OLA today was wonderful! And tiring. 🙂 And feel-good.
The first thing I saw when I got to the Fitzhenry & Whiteside booth was my Canadian editor, Christie Harkin (it’s always lovely to see a friendly face), and then the beautifully arranged stack of copies of HUNTED!
I posed with Christie–but I still find having my photo taken slightly triggering, so it’s not the best smile. But Christie’s is!
I had SUCH fun at the Fitzhenry & Whiteside booth, signing HUNTED! In 25 minutes, we’d run out of all 100 copies of HUNTED! I couldn’t believe how fast they went, or that I’d had a long line! The people just kept coming! That was such a thrill, and I felt drunk on happiness for a while afterward. I think it was even happier for me because I’d had a fear that no one would come. 🙂
I also enjoyed speaking to each person, and I loved how when I’d offer a pen color, each person chose one and many enjoyed being offered the choice.
I wish I could see the whole line of people–they extended all the way on my right, and I was too focused on each person as they came up to me to look–but this lets me see some of them. 🙂
Then I walked around for a while with YA writer (and my friend) Lena Coakley. I also stopped by and got books signed by YA authors Marina Cohen, Sylvia McNicoll, and said hi to Mahtab Narsimhan at her signing (I’d already bought her book), and Teresa Toten (we were too late to get hers). It felt lovely to see writers and people who I like and care about with their books.
And then came the CANSCAIP book launch, where we each talked for three minutes about our books. Even though I’ve now done public speaking a number of times, I still get anxious beforehand each time, and sometimes scared. This time it was scared in the hour or so I had to wait to present HUNTED, my heart pounding and my hands sweating. I was glad to see I wasn’t the only anxious one; other YA writers I like and admire were also anxious. I was actually shaking while I was up at the podium speaking–BUT apparently I presented really well. Fellow YA writers Karen Krossing and Lena Coakley told me afterwards that I spoke beautifully and with emotion and great expressiveness, that I didn’t seem nervous at all, and that what I had to say was interesting and real. It helped to hear that; I still find public speaking stressful. And I speak my emotional truths and the things that are important to me; I mentioned that for me HUNTED is analogy to cults or cult-like groups that oppress, and that it also addresses homophobia and racism, though not in a slam-you-over-the-head way–I think it’s SO important to write entertaining books that teens want to read–but in a tension filled, adrenalin-racing, gripping way. (Reviewers and teen readers have told me that once they pick HUNTED up, they can’t put it down. I love hearing that!) The person on my right (I think another librarian) also told me I’d been fantastic; it was such a lovely thing to have that reassurance. I find it hard to tell how I’m doing when I’m anxious.
And then, after I went back to my seat, a librarian behind me asked if we had HUNTED for sale today at OLA. I told her that we’d run out of books, and YA writer Karen Krossing, beside me, suggested that I sell the copy I had to the librarian, and so I did. That felt so affirming and lovely and reassuring–my talk had interested librarians, had reached people.
There was a large audience for the CANSCAIP launch, which I felt good about. I also got to hug YA writer Paul Yee again and talk with him for a bit–he’s such a lovely person. I also had people recognizing me as I walked through OLA, coming up to say hi to me, and telling me they’d read my books. It was a great day, full of good feeling!