Most of us are reading summer books right now, or maybe looking forward to titles that will come out in the fall. But the folks at Scholastic are spending this week in Summer of 2012, learning about the new titles that will launch in that season, finalizing covers, and planning for how they’ll introduce those new offerings to booksellers, teachers, librarians, and readers.
My middle grade mystery, THE STAR SPANGLED SETUP, is part of that list. It’s a humorous, adventure-packed story about the theft of the original Star Spangled Banner from the Smithsonian, and the three kids who try to track down the thieves (on airport carts and through shadowy baggage handling tunnels!) while they’re all snowed in at a Washington D.C. airport.
I was invited to be one of the author guests at Scholastic’s Summer 2012 sales conference luncheon this week, so I got on a plane very early yesterday morning and flew down to New York. I didn’t have to be at Scholastic until lunch time, so I had a few hours to take a walk and explore.
My agent was in the city this week, too, so we met for breakfast. I took it as a very good omen that the hotel had this enormous flag hanging in the lobby.
I stopped in to visit Books of Wonder, a terrific children’s book store on West 18th Street…
…and then it was on to Scholastic.
The luncheon was on the 11th floor, in the dining area Scholastic calls the Greenhouse. It’s easy to see why. Isn’t it a gorgeous room?
Sarah Mlynowski kicked off the readings with a sneak preview of her new series about two kids who find a magic mirror in their basement and use it to travel into different fairy tales. Her reading was so much fun!
Then Tui Sutherland spoke about her upcoming dragon series, which sounds absolutely fantastic.
Tui has written about a zillion books (I am only exaggerating a tiny bit), including some titles in the WARRIORS and SEEKERS series (under the shared pen name Erin Hunter).
I was the last speaker, which meant I had all of lunch to be nervous. 🙂 But I did manage to eat a few bites of my dessert. One has to have priorities, after all…
Here’s my editor, Anamika Bhatnagar, who works with me on both the MARTY MCGUIRE series and the new mysteries.
She gave a lovely introduction to my new book…and then it was my turn.
Anamika had asked me to include a little about why I wrote this book, and one of the things I talked about was how much I love airports. I always have…there’s something about the comings and goings, the emotional hellos and goodbyes. Whenever I travel with my family, we make up stories about the people hanging out at our gate. We give them names, decide where they’re going and why.
After I gave my talk about loving airports, a car was waiting to take me back to JFK…where I discovered that my flight was delayed. (Someone clearly has a sense of humor.) But it wasn’t long before the maintenance issue was fixed and we were on our way. The silver lining? That extra hour on the ground meant we were in the air to see an amazing light and cloud-shadow display on the Hudson River.
It was a spectacular way to end a truly wonderful day. I loved visiting with all the people behind-the-scenes at Scholastic, and I was blown away by their enthusiasm for my upcoming book. Thanks so much, Scholastic (especially Anamika and Lizette!) for the invitation to spend a day with all of you, looking ahead to Summer 2012!