April 13, 2009

Cynthia Leitich Smith and Kathi Appelt

I go to a lot of book signings and such, and often end up wondering afterward if I should write something up for the blog. So this is a testing of the waters. Please tell me whether you enjoy it or not.

You can read Cynthia's write-up here. I'm in one of her shots and I hate to think I actually looked that bad.

First: I arrived super early because I took the bus, which runs every forty minutes or so and takes me fifteen minutes to walk to the stop. I didn't have many choices of which to take. I grabbed a book off the shelf I've been wanting to read (must buy my own copy so I can enjoy it again) and went up to wait.

Book Cover

Cynthia and her husband Greg were setting things up with the workers, which surprised me. At BookPeople the authors usually wait somewhere else and you don't get pre-event interaction. Anyway, Cynthia quickly figured out that she "knew" me and thanked me for coming to the event. It was very nice, and I enjoyed watching her greet others as they trickled in. Cynthia's blog and efforts with SCWBI have really made her a presence in the young adult/children's lit world and it seemed like she knew every one of the 100+ people who attended.

Then it was time for the event to actually begin! Cynthia and Kathi introduced each other, which was very sweet and a good way to get brags in. (I can tell you, this event sold me on THE UNDERNEATH. I'm buying it as soon as it comes out in paperback.)

Book Cover

Next came readings: Cynthia's from Zach's POV in ETERNAL and Kathi's . . . a song!

It turns out Kathi once wanted to be a songwriter, so almost every character in THE UNDERNEATH had a song. But her editor chopped them out one by one, until only one was left: a blues number for the dog, who was based on Kathi's childhood dog.

She looked really cute while singing so I did her the disservice of managing to take the pic while her eyes were closed. (See her foot tapping?) Of course, my cell was almost dead so I only took four photos . . . should've accounted for mistakes like this.

There was also a showing of the trailers:

. . . with a little technical difficulty for the ETERNAL trailer.

Eternal Trailer

Anyway, there was a very cool Q&A and fanmail reading section. My favorites: a sixth-grader telling Kathi how to improve her writing and a librarian telling Cynthia she wanted Zach and Miranda (the main characters of ETERNAL) to have sex.

The questions they asked each other mostly involved the appropriate approach to sex and violence in books for young adults and children. Their answers were very sensible and unfortunately, the crowd was probably their choir. I did like an audience member's follow-up question, about whether those aspects were differently received in other countries. (The violence is apparently more common in America.) Both had interesting issues with France editions - they can't decide whether to market Kathi's as children's or adult and for Cynthia, there is no French translation of "tantalize." Hard to believe as much as the country likes food.

Then came signing, which made me sad I managed to leave my copies of Cynthia's books at home after Spring Break. I'd forget my head if it weren't glued on, seriously. But I did take the opportunity to finish the book I'd snagged at the beginning!


  1. What fun. You know, I have yet to make it to a book signing at Book People. One of these days. :)

  2. Thank you so much for your report, and for joining us! It was a huge treat to meet you in person!

  3. Wish there were more book signings near me! Sounds like a fun time :)

  4. Aww this looks liked such a fun author signing!! And my my what colorful discussion going on there, wish I was there. ;)

    Aww that sucks you left your books! :( But there is always next time. =)

  5. i liked it. yes, definitely continue to post about your author event visits.

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