Writing Life #5

Welcome back to Writing Life!

One of the best things about the Writing Life is the people you meet.

This past weekend, I spent Friday and Saturday in Rochester, NY for the fifth annual Teen Book Festival. I wrote about my first time at TBF on MySpace (remember MySpace?), so I’m linking that original entry here. This year’s event was just like that…only a million times more awesome. Twenty-six authors. Literally thousands of kids and parents. It was a madhouse. A hot, crowded, glorious madhouse.

I got to hang out with a crew of amazing volunteers from the Rochester area, especially my four “handlers,” the teens who stuck with me all day and made sure I had water, strawberry sorbet, and lunch. So, here’s a shout-out to Vikki, Claire, Richie, and Frances. You guys rock.

I got to spend time with the aforementioned authors, some of whom were old pals of mine (such as Robin Brande, Coe Booth, Terry Trueman, Holly Black), some of whom were new aquaintances I am so fortunate to have made (such as Lisa McMann, Amy King, Laurie Halse Anderson). Writing — as I have said before — is a very solitary way to make a living, so these opportunities to be out among the public, to meet the people who read the books we write and to have “water cooler time” with our fellow authors is so important. Rochester is the very best opportunity for precisely that. When I wrote that original MySpace article about TBF, I said that I hoped there would be TBF-like events all across the country, and three years later, I’m happy to report that I’ve attended a number of them, though TBF remains the gold standard. Truly wonderful.

I also spent Sunday in Oswego, NY, where I spoke and signed books at the river’s end bookstore, a delightful independent bookstore that hosted me during my last TBF as well. When the event was over and the store closed, owner Bill and I sat with cups of hot tea and talked publishing for over an hour — past, present, and possible futures. He’s inspired me to organize some of my scattered thoughts on the future of publishing, so you can look forward to a rambling blog from me in the near term about how I think publishing should evolve.

As to the writing itself: Not much to report since last I wrote in this space. With the weekend’s travel and a much-needed day to recuperate, I’ve been away from the keyboard more than I usually like. I’ll be getting back into the swing of it today, though. And while I traveled, a number of solutions to some problems in both The Monster and I Hunt Killers occurred to me, so my brain was working, even though my fingers have been idle.

But that idle time ends…now!

See you next week. :)

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