Finding Libba Bray (and Her Awesomeness)

Holy whack-a-moley! I had to rush to get to the Decatur Book Festival in time to see Libba Bray on Saturday because a. I’d never seen her but heard tons of wonderful things about her presentation and b. Cathy-on-a-Stick wanted her picture with her.

I’m always amazed at how nice authors are when it comes to Cathy-on-a-Stick. In Ms. Bray’s case, the woman talked for about an hour– (And she was really funny and entertaining so if you ever get a chance to see her, you should go and experience for yourself how 45 minutes can go by in 13 minutes. I’ve never really understood that whole time/space continuum thing. And it’s not any clearer now.)and she had to catch a plane a couple hours later. But she sat out there for TWO hours and signed books and answered questions and posed for pics up till the very last minute.

I mean the VERY LAST MINUTE. A DBF helper let the few us at the very back of the line know that Ms. Bray may not be able to stay (I made a poem!). She HAD to catch that plane. So when I got up there, and she was still signing, I just said, “Here! Hold this, please! It’s Cathy-on-a-Stick and I have a blog and really, I’m a very nice person but I never know what Cathy-on-a-Stick might say.”

Good, old (not that old, really more like middle-aged) Libba Bray. She laughed, grabbed the stick, and I clicked and dashed so the next person could get her book signed.

So she’s my new favorite YA author. At least until the next one comes along to hold Cathy-on-a-Stick.

(P.S. Here’s her latest awesome book (BEAUTY QUEENS) which I bought and had signed. I may give it away in some sort of contest where you, the entrant, have to do somthing awesome. Because seriously, I stood in line for TWO HOURS an hour and a half almost an hour okay 28 minutes. See, I left the line after 12 minutes because I HAD to see Adam Gidwitz (A TALE DARK AND GRIMM). And he was pretty awesome, too, even if I didn’t catch up with him later for a pic with Cathy-on-a-Stick.  But then I came back and stood in Ms. Bray’s line again for 16 minutes. She was there the whole time, so you know, that has to count for a lot of awesomeness.)


A Keeper Interview in ENCOUNTER

What I like most about writing for kids is the way I look at the world. There are so many stories around me, I wonder why I didn’t notice before!

DSC00462Take for instance when I met Sydney Lewis at the Decatur Book Festival last year. She was selling Vernacular, a publication full of stories and poems written by high school students in the Atlanta area. I might not have been too impressed by that had Sydney not told me about the Wren’s Nest connection.

The Wren’s Nest is the home of Joel Chandler Harris, author of the B’rer Rabbit stories, to name just a few of his writings. I’d taken my kids to the Wren’s Nest; it’s a museum, not a publishing company. So now, she’s piqued my interest.

Turns out the Wren’s Nest has a special program that reaches out to high school kids who might want to submit to this yearly publication. But that’s just the tip of the program. Because a staff of high school kids is involved in every step of the production of this yearly magazine.

How cool is that, I thought. That’s a terrific teen story if I ever heard one. Luckily, Encounter felt the same way.  So, my interview with Sydney is in the fall issue. You migDSC00461ht want to look into Encounter if you have an interesting story for teens. You can email and ask for guidelines and an editorial calendar. Or just send your idea, like I did.

And keep an eye out. You never know when you’ll run across a great story! (P.S. Thanks, Sydney!)