I've been in North Carolina this week, participating in "Novello", a program coordinated by the Charlotte public libraries that brings authors into local schools. I've had the pleasure of meeting (or in some cases, re-meeting) some truly excellent children's book authors. Eric Kimmel and I got to relive memories of being trapped in an ice storm when we both did a reading festival in Michigan years ago, Coleen Paratore (Wedding Planner's Daughter) and I discussed how we get story ideas while running, Pat Mora is always a delight to spend time with -- so gracious and wise, and Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy) and I had a wonderful conversation about the (sometimes emotionally devastating) process of writing novels. I also enjoyed conversations with Coretta Scott King award winners Nikki Grimes and James Ransome, Tony Abbott (Secrets of Droon) and Jeff Smith (the Bone series). It was nice for all of us to get to spend time with each other, but the real point of us being in Charlotte was kids getting exposure to "real authors". We went out to various schools to inspire children (and young adults) to read and write -- all this coordinated by the public library. Amazing.
The NYC marathon is in two weeks (yikes!) so I had to get my runs in. There's no gym in the hotel where we're staying, so I hit the streets of Charlotte. It's humid here and by the time I'd return to the hotel, I'd be drenched in sweat, wishing it would have rained.
This morning there's a public event where all us authors are on a Q&A / discussion panel, then it's home to Mark and the kids! It's been great here at the Novello festival, but there's no place like home.