I just got on board with "Google Alerts", which is a nifty little search engine that keeps an eye out for whatever you ask it to, and then emails you links. So this week my husband set it up so that we get emails everytime someone, somewhere out there, mentions my so-famous name. (Oh, I KID! I am not that vain.) In fact, Google Alerts is keeping me humble, because it's also brought me a rather, er, lukewarm review of Sun and Moon. What irritated me about the review though, was actually that she gave the whole story away! From beginning to end and everything in between! That was more shocking than anything!
But I digress.
Last week I did a school visit at Copper Canyon Elementary. It was WONDERFUL. The kids were so excited to see us, their teachers and showed them our books in advance, and they had lots of good questions about getting published and writing books. Apparently they have an Author Day every year, something which makes me green with envy. I never had stuff like this when I was in grade school! It was me, Brandon Sanderson (Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians), Howard Fullmer (The King's Highway), and Alvina Kwong (My Imagination). There were also a couple of women there with notebooks and cameras who I naively assumed were with the PTA. (Hey, I never said I was very observant!)
After a little while, I realized that the women with notebooks were newspaper reporters. One was from the Salt Lake Tribune, and the other from the Valley Journal. They asked me some questions, and even got permission to interview some of the students. One of the fifth grade teachers had read Dragon Slippers aloud to her class, and they asked the kids what they thought of it, which made me very nervous-- what if they hated it? That wasn't the case, to my relief, or maybe they just let those kids go to lunch early.
Now, I don't get the Trib or the Valley Journal, so I wasn't sure how I would find out if I actually made it into these papers. But thanks to Google Alerts, I got this link this morning:
It's so very thrilling for a newbie like me to see my name in the paper! And there's even a picture of me! I like that I'm wearing all black, makes me look very dramatic and author-y. I'm just glad they didn't take a picture of me almost falling out of that tall chair. (I never said I was graceful, either.)
Although, talking about Author Day, I do remember one author always coming to my elementary school. Well, one of them. (I went to three different elementary schools, in three different towns.) When we lived in Pocatello, Ken Thomasman would come to our school every year and talk about Lewis and Clark and Native Americans. He has written a number of wonderful books about real boys and girls growing up in Native American tribes in the Idaho/Northwest area. I read all of them. The two titles I remember are Naya Nuki: Girl Who Ran and Soun Tetoken. Naya Nuki was a childhood friend of Sacagewea. They were both kidnapped and became slaves to rival tribes. Naya Nuki actually ran away, and walked across three states to get back to her family. When Sacagewea brought Lewis and Clark to her home tribe, she discovered that her friend had made it home, and Lewis and Clark recorded the girl's story in their journals. Her preparations for running away are fascinating. She knows exactly how much food she'll need, and how to conceal it a little at a time . . . it's ingenious.
And on a note of "Jessica Recommends": I'm reading The Thirteenth Reality by James Dashner right now, and loving it. Oh, sorry for the tease, it's not out until March, apparently. Well, mark your calendars! The Thirteenth Reality! (I'm privileged enough to know Dashner, and he gave me an advance copy.) In the meantime, you might check out Ken Thomasman's books!