IRA Conference!

Hello all!

I just got back from the IRA (International Reading Association) conference in Atlanta, where I accepted the IRA Young Adult Fiction Award! At the awards luncheon, I sat at a table with some wonderful ladies (we’re almost all females at these events…) -- librarians, teachers, and professors of children's and YA literature. The keynote speaker was Suzanne Fisher Staples, who wrote Shabanu-- she was a fabulous speaker-- she gave a slide show about her travels in the Middle East, which inspired her books. The end of her speech gave me shivers, it was so powerful.

Let's see, highlights of the trip:

I got to meet my editor, Stephanie Lane, in person for the first time. She's an angel-- beautiful, brilliant, kind... now that I know her, I feel even more grateful and lucky that she's my editor. And the rest of the Random House women there were super-nice. It made me realize how many people at RH are passionately involved in my books behind the scenes.

I ate lots of tasty food at fancy places with great people-- authors, librarians, teachers... it was the ultimate wining-and-dining experience.

My room was on the 64th floor of one of the tallest buildings in sight! My ears popped going up and down the elevator. And even at top speeds, it took a good minute or so to get to my floor, enough time for me to take some pics (to prove to you that indeed, this hotel had over 70 floors...)

Those of you who've read RED GLASS might remember that Sophie has an elevator phobia... and I must admit that the fear-of-elevators thing is one of the more autobiographical parts of the book. I almost always take the stairs, even when there are ten floors. But 64 floors...well, I decided the stairs were not an option if I didn't want to arrive sweaty and completely out of breath to every event.

It actually wasn't too scary. Like Sophie in RED GLASS, I vividly ran through all the disasters that could occur and how hard it would be to save myself on the 64th floor... but the sheer novelty of being so incredibly high up outweighed the fear.

The pics are:

dizzying views from my hotel room window (the tall cylindrical building is the actual hotel-- some windows are busted from the gigantic storm earlier this spring.)

Stephanie (black dress) and me,

Adrienne (black suit) (RH Library/Educational Marketing) and me

Me and the ladies from my luncheon table, including Lisa, another lovely RH woman (publicity)

The elevator buttons

In other news, my spectacular agent, Erin Murphy, did an interview with Cynthia Leitich Smith.
It's definitely worth checking out-- not only is she an interesting, smart person, but you'll also learn a bit about what she does as an agent and how she got where she is. (Plus, she says some nice things about Red Glass! ;)

Sleeptime for me now... g'night!