she organizes MEETUPS for the Seattle people! Considering that several of us, including myself, are cripplingly shy people, it is excellent that we have a motivator. I was sad I didn't get to go with my Seattle fish...)

I'm also glad that you took your laptop from your hotel! Madam, you do have your priorities in order, although I hope you also snagged any irreplacable books...

Thank you for coming on tour, and for being so graceful during the presentations even though I know from reading Neil Gaiman's blog that tours can be hellish. <3 I hope you can do it again at some point!
Oct. 16th, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
I was at Wordstock and I wholly approved the bit where you read from The Demon's Covenant. (Not that I needed any more incentive, you understand.) Plus the jokes about Laini Taylor's hair were quite hilarious. Hope you enjoyed Portland as much as we enjoyed you!
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