Sunday, October 5, 2008

Stupid Hurricane Ike and Other Inspiring Stories

Wow. I'm pretty sure my week in the Houston area was the most mentally draining few days I've ever had. Lots of driving, lots of traffic, lots of schools, lots of hurricane-caused scheduling changes and an event every single evening.

But it all went great.

Thanks to all the schools in the Humble, Sugar Land, Pasadena, and Pearland areas, as well as the folks at the Barbara Bush Library. And a big thanks to everyone at the different Barnes and Nobles.

I don't really know what to report exactly. So much was packed into the week that it seems like last Sunday was several months ago. Two shout-outs I really want to give are to my good friend Tami Norton and the librarian at Wessendorf Middle School, Donna Anderson. Tami graciously hosted me for a couple days, and I had a good time getting to know her family (and you, too, Sunbum!).

And then there was Donna. This lady immediately treated me like her long-lost nephew, making me feel more welcome at her school than I ever have in my life. She and her husband Bill insisted on taking me out to dinner, and we had lots of fun. If every school had a Donna Anderson, our future would be in excellent shape.

It's amazing the range of emotions I go through while out on tour. It may be hard for you to believe, but it's very grueling and is most definitely not all fun and games. Yes, I know all of you aspiring authors would LOVE to have any problems I may encounter while out and about, but you'll understand when you get there.

The biggest challenge is to make sure each young person gets my full attention at the signings. It's tempting to hurry things up, get through it, sign and get out, go to bed. But I try so hard not to. Each one of them is an individual, and this may be their only chance to meet an author face to face. I try so hard to make it a special experience for them, an inspiring few moments they'll never forget.

All in all, it's a lot of fun. And I can't tell you how rewarding it can be. Google Alerts showed me today the following blog post that gives you a good example of why every minute of hard work is worth it. The airplanes, the hotels, the driving, the traffic, the lack of sleep, the writing, revising, editing, presenting, all of it. It's all worth it when I see blogs like this and read the inevitable emails.

I hope they don't mind my sharing. Check it out: CLICK HERE.

Thanks, Chloe, and others like you, for helping me remember why I love my job so much.

Now, this post is dangerously close to Cheeseville. But for some reason I had a tough time in Houston in terms of the workload and being away from home. And I wanted to share.

This week I'm doing two days of schools in Orem, Utah with my friend and fellow author, Brandon Sanderson. We're doing an experiment to see how it goes when we both do it together. Brandon's second book in the Alcatraz series just came out from Scholastic. (And yes, he's also the dude writing the final book in the Wheel of Time series.)

If you live in the area, we'll be at the Orem Barnes and Noble on Tuesday night, from 5 to 7ish.

Have a great week!


J.N. Future Author said...

Man it sounds like you had fun.

your comment about making everyone feel special. i never thought of that probably meet thousands of people, and giving them your undivided attention should be pretty hard...I never really thought that could be potentially difficult...but as i think about it i guess its true!

Trust me, you are very inspiring when you come to schools and talk to people! you certainly inspired me to work alot harder on my writing skill! and I was SO impressed when you remembered me from MY school! even though it had been a week ago and we had never meet or talked before! (May, 6th, 2008)

Tamra Norton said...

It was so great having you here, James. You're always fun to be around, and my kids loved having a famous author in the house. Thanks again for doing your presentation at the Barbara Bush Library. You, my friend, and extremely talented at what you do, and every kid (and adult) came away excited about reading, writing, and doing their part to "change the world."

Did you ever make it to Space Center Houston? Next time you'll have to come a little farther out that 2 weeks from a hurricane though! :)

BriteCloud said...

How fun of you to link back to my site about my post of Chloe's visit with you! She is in bed sound asleep right now, but you can bet I will be showing her in the morning.

Thanks so much!

P.S. I started reading the book to her and then she took it over. I think I will have to get it back when she is done. It was very engaging.

Dedee said...

What?!?!?! Alcatraz is out? I'm getting mixed info!

Anyway, I'm so coming to Barnes and Noble if I can. I love both of you guys.

As authors.

I'm pretty sure I would love you both as human beings, but I just had to clarify there.

You really need to have another book come out so I can have a good excuse to come. When all of mine are already signed. . .

Q said...

I sent you an email!

Tamra Norton said...


So now that you've offered your take on your Houston trip, here's mine over at The Ink Ladies blog--pictures and all:


Rachelle Christensen said...

I would love to see how one of your school presentations goes. Let us know when you present again in Utah County.