Last night I went to Kohl's to pick out a new shirt to wear. It took me an hour. How come the size I need in the shirt I like is always gone? Like, always. So annoying. And then I wake up and my friend texts me to ask if I want to wear my pajamas into the elementary school for my talk because it's pajama day at the school.
While the teacher brings the kids back to the classroom, we admire the projects on the classroom walls. "Who is your favorite character in DANIEL THE DRAW-ER? And why?" and " What would you draw if you had a magic pencil?" Courtney's especially happy with these projects because one kid gave Octobear purple tentacles (which is totally crazy, because everyone knows they're green!). I just think it's awesome because the kids had projects. About MY book.
I begin by telling the kids that I had, once upon a time, been a student in their elementary school; and when I wrote the playground scene from the book, I'd pictured their playground. None of the play structures from my era remain on their current playground. That's a little sad, but the kids think it's cool that their playground is famous. And, of course, I tell them about the earthquake that cracked the sidewalk behind the school. I forget to tell them about the petrified green been that's been clinging to the cafeteria ceiling for the past forty years, though. Next time...
The teacher asks me about my writing process. I'll have to work on my answer for next time, because I don't think mine is currently all that great. She uses my answer to emphasize the importance of revising and having friends look over your work. Then she lets the kids ask questions.
How did you come up with Whiskers?
Was Annie based on someone?
How do you make your characters sound different?
How do you think up these characters?
When did you publish your book?
And, most importantly, will there be another book?
Yes, there will be another book. <cheers>. And when I hint about what Daniel's up to next, their hands shoot up with all of their ideas. So many ideas, and several of them fall very close to what I have in mind. That's pretty impressive.
Then the kids--nearly 2/3 of the class--buy their books and I sign them. Heck, Courtney even signs a few because the kids know she must be awesome, too (Duh! Owl jammies!). Each of the kids receive a cool autographed bookmark because I wanted them to have something, even if they couldn't get a book.
Before the kids run off to lunch, one boy drops a note in front of me. On his note, he thanks me for coming, then there's a sketch of the pencil from my book cover. I flip the paper over (as instructed), and he's given me his phone number so I can call him when book #2 is finished.
"Look! I scored some digits!" I shout to Courtney and the teacher. That's so awesome.
One of the girls tells me she's going to frame my autograph. "You're her favorite author," the teacher says. Another boy agrees. I'm someone's favorite author? Someone who doesn't know me? Really? Is that possible?
I ask the teacher if I can donate a copy of "Daniel the Draw-er" to the school library, and she says sure, and she'll introduce me to the school librarian. On the way to the library (and then the office, because the librarian isn't in the library), we pass a neatly-dressed woman exiting the school through the main doors. I mean, this chick's in a dress, pearls, and heels--the whole nine. She obviously didn't get the pajama memo.
The teacher whispers, "that's the head of the township children's library. Want me to introduce you?"
Uh, yeah. I wanna meet ALLLLLL the book people.
The poor prim and proper librarian looks confused by the lady in the totally awesome cat pants (me) handing her an unknown but equally awesome book. It makes me smile just remembering it. Oh, cat pants. Making friends and influencing people, as always.
So, I'm going to go ahead and call that a huge success.
In other news, today I decided to celebrate my first author event by offering the Kindle version of "Daniel the Draw-er" for free for one day only. So far, 544 people have downloaded it.
My sixth-grade self wouldn't have believed that one day I'd walk into my old elementary school wearing cat pants with my published book tucked under my arm.