Hi, readers! As an author, I spend most of the year on a fairly strict writing schedule, working out of my home office in upstate New York and occasionally traveling to New York City to meet with my editors. Since I’m essentially a homebody, this works well for me, and especially well for my dog, Sadie, who misses me a lot whenever I’m gone. Still, it’s always fun to break up my regular routine for a new book tour, an annual conference, a school visit, or a trip to my hometown. Unfortunately for Sadie, all of these activities came in the month of May!
After dropping off Sadie with my good friends Randi and Jerry, I headed off to the first scheduled events on Long Island, New York, where I had a great time visiting with students at two elementary schools. That same day, I went to a local bookstore to meet with readers and sign copies of Welcome to Camden Falls, the first book in the new Main Street series. Then it was off to Princeton, New Jersey, where I gave a presentation to an assembly at Littlebrook Elementary School, the school I attended as a child. Littlebrook is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, so it was fun to visit during this special time. The school is much bigger now than when I was there, but the familiar parts of the building brought back many fond memories. My hometown visit included an evening talk at one of my all-time favorite places, the Princeton Public Library, where it was great to see many old friends and neighbors.
Over the next couple of weeks, I traveled to schools and attended book signings in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Illinois, and Missouri, and made one quick trip to Toronto, Canada, for a conference. Luckily for Sadie, I had a break in the schedule then that gave me a little over a week at home, but after that it was time to head to New York City for Book Expo America (BEA), a big yearly event in the publishing world. There were plenty of interesting activities and events scheduled over several days at BEA, but for me the highlight of the week was a super-duper “Block Party” hosted by Scholastic in honor of the start of the Main Street series. The decorations were amazing! The guests felt as if they were walking through a small town instead of through the ballroom of a city hotel. To accomplish this, the art depicting the storefronts in the Main Street website (Main Street) was blown up into four-by-eight-foot panels, one store per panel, and then placed side by side to create the appearance of Main Street in Camden Falls. Little touches such as solid double yellow lines running the length of the floor, park benches, lampposts, and a popcorn vendor helped complete the transformation into Main Street, USA. It was a very special night for me, and I’m thrilled that so many people are as excited to read about life in Camden Falls as I am to write about it!
I’m home now and back to a busy writing schedule, but Sadie quickly found a way to command my full attention with her own little crisis – stepping in a pool of wet tar! (A little household tip: Dawn dishwashing liquid melts the tar right off.) To tell you the truth, I don’t think Sadie minded the cleaning process at all. She’s just grateful that I’m here with her and there isn’t a suitcase in sight!
P.S. Be sure to click on the latest photos from my travels and the Main Street Block Party!