book tour

Friday Five: The Returned-From-Awesome-Travels Edition

I'm back at my desk today after nine days away, and it's so nice to be sitting here with my coffee and my manuscript and my usual to-do list. Don't get me wrong—the time away was fantastic! But nine days on the road is a lot. For today's Friday Five, I thought I'd give a little recap of my travels, because as I said, it's been a blast. 

1) Last Wednesday, my husband and I flew to North Carolina to meet his family at the Outer Banks. It's our third year renting a beach house there, and this year was by far the most relaxing. I sat on the beach and jumped around in the waves and got some reading done and tanned a tiny, tiny bit...and even got in a couple hours of revision, with a nice view. When I was younger, beach vacations weren't my favorite. Now, I love the sand between my toes and the sound of the waves. (I've also learned how to sunscreen for optimal protection, making it less likely I'll end up as a lobster...) Plus, spending time with family is always a good thing! 

2) Duck Donuts, y'all. One of my favorite things about heading to the Outer Banks is this (now not-so-local) donut chain. They make them fresh on demand, literally churning out warm cakes and topping them with your choice of glazes and extras. While I am normally a chocolate person, at Duck Donuts I am addicted to their maple-bacon option. Seriously. To die for. 

3) After leaving the beach, my husband and I drove to Raleigh, where we enjoyed a relaxing day and a half before he had to head back to NYC. We ate some amazing food (if you're in the area, don't miss Angus Barn and Relish Cafe & Bar) and—hope he's not mad at me for sharing this—even got side-by-side pedicures. 

4) I continued solo to Asheville, where I had my first of two book events! I was lucky to get to panel with Jaye Robin Brown, Lauren Gibaldi, Ashley Herring Blake, and Amy Reed at Malaprop's, a beloved independent bookstore downtown, and the event went great. We were celebrating the release of Jaye's second book, GEORGIA PEACHES & OTHER FORBIDDEN FRUIT, which I can't wait to read! 

5) Our second panel was in Greenville, South Carolina, at Fiction Addiction—and it was extra fun because the audience included several fellow YA authors. Afterward, a bunch of us went out for Mexican food—and plenty of publishing gossip. Get a bunch of writers together and we'll book-talk for ages... Oh, and I have to give a shout-out to Lauren Gibaldi, for being an excellent travel buddy. We had so much fun exploring Asheville and Greenville together. :) 

What's been going on in your world? Can you believe it's already September?!?!


What's on the Horizon for October?

I can't believe it's fall! I can't believe September's almost over! I have no idea where the time is going. But at least October is gearing up to be an excellent month. Here are a few things you should definitely have on your radar: 

I'm participating in the YA Scavenger Hunt for the second time! Just to refresh your memory, this is the giant online event where a bunch of YA authors open up their blogs for readers to get sneak peeks of upcoming books, read deleted scenes from and learn other tidbits about published books, and enter for a chance to win a WHOLE LOT OF BOOKS. I'm on Team Purple, with 19 other amazing authors. The hunt is running October 1-4, so if you're interested in participating, check back here this coming Thursday to dive in! Each blog post includes a link to the next post and a clue to help you win the grand prize. Go HERE for more info.


The next thing you need to know for October is that the YA Buccaneers are hosting a month-long Fall Writing Bootcamp! More details will be announced on Monday, but I can tell you this: starting October 1, I'll be diving into a new project that I'm a bit nervous about, and I'd love to have other people bootcamping alongside me. Join us for writing and revising prompts, brainstorming sessions, word sprints, and much-needed writer camaraderie! More info will be HERE on Monday. 

Finally, I'm so, so excited to be talking about THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LOST AND FOUND at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville over Columbus Day weekend, October 9-11. My panel is on Sunday, 10/11, from 2-3:30pm. I'll be sharing the stage with fellow YA authors Helene Dunbar and Will Walton, with a signing immediately afterward. If you're in the area, please stop by and say hello! It's going to be such an amazing festival, with some truly spectacular YA events. For more on the Southern Festival of Books, go HERE.

(And on a personal note, my newest nephew is supposed to be born right around that time, so there is a great possibility that my visit will also include snuggling an adorable baby! Never mind the total adorableness of my other two Nashville-based nephews...) 

It's hard to be mad about how fast the year is moving when there are such good things on the horizon. Stay tuned for more! 


Tennessee Book Tour Recap!

The past week has been pretty amazing, courtesy of my first-ever book tour. What started as wanting to do a single book event in my hometown turned into school visits, signings, a bookstore appearance, and more! I spent the first half of last week in Nashville, and then headed east for events in Knoxville and Maryville (where I grew up). And let me tell you, Tennessee rolled out the welcome wagon. :) 

Here's just a little bit of what I was up to last week: 

Monday 4/13: Flew to Nashville. Spent the day with family (sister, brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and even my uncle and aunt who live in town). 

Tuesday 4/14: Visited Nashville Public Library branch to talk to a librarian contact there. Also stopped by Parnassus Books to check it out and introduce myself. (What a beautiful store! Hope I get to do an event there in the future!) 

Wednesday 4/15: My first-ever school visit! I spent the morning talking to 9th, 10th, and 11th-grade English classes at Brentwood Academy, a private school in Brentwood, TN. We talked about how a book gets written and published, how to deal with writer's block, what authors inspire me, whether my book will ever be made into a movie…and John Green. Everyone wanted to talk about John Green. :) But in all seriousness, I had so much fun and the kids asked such good questions. Plus, the school librarians put up a nice display in honor of my visit and had me sign their library copies. School visit success! 

After I was done at BA, I headed into Downtown Nashville for coffee with two cool local YA writers that I know from Twitter, Ashley Herring Blake and Jeff Zentner. These two both have debut novels coming out in 2016, and I can't wait to get my hands on copies. 

Thursday 4/16: My brother, sister-in-law, and the nephews drove me to east Tennessee, where my parents still live. After a quick rest at home, my dad and I headed into Knoxville, where I had a bookstore event at Union Ave Books with Lauren Morrill (Meant to Be Being Sloane Jacobs). Lauren and I went to high school together, and she has been such an amazing champion of my debut. I was so excited to get to share a night with her and chat about our books, our writing process, and our high school memories! Plus, Lauren brought her adorable 6-month-old along—after admiring him online all this time, it was so fun to see him in person. :) 

Friday 4/17: One of the main purposes of my visit: I spent the whole day speaking at my high school, Maryville High School in Maryville, TN! I did four presentations over the course of the day for 10th-, 11th-, and 12th-grade English classes (plus a few students from other classes who were interested in hearing from me). I was pretty nervous about talking for more than 50 minutes at a time (the school is on block scheduling, so class periods are an hour and 20 minutes total!), but when I got into the groove, it went really well. Again, the students asked amazing questions and covered some things I hadn't even thought to include in my formal presentation—so I have tweaks to make for next time. I also had the pleasure of meeting some teens who had already read my book, which was super cool. Several pointed out lines that had resonated with them, or wanted to ask about Hallie et al's life after the book ends. One girl even called herself my first super-fan. So yeah—I now have super-fans. Yay! 

MHS 1st and 2nd periods.JPG

Look at all the high schoolers I got to talk to! A little bit intimidating, and a lot amazing. The top left pair was 1st period, the pair below that was 2nd period, the top right pair was 3rd period, and the bottom right was 4th period. The school was selling my book at a discount, so I got to sign a lot of copies. And a few students even stayed after for a reception in the library to chat with me further! By 4pm, I was exhausted—but thrilled with how everything went. 

Saturday 4/18: I'd wanted to sleep in on Saturday morning, but with two nephews under three in the house, that didn't happen. So, after some morning playtime and Curious George watching, it was time to head to my local book signing at Vienna Coffee House in Maryville. I was thrilled to see so many of my parents' friends—many of whom have known me since I was really little—show up to get their copies signed! I also sold copies to people who'd read it and wanted to buy more as gifts, or wanted to wait and buy it directly from my hands. So much hometown support for a debut author! I left this event feeling so grateful and happy. 

Sunday 4/19: Speaking of grateful, one of the last-minute things that came together for this trip was the Pie Party my parents' church decided to throw in my honor. Look at all that pie! I signed more books, talked about this book and my next one, and got a lot of hugs from people who—you guessed it—have known me since I was only *this* big and always knew I was going to grow up to do great things. I also ate too much pie, and completely spoiled my dinner. :) All in all, it was a lovely end to a lovely, exciting, exhilarating week. 

So there you have it! My first book tour is in the bag. And I talked to several teachers and librarians who want me to come visit them in the fall, so hopefully this will be the first of many southern book tours to come! 

Now that I'm back in NYC, it's back to the usual routine—which includes major revisions for my next book. More on that later… :)