Friday, May 09, 2008

Book Tour Journal, Days 6-8, Chicago-land.

Wednesday 03.12.2008, Naperville, IL

7:15 a.m., Judy arrived outside the condo. Judy is my media escort while I’m in the Chicago area. Her car has a cool cup holder right above the passenger side vent.

Our first stop was Naperville North High School, and it took us a good while to get there. But we were early so there was time to stop at Starbucks. At the school, I met Teri from Anderson’s Bookshop and I spoke to two creative writing classes who were really stellar people. After each session we took orders for copies of WAKE. ‘Twas a great time.

Afterward, Judy drove me to Anderson’s where I signed the books along with a bunch more for stock. Then we had lunch next door at Lou Malnati’s. Now, normally, when in Chicago and staring a fantastic pizza place in the face, I’d get pizza. But, after a total of about eleven hours of sleep since I left home four days before, I was in serious need of comfort food. Plus, I knew that my sister was planning on taking me to Giordano’s that night. And, I have been known to order me some Lou Malnati’s pizza and have it delivered all the way to Arizona (it’s a weakness – they deliver everywhere in the country!). So I ordered pasta, and it was warm and delicious and...comforting.

And then Anderson's gave me a free book -- wasn't that nice? I got to choose. I picked The Wednesday Wars, a Newbery Honor book written by my former professor, Gary Schmidt.

Then it was onward to Naperville Central, key rival of the North (I soon discovered). Here I presented WAKE to a wonderful group in an auditorium setting. In the chairs were film and creative writing students of several genres. They asked fantastic questions and it was great to see so many artists all in one school.

I can’t say enough good things about the schools in Naperville—had a great time there!
After school, I was FREE for the whole evening...WOW. And I was exhausted. Judy dropped me off at my sister’s condo where I sort of just fell into a chair and waited for my agent to call with an update of the first week’s sales figures, which he did. And they were great. But there had also been a glitch with WAKE placement in one of the chain stores, which was a bit frustrating. And even though my sales numbers were good, it felt like a good time to have a little cry, so I did. Which was probably the best thing for me after four days of non-stop whirlwind travel on not-enough-sleep.

That night sister Tricia, bro-in-law Kevin and I went out to Giordano’s and it felt great to relax a bit. We stopped at Barbara’s Books in Oak Park (I think?) and signed a couple books (and I also picked up a copy of Hugo Cabret that I’ve been meaning to get) and Barnes & Noble and a Borders on State Street, but it was too late and Borders had already closed.

Back to Tricia’s to crash and prepare for another early morning.

Thursday 03.13.2009 LaGrange, IL

YAY, my lovely sister took the day off to go with Judy and me to Lyon Township High School in LaGrange, a lovely town where 75-bazillion trains pass through each day and the Starbucks is somehow always on the other side of the tracks.

I spent the day in the school library and the classes came to me – four of them, to be exact. I feel so sorry for that 4th class because usually after three classes I have run out of words for the day. But everything was great and Nancy Richter, the school media specialist, was a great asset, too. She even brought the superintendent to the book signing that evening (and we saw her at the soup and sandwich place for dinner, too)! Now that’s what I call support.

Judy managed to get me to a few more bookstores in the area to sign stock before we had to get back to the Borders in LaGrange for the signing.

And there, I met two more myspace friends! It was so great of them to come out for the event. It really made my night. I also met a lovely woman who is mother to one of the friends I list in the book’s acknowledgements, and we had a great chat. A few students from Lyons Twp HS came by too – it was great to see them again! And of course Nancy and the superintendent and some others who I hadn’t yet met.

Thanks LaGrange Borders! It was a great night.

Friday, 03.14.2008

Crawled out of bed, threw everything in the suitcase, and said a sleepy goodbye to Tricia and Kevin. Thank you for your hospitality! And thank Manson, too, for not attacking me. (Manson is their psycho cat). Time to head HOME for the weekend! Hubby Matt was at the airport to pick me up. And I was off duty until Monday – San Francisco, up next!

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