In May my son and I are off to Idaho for my bi-yearly visit I am totally stoked, as usual. Idaho's my heart's field. This is funny since when I was a teenager, I really desperately wanted to get out of Idaho. Now I can't wait to get home. So every year I spend a few weeks visiting my old haunts in Idaho Falls and going to Jackson Hole and the Tetons and Yellowstone (which are all, coincidentally--right? :) settings for UNEARTHLY), a week or so at my dad's house way up in the desert mountains, fishing and riding around on ATVs and antelope-watching, and a week or so in the Boise area catching up with the oodles of friends I have there. It's wonderfully restful time for me. That and my mom tends to watch my son in the mornings so I can write. Which is good, since the first few chapters of Book 2 are due very soon.
The highlights from this year's Idaho bliss will be going to a reading by Aprilynne Pike in Idaho Falls on May 11. She's a fellow HarperCollins YA writer who has been such a fantastic mentor to me during the publishing process. And I've never met her in person. And now I'm going to! Squee! (Aprilynne's on tour for the sequel (SPELLS) to her bestselling novel (WINGS). I'm determined to get a signed copy of both! Squee!!!
And I am returning to Jackson Hole High School. Last year the principal was super sweet and welcomed me to haunt the halls of his high school for a couple of days. This was such valuable time for me--I had written about 2/3 of the book before I arrived at the school, ironically the entire school section of the book, but even so there was SOOOO much I learned by going there. I took gads of pictures and interviewed the students and teachers on a whole range of subjects, and then I came home and rewrote a bunch of the school sections to make them more specific to JHHS, and I was amazed at how great that turned out--the school really came to life for me.
(me at the top of the tram at Jackson Hole ski area, last May)
So now I'm going back to do the same sort of thing with Book 2. But last year I was this dreamy little writer who flattered them by wanting to write about their school. This year I am a soon-to-be-published author with a major publishing house, and they know that people are going to read what I write, and I know that people are going to read what I write, and it feels very different. I just hope that I can convey my admiration of the school and share part of this amazing experience with them.