Monday, March 14, 2011

I love being an author

I was so excited last year when a librarian contacted me about participating in a fantastic event (the Cavalcade of Authors) for hundreds of students around reading and writing. The event was to be held in the Tri-Cities in Washington, somewhere I'd never been but had always wanted to visit. When it was time to figure out how to get there, I considered whether I wanted to drive myself the four hours, take a plane (a small one) there, or take the train. I opted for the train for various reasons, but mostly because I had never done Amtrak before, and I'd heard that particular trip was a beautiful one.

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.


  1. You of course know that I saw your tweet over the weekend and it only made me want to stop by that much more to see more of the awesome!

    The writing community is amazing and being an author has to be the best feeling in the world! Thank you for sharing part of your journey!

  2. Great pictures, and I'm so glad you got to visit all those wonderful kids.

  3. This is a wonderful post that made me all happy and inspired. Thank you for sharing your story and the pictures!

  4. It's great to hear how your writing inspires your readers. The train trip sounds pretty amazing and made me wonder - did you write on the train? Did I read the spark of a new story happening there?

  5. So neat -- looks like you had a wonderful time. With so much work we put into our writing, it must have been incredibly satisfying to see so many readers who love what you do! =)

  6. Wow! That is so much fun! I never meet any author in my life! They are so lucky to meet one like you =)

  7. That sounded like a whole bunch of fun! I'm glad you had fun and mets lots of your readers!

  8. I was there, at your presentation! I loved it. It was the first one, where there were some technical difficulties. But it was still awesome!