Book Expo America — Friday
What a great weekend. Book Expo America is the big publisher’s convention — last year it was in New York, this year it was in LA at the convention center.
Friday morning I went to the breakfast for children’s publishers, which began at 8:00, which is FAR too early to have to be anywhere, IMHO. The good news — the speakers were Eoin Colfer (ARTEMIS FOWL), Sherman Alexie (THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN), Judy Blume (author of… well, she’s Judy Blume!) and Neil Gaiman (author of… well, he’s Neil Gaiman!).
I met up with my friend Melissa Marr (WICKED LOVELY, INK EXCHANGE) and we got to chat a bit as we found our way to the HarperCollins tables. I was thrilled to see that we’d received free copies of Neil Gaiman’s new novel, THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Haven’t read it yet but I’m dying to dive in. The speakers were hilarious. Eoin Colfer could easily be a stand-up comic. After running down Judy Blume’s lengthy list of accomplishments, she told him that she’d only done so much because she’d been around a lot longer than he had. He said he was older than he looked because “I moisturize”. Frankly, it was kind of inspiring to hear from such wonderful authors.
After breakfast, I went to the signing area to collect a signed copy of INK EXCHANGE from Melissa Marr. She had quite a line. It’s hard to believe that my friend is quickly becoming a “famous author”.
After that, I walked through the booths and checked out the convention — it’s huge, taking up two gigantic halls. The great thing about BEA is that there are free books everywhere. The whole place is filled with people staggering around, lugging oversized totes crammed with reading material. It’s not for the weak.
Then, as I was going to meet some friends for lunch, I saw Brandon Mull and two other people walking toward me. He’s the guy who writes FABLEHAVEN — I recognized him from his photo. Now, I never do this, because I’m usually too shy, but I actually stopped him and introduced myself and told him that we shared an artist — Brandon Dorman illustrates my books as well as his. To my shock, he said he’d been looking for me! He had heard I was around and wanted to meet me. Then he introduced the two guys with him, and they’re terrific authors as well — James Dashner (THE 13TH REALITY) and Obert Skye (the LEVEN THUMPS series).
We really hit it off. In fact, my friend Rebecca walked by and wanted to take a picture of us. Here it is:
That’s Brandon on the left, then James, then Obert, then me — the short bald guy.
So… we all agreed to hook up later and chat and I went off to my lunch with the folks from Tempe, Arizona. I’d gone there earlier on a book tour and got to know this great, crazy group of teachers and librarians and BEA gave us a chance to hook up and see each other again. We had a lot of fun and Rebecca showed me a letter from one of her students who said that she just wanted to ask me one question, which was “would I be her friend”?
Well… of course! So I wrote her back a little note saying that I would love to be her friend and Rebecca snapped a picture — it’s the only other picture I have from BEA:
That’s Faith to my left, btw. Super nice, like all of them — except when they’re playing cards.
After lunch, I met back up with Brandon Mull and Obert Skye (James had to be elsewhere) and we talked books and movies and the writing life for… geez, I don’t know, an hour or two. They were interested in some of the movies and TV shows I’d done and Obert was asking me a bunch about ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. As we were talking about it, a “movie moment” happened — one of those moments in life that’s too coincidental to be real, the kind of thing that only happens in the movies. I was telling them about the show when Henry Winkler walked by, who I know because he’s been a guest on ARRESTED a few times. So I said hi to Henry and introduced him to Brandon and Obert. Now, not only is Henry Winkler the Fonz, but he’s also officially the nicest man in Hollywood. And I don’t say that to exaggerate — he actually IS the nicest man in Hollywood.
Obert had to run off to go do a signing for his new book, PILLAGE (which I picked up and got signed — can’t wait to read it.) And then I headed home for the day to rest up for Day 2. I was planning to write about that here, but this has turned into a novel, so I think I’ll do it later under a separate post.
Until then, take care…