Preamble: at ALA this year JP and I will be signing galleys of THE MAP TO EVERYWHERE in the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers booth (#422) on Sunday from 3-4! Come grab an ARC and say hi! More details here.
A few years ago I was able to attend ALA (the American Library Association’s annual conference) in New Orleans and it was amazing! Imagine a massive convention center filled with books and book lovers — pretty much heaven, right? There’s really nothing quite like strolling the aisles, gazing at all the booths, and hearing all the excitement. Plus! Friends! One of the things I love about a conference like this is that everyone has a shared passion so it’s super easy to strike up a conversation pretty much anywhere — standing in line for a signing, hanging out in a booth, randomly wandering around the hotel with a massive tote bag filled with ARCs :)
So I’m super excited that, thanks to the wonderful folks at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, I get to return to ALA this year to promote THE MAP TO EVERYWHERE, the first book in the middle grade fantasy adventure series that my husband, JP, and I are writing. There are a few things that make this ALA feel even more special than usual. First, that JP will be there. He’s been hearing me rave about library conventions for years and now he gets to see it all first hand. Not only that, but he gets to experience it as a debut author (squee!!).
Second, the conference is in Vegas — which just in its own right means there are likely to be high-jinks and shenanigans. But the other connection is that in November 2012 my agent submitted The Map to Everywhere just before the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) convention… which also happened to be in Vegas. I was lucky enough to be there promoting Infinity Ring: Divide and Conquer
. What I didn’t know at the time was that my future editor was also there, reading Map along with her co-workers and preparing an offer. So returning to Vegas to promote Map feels a bit like coming full circle!
But more than anything, what has me excited (and, lets be honest, really really nervous) is that I get to get out there and talk to people about MAP for the first time. I know I haven’t said much about this book on the blog (I’ve become a bit superstitious about talking about books before they’re well and done), but I truly, truly love it. Of course I love all the books I’ve written in different ways, but I had the same kind of feeling writing MAP as I did writing The Forest of Hands and Teeth
— that this book is special to my heart.
Perhaps part of that feeling came from the fact that I wrote MAP with my husband. This is a book that we’d talked about for years, planning out worlds and story lines while taking long rambling walks with our dog. We didn’t yet have concrete plans to actually write it, but that didn’t matter because the joy was in the imagining of it. At the heart of MAP is our love of stories — our desire to write the kind of book we fell in love with as kids. Those are the books that sparked our imaginations — that taught us to daydream and think big.
Those books are the reason we are where we are today: packing to head off to a convention with 20,000 other book lovers.