WHAT AN AWESOME WEEK! I can’t even tell you how amazing it was. So I’ll show you. Here we go.
I arrived in Cincinnati on Sunday, March 4th. It was 80 degrees when I left Tampa. Not so much in Ohio.
The next morning, I was whisked away to WRRS-FM Studios, where I met Mark DeWitt, host of Cover to Cover (all about books, yay!), and had my very first radio interview. He was fantastic, put me right at ease. Still, I’m quite glad the show was taped. I’m the queen of “um….”
Then my fabulous driver Vicki took me to the Boone County Library, one of the coolest libraries I have ever seen! It was enormous, and staffed by such amazing, dedicated people. Librarians are the coolest. Here’s me with Krista, the events coordinator.
Get this – the Boone County Library has a “Teen Scene,” a whole wing dedicated to YA books and video games, there are even booths and couches so you can go hang out! I met with their after-school group, and we had a great discussion on what rights they would defend should they live in a world like that in ARTICLE 5 – with Moral Statutes, and punishment for things like divorce, violations in male/female roles, and strictly defined parameters for what makes a “family.”
We also played my favorite game – Recruitment for Team Simmons. It goes like this: let’s say, since it’s 2012 and all, that the world really will end this year. We all know a certain set of skills will help you survive the Apocalypse, and I want to know what you got. The winners will join me in New World Domination. Or survival. Whatever.
So, everyone writes down their answers and gives them to me and I draw for winners (who just so happen to get A5 swag, like magnets and A5 mouse pads). Here are the answers from the winners in Crestview:
- I CAN MAKE FIRE
- Don’t need a whole lot to eat
- I can juggle
- If the fate of the free world comes down to a game of tennis, I make a mean doubles partner
- I write amazing book reviews (of course she won something…I’m not taking any chances here…)
We played this game every night. It was highly entertaining for me. By the time I came home I had a lot of great answers.
Tuesday I got up early and traveled to Lexington, Kentucky – home of beautiful sprawling horse farms and rabid University of KY basketball fans. That night we went to one of the largest bookstores I’ve ever seen – Joseph Beth Booksellers of Lexington. Huge atrium ceilings, an art gallery, a full restaurant, not to mention tons of books.
- A nasty temper when triggered (signed, the Redhead in the 5th row)
- Propaganda Writer
- Apocalyptic Hunter (for food and against enemies)
- I can hit stuff with a bat
- Pharmacist – I know which meds to steal
- I can set up tunnels to extend the growing season for vegetables
- I can train horses
- I have a personal reality distortion field. This could get me killed, but hey.
Wednesday we drove South, to Knoxville, Tennessee, home to some absolutely crucial scenes in ARTICLE 5 and Book 2. We met with my blogger friend Julie (who is THE COOLEST, btw), had a delicious lunch, and walked around Market Square, where Ember and Chase find themselves at the end of Book 1 (it’s where they finally connect with…yeah right, like I’m going to say). Anyway, here’s the fabulous Julie and the fabulous Market Square.
And HERE, is the super cool Union Avenue Books, which is literally a block away from Market Square. OMG it was so cool being there! When (insert character) drags Ember out of the (insert event) in the Square, they literally could have ended up RIGHT HERE.
Anyway, we had a great night with Flossie, the delightful owner of Union Avenue Books, and some very cool A5 fans, including the super fun Jess Estep of Confessions of a Bookaholic, and Marla of Starting the Next Chapter! Thanks for coming!
- A cake baker
- A contra dancer
- A soapmaker (nice, I even learned how to avoid lye contamination!)
- A guard dog trainer
- A folder of fitted-sheets (honestly, who can do this? Not me)
- And a teacher of reproductive and sexual health (enough said)
And then, my friends, we went to Louisville.
See, the Ville is pretty important to me. Not just because I called it home for many years, or because I sometimes still consider it home, but because it IS ARTICLE 5′s home and always will be. A5 was born there, Ember was born there, and the story will forever begin in the place where she met, and fell in love, with Chase Jennings.
Before I rave about how totally awesome the event was, let me just say that we stayed in the coolest place (The Brown) – one of the oldest hotels in the city. It had these great ceilings, which I likely spent too much time staring at and commenting on, and super-sized furniture which made me feel a little like Alice in Wonderland and apparently inspired me to play ballerina.
Did I mention the ceilings were cool?
Anyhow, that night (it’s Thursday now, the 8th of March, btw) we went to Carmichael’s Bookstore (YAYAYAYA!) which is literally within walking distance of my old house. It’s just as quaint and inviting as always, and the event coordinator Jay was an absolute pleasure to work with. Anyway, we packed the house – over 90 people! And we sold out of books, which was great of course.
Many of the attendees I had known from my time living in Louisville, and without getting too mushy, I will say that it absolutely warmed my heart to see their smiling faces in the ranks. There were also many people there that I didn’t know – including the English classes from Sacred Heart High (woot woot!).
So with a group this large, you can imagine the Who’s-Going-To-Survive-The-Apocalypse-And-Join-Team-Simmons Game got a little rowdy. My lovely assistant (The Mr. Simmons) helped me pass out and collect answers (how cute is he, right? As I told everyone each night – the book, the tour, me being me, none of it would exist without his love and support). Anyway, here are some of the answers that made me giggle:
- I can read minds (well, my own)
- I can run long distances, very slowly
- I have the ability to teach abstinence to Angelina and Brad Pitt (how, I’m not sure. This was not explained on the answer card…)
- I am okay with blood and dead things
- I have mad bellydancing skills
- I can fashion any kind of tool from bubble gum
- I think, therefore I am
- I’m super good at 1980′s rock music trivia
- I can carry 8 times my body weight
- I dance, you should see my kicks!
- I’m good at making fire, especially when I try to cook.
- Sense of humor, sense of time, sense of rhythm, sense of rhyme!
Btw, HerLinked did a great review of the event, which you can find here.
SHOUT OUT TIME: Guess who came to the event? My uber talented BFF Katie McGarry, author of PUSHING THE LIMITS, out by Harlequin Teen in 2012. Without going into a total lovefest about how fabulous I think she is, let me just say that her presence that night meant the world to me. The next day we tore it up at our favorite Panera, where, to our great pleasure, we have yet to be forcibly removed.
The next day I went to Moore Traditional High School (YAY MOORE!) and was blown away by the enthusiasm of the Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors that attended. They were seriously SO FUN (and yes, there were a lot of them). They asked tons of great questions, and stumped me more than once. Next week I’m going to talk a little more about our discussion (what rights they would defend should America abolish the Billy of Rights and replace it with the Moral Statutes like in A5). They made some killer points.
The events concluded at one of my favorite places (second to the Homemade Pie Kitchen of course) – JAZZERCISE! Now, you may be saying, “wait…she was serious about that whole Jazzercise thing?” The answer is yes. And once again, if you haven’t tried it, you are TOTALLY MISSING OUT. Anyway, we had a fun class (don’t make fun of my spandex, you know you’re jealous), and then we raffled off books and I did a little signing. FUN.
Do I love that the instructors wore shirts that said “I <3 KK”? (KK is my nickname, btw.) Yes. Yes times one hundred billion. I <3 them back. (My shirt, btw, says “I <3 [fleur-de-lis]” which is the symbol for the city of Louisville.) I’m a lucky girl.
And on that note, I’m out! Thanks for reliving the ARTICLE 5 Book Tour with me! I’m so grateful to Alexis Saarela, my publicist, and to Tor Teen for making this possible. I’m grateful, too, for the booksellers and event coordinators who made me so at home, for the librarians and students I met, and for everyone who came out to say hello. I couldn’t have had a better time.
See you soon!