Monday, April 28, 2008

L.A. L.A. Land -- Jay

When the Mermaids first arrived at the L.A. Times Festival of Books, we were amazed at the amount of people who showed up on a scorching hot weekend purely for the love of books.

Then we went backstage to the V.I.P. room and were like giddy fans, surrounded by so many big-named authors. Mo Willems! Jon Scieszka! T.C. Boyle! Mary Higgins Clark! We ate as many cheese squares and fruit wedges as fast as we could in case anyone suddenly decided we weren't cool enough to be back there.

Then we met a bunch of L.A. writers of teen lit. in the Angeleno hotel, which gave an amazing view of the city at night. We followed that by having dinner with Robin Benway, debut author of Audrey, Wait!...which has quickly added itself as one of my favorite books. Don't wait! Go out and get it!!!

Of course, when we're in L.A., we just have to pretend like we're from The City and go out dancin'. (Sidenote: Eve's allergy pills made her so drowsy, she had to sit out most of the songs, which is why she's not in this photo...and it took about 85 photos for her to get even one where Robin and I look only partially goofy.)

Back at the Festival the next day, I got to meet Sherman Alexie, author of the National Book Award winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This was an especially fun first-meeting because Mr. Alexie recently wrote a blurb for the paperback edition of Thirteen Reasons Why, which you can read at the bottom of this post.

After signing books for an hour with Ms. Benway, we headed to our panel on teen literature. As the room started to fill up, I began to get insanely nervous. I expected our panel to barely sell-out a small classroom...not a whole lecture hall! This photo doesn't even show the two side-sections of seats.

Along with Ms. Benway, I was joined by Cecil Castellucci and Michele Serros. The three of them were so articulate and thoughtful, part of me wanted to just sit in the audience and watch. But it was a lot of fun...and quite an honor...to be up there with them!


- Jay


Thirteen Reasons Why is a mystery, eulogy, and ceremony. Twenty or thirty times, I snapped the book shut when a sentence, an image, or line of dialogue was too beautiful and painful. But I, afraid and curious, would always return to this amazing book. I know, in the years to come, I will often return to this book.

- Sherman Alexie

7 comments:

Gregory K. said...

Forget the Festival... that's a wicked wonderful blurb, made better cuz it rings true to what so many feel about 13 Reasons Why.

Sorry I missed the Mermaids in L.A.....

HipWriterMama said...

You all looked like you had a blast. Sherman Alexie wrote an incredible blurb--what an honor!

I read your book over the weekend and would totally agree. It is beautiful. Thank you!

Colorado Writer said...

Let the good times roll! Great blurb, indeed!

The Writers' Group said...

Isn't it exponentially wonderful to attend these events with friends? And my goodness what an endorsement from Sherman Alexie. Congratulations to you all.

Amy MacKinnon

Jodi Lyn said...

Jay, what a wonderful blurb! And thanks for the bookmarks - I got them yesterday. We start reading 13RW next week - can't wait to see how my students react to the book.

Farrell said...

Thirteen Reasons Why changed my life forever. Thank you.

Amber said...

I have just finished reading "Thirteen Reasons Why", and I just had to drop in and have my say. It's rare when you stumble across a book, as I did today in the bookstore at the mall, pick it up, read the cover, and think to yourself, 'I don't know why, but I gotta get this book.' It was expensive to me, I didn't have a lot of money to spend, but I bought it anyways..After three absolutely insane hours of non-stop reading, here I am, telling you that I almost got sick a couple of times, my stomach twisted into an angry knot as I recognized myself in Hannah when I was a teenager..I w shaking towards then, and had to take a short break to ease my seemingly exposed nerves. But I was touched. To the core. Teenage depression is a very real and serious issue that people seem to forget or over-look as we grow older. "I survived that, and so will you.", we say to every emo, goth, and seemingly happy cheerleader that we notice is having a hard time making the transition into adulthood. I will pass this book on, to the many people that I know went through this transition, alone, and a couple who shared this harrowing, intense time with me. Thanks for not giving up on yourself, and letting this story reach the many kids who need to know they're not alone, and to know there's hope.