After bidding a fond farewell to my brother and his family (and stealing all their grapes) we left Dallas and hit the road for Houston.
Best photo I could get from the speeding Huh Huh Ruh of a gigantor roadside sculpture of Sam Houston.
This was my first time at the Tweens Read Festival, and something I learned very quickly was that the amazing people at Tweens Read and the Blue Willow Bookshop like authors to sign stuff and then they like to give us stuff.
Poster I signed. Looks like sumbuddy has access to a laminating machine. LUCKY.
Delicious cupcake with a tiny edible copy of The Rocky Road Trip on top of it.
A bottle cozy knitted by a local librarian (CRAZY AWESOME FIBER ARTS REPRESENT!)
And a tee shirt! There may be a sizing issue.Plus popcorn and tissues and chocolates and a bunch of other goodies. We were some spoiled authors.
I love going to festivals and conferences because it's great to meet readers, but it's a huge bonus to meet other authors. Heather Brewer gave the keynote address.
Heather, addressing us, keynotedly.
I'd never met Heather or read any of her books, so I didn't know what to expect. I'll be honest--when I see a grown woman wearing a backpack in the shape of a plush bat, my inner pragmatist rolls her eyes because seriously, how much can you actually fit in that thing? I was also a little skeptical because she writes about vampires (bluh) and kept referring to all of us as "her minions" (I am not now nor have I ever been anyone's minion, thank you very much).
But Heather was AMAZING. She talked about how she'd grown up in a teeny tiny town with no money and no prospects, and how everyone in the town hated and bullied her. She took refuge in the school library, but even her beloved school librarian had no hope for her future. She talked about how she used all the pain and the rejection that she'd felt to write books for kids who were going through something similar, and she told all those kids that she believed in them and if she'd just had one person tell her that, she'd have become an author much sooner. By the end of her talk I felt like she could strap a hundred goofy plush stuffed animals on her back and that would be just fine with me (weird and probably a little uncomfortable, but Heather Brewer is fantastic and can do whatever she wants to do). She also badmouthed the Twilight series, so I'm more than willing to give her vampires a shot.
Everyone listening to Heather going all keynotey.
After Heather's address we all went off to our panels. I was on a panel with Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, and Rachel Renee Russell called Going Graphic.
R.R.R. and me. ME SO PRETTY!
I love being on panels because it's always interesting to hear how other authors answer the same question:
Kid: If you weren't a cartoonist, what would you be?
Raina: What Dave said.
Rachel: An attorney.
Me: A superhero crimefighter.
And it's also interesting to hear what sorts of questions our readers come up with:
What were you like in high school?
Do you have any pets?
What was the first thing that you ever wrote?
What are your influences?
What is your favorite color?
After we finished our panels we signed tons and tons and tons of books. It was a great festival and a great time.
And now we're packing up and heading back home to chilly Philly! Here's hoping the cat doesn't hate us too much for abandoning her.
Nom nom nom hotel breakfast nom.