Saturday, July 21, 2012

ALA 2012

At the end of last month, I had the incredible honor of attending the American Library Association's annual conference in Anaheim, CA. You guys. It was amazing. I still can't believe I got to go. I met so many fantastic authors, illustrators, readers, and industry professions that I was a little starry-eyed all weekend. Plus, I got to go to some groovy dinners and parties--and I had to speak for the first time! It was so scary, you guys, but so awesome. And I had great advice and support from so many people that everything went smoothly and, hopefully, I didn't look too green up there. =)

On Friday night, I attended a dinner put together by Penguin featuring authors and their editors. Ally Condie (Matched) and Marie Lu (Legend, Prodigy) spoke, and then I spoke last. We were each introduced by our editors, who shared about how they first received the manuscripts for each of our books, and what prompted them to buy them. My editor, Laura Arnold, unfortunately couldn't make it (she's about to have her first baby!) but Ben Schrank, the president of my imprint Razorbill, was kind enough to step in for her. A lot of teens, teachers, and librarians were at the dinner, and I got to sit at each table and chat with them all. It was such a privilege to meet so many avid and passionate readers! Ally and Marie were wonderfully gracious and gave me some great advice, both at the dinner and at the panel we did on Sunday.

Another highlight was getting to hear Chris Colfer speak about his new release The Land of Stories. I am a total Gleek, and I'd missed hearing him speak at BEA in New York, so I was doubly glad to make it to his presentation. He was so adorable, you guys, and very down-to-earth. I wanted to talk to him, but of course he's across this huge auditorium on the platform, and though I did gauge the distance between us and speculate how quickly I could make it to the stage, there were the bodyguards to be dealt with. In the end, I settled for making up some random question to ask during the Q&A, so at least I know he saw me and I saw him and, you guys, we had a moment. Mission complete. =)

Another highlight--seriously, the whole weekend was one highlight after another--was getting to dash madly around Disneyland for the two hours before closing with Gennifer Albin (author of October release Crewel). We hit the main rides, and it was so dark that we couldn't see the stuff we missed, so all good. Gen was very sweet and tricked me into sitting in the front on Splash Mountain. As you can tell from the photo below. Thanks, Gen. You will be repaid in kind, my dear. >:-)

I was so, so thrilled to have my grandmother with me all weekend. She is a travel nurse and has been working in New Mexico for the past several years, so I don't get to see her nearly often enough. But she flew to Anaheim to stay the weekend with me (at the totally magical Grand Californian Disneyland Hotel--YOU GUYS. They had Bambi shower curtains. Don't think I didn't consider stuffing that nonsense into my suitcase, btw. In the end, my integrity and fear of jail won out). Here's my Grandma. She ROCKS. We had breakfast at the Rainforest Cafe, because 1) it kinda made me feel like I was having breakfast with Origin, and 2) I'm just cheesy that way, okay? Btw, breakfast was DELISHUSSS.

Sunday afternoon was my signing. Ben and I had to run to the convention center to make it in time, having spent too much time spying on the YALSA teens doing their shindig (my gosh, why didn't I know about YALSA when I was a teen? Those kids are wickedly intelligent and I got goosebumps listening to them speak about what they had been reading). Anyway, so we got to the Penguin booth and there's this enormous line in our way. So we're fighting our way through to get to the signing table and Ben asks them what they're in line for. And they said "Origin." I about fainted then and there, but that would have been rude, so I pressed on. We gave away every last ARC and I met some fantastic readers--including a few who had entered my Pinterest contest a few weeks back, some of my Twitter buds, and--this was totally out of the blue and so cool--my Dutch publisher! She'd stopped by the booth and we got to chat a bit about Onsterfelijk (Origin's Dutch title). It was so surreal.

Schnazzy poster of Origin (and me, of course, grinning like an idiot). I am not a kleptomaniac, I swear--but I did consider sneaking this home too.

In all, ALA was a blast! I finished my time in Anaheim by attending the Caldecott/Newbery banquet, where I heard winners Jack Gantos (Dead End in Norvelt, Newbery) and Chris Raschka (A Ball for Daisy, Caldecott) speak about writing and their books and winning prestigious medals. It was such a great night, y'all, and I never dreamed I'd ever get to go to something like that.

So that wraps it up! I am so happy I had the honor to be at ALA, and hope to attend many more in the future. Thanks for reading! =)



  1. You went to DISNEYLAND with Genn? I'm so jealous!

  2. I really enjoyed reading all about your trip. Sounds awesome!

  3. This is so great! I especially love the Smash Mountain photo...!