So last Wednesday, my husband took me to the train station where I proceeded to board the train and then wait for two hours because the "order system" was down. Finally, just as it was getting dark, we took off. So much for the beautiful scenery. Luckily I brought books and a movie and the trip went fairly quickly.
The next day, I went to Clara Brownell Middle School in Umatilla, Oregon, a very rural town, and spoke to 340+ students. They were great, and made me the biggest thank you card I've ever received!
The following day was the multi-city event with me and a bunch of other authors doing workshops on various aspects of writing. After the workshops, we signed lots of books and lots and LOTS of t-shirts and then did a panel where the kids asked us questions.
That's only half the room of kids, by the way. A highlight for me was meeting one of my favorite authors, Mary Pearson. I remember reading A ROOM ON LORELEI STREET in 2005, when I was starting to explore the world of YA fiction. I loved it SO much. I think I'll get the audio book and reread it one of these days, listening to it this time around.
Here are all of the authors with some of the volunteers and the librarian, Michelle, who coordinated a lot of the event. I liked standing by Mary. She's short, like me!
On Saturday, I made my way back home via train. Everyone was right - the trip is lovely as the train travels along the Columbia River Gorge (on the Washington side). As I rode, it felt a little bit like I had stepped back in time. Back to a time when things were simpler. Slower. Quieter. I liked that part of it a lot. It's hard to take good pictures when you're moving, but I did take one when we stopped for a moment.
The best part of the trip, though, was talking to the kids. Hearing them say how a book touched them or helped them or that once they started reading, they couldn't stop. Events like these are exhausting, but they also feed me in a way nothing else can. I mean, I wish I could give a big thank you card to everyone who has been supportive of me and my books. Hearing from readers makes me anxious to get back to writing. To try my best to write new stories that will keep them up late, turning the pages. It is a wonderful thing, to have been at this long enough that I have teachers and librarians and kids telling me, "I can't wait until your next book!" Wow. WOW! I'm an author. I am really and truly an AUTHOR! And I love it so very, very much.