THE BLog

Teen Book Festival 2007 – Updated!

I attended the Teen Book Festival in Fairport, NY this past weekend (Saturday, March 31, to be specific).

I don’t think I can adequately explain how damn much fun I had! Really. I mean, I’ve been to events before where I felt like a rock star, but this was the first time I felt like a god! (OK, maybe a demi-god.)

Festival Goddess Stephanie Squicciarini deserves an award, a plaque, a week at a spa, and a handsome cabana boy named Paolo by her side 24/7 in honor of her heroic efforts. Her crack squad of volunteers deserves the same. (OK, they might have to share Paolo, but that’s OK.)

It was great to see ten other YA authors, so many of whom I’ve admired for a while now. I knew David Levithan and Lauren Myracle from last year’s Texas Book Festival and it was great to catch up with them. And I was so happy to meet other cool folks like Nancy Werlin and Terry Trueman! Newbery winner Linda Sue Park even stopped by Saturday night to chat with us…and to cause a near-heart attack in yours truly when she  said she’d actually READ MY BOOK! Whoa!

Cecil has pictures, including the infamous “author flower.”

My pics are on the Fanboy site — you can see ’em in the Gallery.

Too many good times to recap them all. It was great to meet Terry, who’s buds with MY bud Terry Davis. It was great to talk business and art and that strange place where the two intersect with people who have been at this longer than I have. It was even great to bore poor David to tears by talking comics ALL NIGHT LONG with Cecil.

UPDATE: The folks at the TBF have posted pictures from the event in a flickr account . Check ’em out — more will probably be added later as other attendees add their pics.

Syracuse Post-Standard Interview Pt. II

Wow! I talk a lot.

The Syracuse Post-Standard’s web site has posted even more of the interview Laura Ryan conducted with me in advance of my trip to Oswego (tomorrow!). I really didn’t realize I blathered on so much!

You can find the original interview as it appeared in print here.

The additional supplemental material lives here.

Thanks to Laura for a fun interview!

Syracuse Post-Standard Interview

In advance of my trip to upstate New York, reporter Laura Ryan interviewed me about the book and writing in general.

It was interesting to see her describe me just before the interview because I’ve always sort of wondered what the person on the other end of the interview is thinking. She says I’m “clearly tickled – and maybe even a little disarmed – by his book’s warm reception.” And she noticed that “Lyga peppers his sentences with words like “cool” and “neat” to describe his life since “Fanboy” debuted last fall. And he laughs a lot.”

I’m always nervous during interviews, but I guess I come across all right. I do tend to say “cool” and “neat” a lot, I’ve noticed, which is sort of pathetic for a writer, but sometimes those two words are the only ones to describe it. They have a certain young innocence about them, and sometimes, when I think about all that’s happened since the book came out, I feel like a kid.

You can find the interview here .

Lost: Jungle Gump

OK, unlike Robin, I didn’t think last night’s Lost sucked entirely. It was — in my opinion — somewhat entertaining to see Nikki and Paolo as the Forrest Gump(s) of the island, interacting with the cast throughout the various Season 1 and 2 dramas. Unfortunately for the producers, those flashbacks also served to remind me just how ungodly good this show was when it first came on the air. Don’t get me wrong — in the past few weeks, we’ve turned something of a corner (I hope), but still… Season 1 was magic, people. And last night drove that home. (God, remember when the castaways seemed terrified at every moment? Remember when survival was paramount?)

In all, the episode was a well-structured little character mystery, though I do wonder why a TV producer would have eight million bucks in diamonds lying around his house. Couldn’t the producers have had something else as the MacGuffin? Maybe blackmail-worthy photos of a celebrity or something? That would be more realistic, I think.

Good:

  • the explanation for Paolo’s trip to the Pearl’s lavatory (I hearby revoke my previous nickname for him: Sir Shits-A-Lot)
  • the final, chilling shovel of dirt tossed on Nikki’s eyes just as she opened them.. (brrr)
  • Sawyer reverting to type (sneaking away for the diamonds, natch)
  • Sun decking Sawyer
  • Hurley dissing Desmond’s super-power
  • Hurley describing Exposé as “like Baywatch, only better”
  • seeing old friends like Arzt, Boone, and Shannon again

Bad:

  • the writers having enough contempt for the intelligence of the audience that they felt it necessary to have Nikki explain what “Medusa” means
  • Nikki suddenly hearing the approach of the male medusa spiders and looking around — um, what?
  • those spiders showing up way too fast
  • Arzt totally telegraphing the whole spider thing in the first place — clumsy

Now, the very best part of the episode was the twist that the poison only paralyzes, doesn’t kill. And, of course, the mounting horror of being buried alive. I admit I’m conflicted on this point: Are Nikki and Paolo really dead? At first I thought they would just rise up out of the sand, but then I saw that freakin’ huge mound of sand Sawyer et al piled on top of them. I don’t know — I think it would be tough to come up from that!

But then again, let’s not forget what Locke told Paolo earlier: Things don’t stay buried on this island. The tide’s coming in. If Nikki and Paolo can stay alive until high tide, they might just be rescued by Nature itself.

Is it evil of me that I don’t really want them to be?

Fan Mail

I got fan mail today.

OK, now I hope I don’t sound like I’m tooting my own horn or anything, but I actually get fan mail a lot. (Well, it seems like a lot to me. To some writers, I’m sure it seems like a paucity, but hey — for me it’s a lot!) I almost wrote that today’s fan mail was special, but that sounds like I’m denigrating the rest of my fan mail. Every piece of fan mail is a big deal. For those of you out there who are readers, trust me — you have absolutely no idea how much it can make a writer’s day to get a letter or even just a brief note from a fan. We work in isolation, with only our keyboards, our Internet connections, and our pets to keep us company. We thrive on contact from the outside world.

(Um, said thriving, by the way, does not in any way, shape, or form justify the woman who — a few months ago — called me from out of the blue and said, “I’m in your neighborhood today and was wondering if I could stop by to have you sign my book.” Er, how did you get my phone number? And my address? And, oh, right — NO!)*

Where was I? Oh, yeah — contact with the outside world. We love it. Live for it. Keep that fan mail coming.

Today’s fan mail was… Oh, hell, I’ll say it — it was special. Special in a different way from the rest of the fan mail, which is special in and of itself.

See, today’s mail came…in the mail.

As in, via U.S. Postal Service.

As in, actual physical paper with actual physical ink that produced actual physical handwritten words.

This wonderful, wonderful fourteen-year-old girl from New York was so taken with my book that she actually wrote to me. With a pen held in her own hands.

She didn’t pound on a keyboard. Or text me from a phone.

She sat down with that three-hole-punch notebook paper we all remember from school. She filled three sides of it. She folded it up and put it in an envelope and stuck a stamp on there and sent it to my publisher, who dutifully forwarded it to me.

Like I said, I’ve gotten a decent amount of fan mail since The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girlcame out. And I’ve been thrilled by each and every contact with readers.

But this was just cool. In this Internet-connected world, the time and effort it takes to handwrite a letter and mail it seems almost…superhuman. When was the last time you actually handwrote a letter to someone you didn’t know? Hell, when was the last time you handwrote a letter to someone you do know?

I was really touched by the letter. I’m touched by every instance of contact with my fans.

But this one… Yeah, this one was a little extra-special.


*(Oh, and about that woman who called my house a few months ago? Never fear, dear readers — I arranged to meet her in a public place. She was a perfectly lovely woman who had no idea how much she freaked me out. I happily signed her book.)