NCTE Nashville Report

Reporting live from the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center at NCTE in Nashville.

Greg Leitich Smith and I left Friday from the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, where the cultural display was “Greatest Story Never Told” on the Texas School for the Deaf‘s Sesquicentennial.

We had a smooth direct flight on Southwest Airlines while I read The Astonishing Adventures of Fan Boy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and Greg read Notes From The Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick (Scholastic, 2006)(author interview).

The Gaylord Opryland itself is essentially three interconnected hotels in one, plus numerous shops, restaurants, a faux river and boat rides, theatrical venues, 24-hour piped-in carols, and convention center with a glass dome–seriously–over the whole thing.

Our Day One headline event was the Boyds Mills/Front Street dinner at the Hermitage in honor of Austin-Nashville author Helen Hemhill (author interview) and her new book Runaround (Front Street, March 2007). I had the pleasure of sitting with Book Page editor Lynn Green.

The event actually was held in a cabin on the grounds rather than the main house, which is a museum. Dinner featured corn pudding and the best fried chicken I’ve had in decades.

Celebrity sightings included Jane Yolen (author interview), Sara Holbrook, Carolyn Coman, Stephen Roxburgh, and Patty Campbell.

The next morning, we spoke on a panel with Uma Krishnaswami (author interview) on “Three Authors’ Journeys Across Borders: Opening Doors for Young Writers To Tell Their Own Stories,” which was sponsored by Children’s Literature.

Highlights included Uma’s passion for themes she hopes to impart to young readers and Greg’s observation that, though he’s Japanese-German American, if he were to go to Japan or Germany, he’d never be seen as anything but an American.

Brisk signings followed at the HarperCollins and Candlewick booths. Thanks to everyone who stopped by!

That evening I continued on to the Candlewick Press YA Author dinner along with our newly minted NBA winner M.T. Anderson (author interview), Cecil Castellucci (author interview), Don Gallo, Paul Janeczko, and Deborah Noyes (author-editor interview).

It was held at Merchants Restaurant in the Pharmacy Room. I enjoyed the salmon and wild rice. Cecil was the other author at my table, and guests left with gift bags filled with books and ARCs of the featured authors (wrapping tissue: gold and light blue). Topics included graphic novels and the band Gael Force, which I can’t wait to check out.

Speaking of which, don’t-miss reads include: Beige by Cecil Castellucci (2007); The Restless Dead: Ten Original Stories of the Supernatural edited by Deborah Noyes (2007); Worlds Afire by Paul Janeczko (2006); What Are You Afraid Of? Stories About Phobias edited by Donald R. Gallo (2006); The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation by M.T. Anderson (2006); and Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith (2007). By the way, thanks to all the Tantalize ARC readers who found me on the floor with hugs and cheers–most appreciated!

After dinner, we stopped by the Delta Lounge to visit with John Green, Cecil Castellucci, David Levithan, Lauren Myracle, M.T. Anderson, Jordan Sonnenblick, and E. Lockhart, among others. Great company, but it had been a long day, so we left before the dancing started.

Today was quieter–sort of an intermission before ALAN. Greg and I had a lovely lunch (Thai shrimp salad and California roll) at the Cascades Restaurant with Elisa Carbone (author interview).

This afternoon, I’m reading Cecil‘s Beige and Greg is reading True Talents by David Lubar (Tor, 2007).

Tonight is the ALAN party!

Cynsational Notes

Additional celebrity sightings on the convention floor included: Pat Mora, Sara Zarr (author interview), Michael Cart, Judy O’Malley, and Kimberly Willis Holt (author interview).

See lots of authors signing, including me on the floor after my official Harper signing (for those teachers who’d just missed the cut-off time) from Reading, Writing, etc.

See also my ALAN report.

Thanks to my sponsoring publishers–Candlewick and HarperCollins!