Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Behind the Scenes of a Book Tour (Part One: Sunny California and the Emmys, Cute Vampires, and Lucky Bird Poop.)

I knew the second I was invited to go on Simon & Schuster's Summer Lovin' Tour with authors Suzanne Young, Sarah Ockler, and C.J. Flood, that this was going to be the trip of a lifetime.

The days leading up to the trip, I was whirling around in my usual pre-travel anxiety-haze. Plotting what to pack. Shopping. Creating a to-do list a million miles long. Organizing and cleaning and taking care of Everything That Is So Important.

And then, two days before I was to leave, I had a weird painful flare-up of sciatica. I didn't even know what this was until I looked it up online. I went to the doctor and begged him to do whatever he could do to help me manage. Long story short, he shot me up with steroids and I went home and plunked myself on an icepack--not doing ANY of the things I'd planned. Instead, my husband and I watched a Walking Dead marathon, which is an awesome show, btw. My daughter did my packing for me.

5:30 AM Sunday, June 22, I hobbled onto a plane to California.

Summer Lovin', baby. Oh, yeah. I was on my way.

Something I did not know about book tours before I went on one is how much time you spend sitting in cars. The first driver and I bonded over coffee in LA while we waited for the other authors to arrive.

I loved them immediately. (Which is a good thing. Spending all that time on the road, you will be spending that time with THEM.) Suzanne Young, bestselling author of The Program and The Treatment and numerous other books, is bubbly and brilliant. Sarah Ockler, author of #Scandal and Twenty Boy Summer and three other books, is funky and cool. C.J. Flood, debut writer of the award winning Infinite Sky, is smart and lovely. And British. (I could listen to her darling accent forever.)

Our first event was a library several hours away in Mission Viejo. We stopped for candy on the way. Helpful tip: it is fun to throw candy at people in the audience who ask questions. The four of us were just getting to know each other here. We asked questions too. About the stories behind our books. Our writing and revision processes. What we're working on next. We also sampled some of the candy. (A teen in the audience wrote up a good recap of the event here.)

When we got back to the hotel, we found that it was hosting the Daytime Emmys.

We ate dinner and watched the stars parade past. I had no idea who any of them were. Except for Sharon Osborne. But considering it was 7PM --10 Ohio time and I had been awake forever, I suspected I might've hallucinated her.

Sarah, CJ, and Suzanne posing at the Emmys looong after I went to bed. 
Day Two: I woke up bright and chipper, fully rested and raring to go. At 4:30 AM.

The hotel was hosting another fancy star studded thingy. Again, I knew who none of the famous people were, but my daughter freaked when I sent her this pic of some Vampire Diaries actor posing with C.J.

Later we drove three hours down the Pacific Coast Highway to San Diego. The driver treated us to shakes at the Shake Shack and then we stopped at Mission Beach and dipped our toes in the Pacific Ocean.
We got a quick bite to eat at a restaurant on the beach. I sat under a palm tree and a bird pooped on my head. This is supposed to be a sign of good luck in Poland. I have no idea if this is true, but I felt ridiculously lucky when Sarah offered to pick all the poop out of my hair.

Stacee, blogger at Adventures of a Book Junkie, did an awesome job recapping our event here in case you want to see how one of our panels went.

Day Three we hung out by the pool before our event in Glendale. Look how cute and summer lovin-y we all are. You can't even tell I am sitting on a giant icepack and having a major geriatric moment with my sciatic nerve.

Day Four I was a sinfully lazy sleeping-in woman not waking up until nearly 7!

At the event that night, the cool bookstore Vroman's in Pasadena, an old friend of mine from Connecticut that I haven't seen in years, showed up with her family. I felt very teary and blessed.

Like at all of the other events, we introduced ourselves and our books. We answered questions and signed books. We chatted with the teen readers and bloggers and other writers and booksellers.

But this night felt different.

Suzanne and Sarah and CJ and I were like longtime friends, finishing each other's sentences and telling inside jokes. We knew each other's back stories and childhoods and writing processes.

Back at the hotel we shared a nice dinner and I hung with them until the very end, finally adjusted to West Coast time.

I was an old pro, all geared up for the second half of the tour: San Francisco.

Tune in soon to see what happened next when we visited Facebook (and saw Mark Zuckerberg!), how we survived a windy perilous trip up a mountain, and... drumroll, my possibly midlife-y crisis mission to get a TATTOO.


  1. You're livin' the dream! (except for the sciatica)

    1. Awesome experience that now feels like a dream... and here I am back to reality, on my couch, wearing my pjs, sitting on an icepack : )