9:30 am: Check work email
10:30: Meet Tony at his session with Laurie Halse Anderson. He talks about how he hates being asked, "So, what's the book about?" because it's such a loaded question, and so difficult to answer. The book is about what the book is about. He talks about the life a book takes after it's published.
12:30: Tony's signing of Firegirl at the booth. Despite the light attendance, there is a steady stream of people. At one point, I notice a large group of Asian kids walk by, see the sign that says, "Now signing: Tony Abbott" and do a double take. They put down their stuff and chatter amongst themselves. I notice that there are two adults mixed into the group. I wonder what their story is--there are rarely children at these conferences. The whole group of them go and buy books and stand in line, and soon Tony is surrounded by the excited group, all holding out their books to be signed, taking pictures. It turns out that they're from Korea, where Tony's Secret of Droon series is a huge hit, and where Firegirl is also to be translated. They had been waiting for his signing at the Scholastic booth when they happened upon our signing.
1:30: J. Patrick Lewis's signing of Tulip at the Bat and Wing Nuts at the booth. Also a nice, steady stream of people. Pat has the best autograph ever--looping big letters in a brown Sharpie. "I see you're not a doctor, " one woman in line commented. Pat laughed. "Actually, I am, " he says, "PhD." She's embarrassed. "Hello Dr. Lewis," she greets him when she reaches the front of the line.
2:30: Peter Brown arrives at the booth. I get a smoothie to go and we walk the show together. It's Peter's first time at a conference, and he's a bit overwhelmed at how big it is and how many books are published. "How does any one book ever get noticed?" He wonders out loud.
We come across Linda Sue Park signing books and I get a copy of Project Mulberry signed and say hi. She says she likes that the show isn't too busy.4:00: Peter and I meet Mark from Just One More Book (hear my previous podcast interview with him here) for a joint interview about the author-editor relationship. You can hear Peter and my interview here.
4:30: Back to the hotel to check work email, rest, and work out before dinner.
7:00: Dinner at a fabulous Greek seafood restaurant, Mediterra with Peter Brown, coworkers Victoria and Nora, and three kidslit experts. My scallops were so delicious ("Like buttah," Victoria says), as was the dessert called "death by chocolate." Conversation ranged from favorite teachers, to scrotum, to politics.
10:oo pm: Peter and I meet up with one of his friends who lives in Toronto for drinks. Peter's friend is Middle Grade novelist Adrienne Kress, whose first novel, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman will be out this Fall. Coincidentally (more coincidences!), my company participated in the auction for this book. I wasn't the bidding editor, but I was one of the editorial readers, and I loved the book. We don't win the auction, though. A few months later, Peter mentions to me that he met a children's book author and told me the title of her book. "Why does that sound familiar...oh, I read that!" In person, she is chatty and friendly and energetic, and it was fun talking kids' books with the both of them. I also get some recommendations from Adrienne for places to go/see in Toronto.
8:45: Check work email, send my assistant Connie a last-minute description for a novel I'm bringing to our acquisitions meeting next week.
9:15: Meet Peter for breakfast
11:00: Peter Brown's book signing of Chowder and Flight of the Dodo. We get there a little early and Victoria shoos us out of the booth. We do a quick lap around the floor and by the time we get back, a short line has formed. Peter sits down and starts signing. He starts drawing little Chowders (in Chowder) and little Kiwis (in Flight of the Dodo) and the line gets longer. Victoria comes over. "Is he drawing a new book?!" she hisses. "I'll hurry things along" I say. He stops drawing Chowders and Kiwis. The line is still long. Victoria, Nora, and Lisa all give us looks to hurry up. But I like the line--and besides, there have hardly been any lines at the conference. Peter chats it up and gets invited twice to do a school visit in Guam. But we do eventually speed things up. He sells out of books, and we even sell the display copy of Flight of the Dodo. And we had been worried that a Wednesday signing wouldn't be well-attended!12:30: We have some time to kill before Peter's session with Elise Primavera, and so we do a lap around the session rooms and see that Janet Wong is speaking now, and go in for a bit. She's hilarious. Makes people do yoga, tell stories. We run into Yolanda LeRoy there. We sneak out a bit early to get a snack before Peter's session. Peter suddenly realizes that he doesn't have a copy of any of his books with him, and I realize that we've sold out of books. "Lisa has a copy of Chowder, at least" I say. She had Peter sign a copy to her pug, Frodo. "And we might have the display F&G of The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder..." we go down to check, and yes, both Chowders. But no Flight of the Dodo to be had. "Someone will probably be at your session who bought it today, we can borrow it from them."
We cart a box of Chowder plush (as pictured before guarding the cupcakes) up to the session room. Worried by the Wednesday afternoon session time, we wanted to give people incentive to show up. Elise Primavera and editor Ari from Hyperion are already in the room setting up. A total of ten people show up for the session, a bit pitiful, but we all make the most of it. Elise talks about her new Fred & Anthony series, and Peter talks about how he became a picture book author and illustrator, and the inspiration behind Flight of the Dodo and Chowder. After the talk I see Peter into a cab to the airport. The exhibition hall is now closed.
3:30: Met fellow editor and blogger Stacy Whitman for coffee. It was our first time meeting (well, after a quick hello on Monday) and it was great to learn more about her and her career. We had both interned at the Horn Book.
6:00: I take a trip to Queen St. West to go shopping in the freezing rain before meeting a friend (and former intern who now works for Penguin Canada) in the same neighborhood for dinner. I buy a dress and a bag. We get Korean food--all-you-can-eat BBQ. Delicious. I hadn't had Korean food in a while.
Back in the hotel room I use a hair dryer to dry my jeans and shoes so I can pack them away.(I rescued a few Chowders to keep me company)
8:30 am: Meet Yolanda for breakfast. The weather is brisk but beautiful, blue sky and fluffy clouds are out after the storm. We take the subway up to the Museum stop to check out a breakfast place called Over Easy Adrienne had recommended. It was perfect. Then we walk around the University of Toronto until I have to leave to catch my flight to Boston.
And that, my friends, is everything you needed to know about my trip to Toronto. Anna and Grace picked me up at the airport in Boston. The cupcakes are all decorated and safely in the car to keep cool. The big party is tomorrow! Aside from making cupcakes, we've been making paper flowers and stuffing goody bags and planning. Over 100 people have RSVPed that they're coming--it should be a fantastic time.
And then Grace flies out to San Antonio on Sunday morning and I return to New York.
Sorry for the terribly long post! More later. It's time for bed.