In which acclaimed author Frances Hardinge and her editor Michael Stearns (henceforth our heroes) undertake a breathless, breakneck tour across the continent and back—visiting seven cities, seventeen schools, eight libraries and bookstores, and one enormous (and rather interesting) gathering of national booksellers. A thrilling adventure filled with moments of high danger, humor, and courageous acts.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Day Four (May 12)

Our heroes fly by night and arrive to more rain. A library with pizza and questions. The notion of B-movies and B-books. A gleeful rush for autographs. Many goose drawings. Ubiquitous cookies.

For lunch: Pizza, cookies, and an author and her goose.

Rose at oh-dark-thirty to catch plane from Chicago to Minneapolis, thence to South View Middle School, where the media center has a swanky café with upholstered red leather stools, and where the students are formidably well-read. While the audience dined on hot pizza and cookies, our heroine regaled them with the tales of the sinister English villages where she grew up.

Later, after a short jaunt cross town, our heroes arrived at Carondelet Catholic Academy. Two classes of keen-witted, remarkably book-wise students showered Frances and Michael with questions, cookies, and items to be autographed. Said one girl on approaching Michael for a signature: “You just looked so lonely over here.” Frances drew goose after goose after goose. (Congratulations to teacher Beth Huebsch on receiving her masters degree!)

Frances grandly sweeps off her hat. In the process, her arm is transformed into something mysterious and vaguely scary.

A shadowy goose-wielding figure looms over the innocents of Carondelet Catholic Academy. And do they show fear? They do not.

The day wrapped up with an impromptu stop in at the fabulous children's bookstore Wild Rumpus, where Frances signed stock, met booksellers, and was told by an absent buyer that "you rock my socks." A fitting note on which to call it a night.

Day’s Most Unusual Questions:
“Is your novel based on Fahrenheit 451?”
(Answer: No, though they do have some parallels.)
“There are B-movies. But are there B-books?”
(Answer: Of course. In fact, there are even D-books. But B-books, like B-movies, are often a great deal of fun.)
“When you were our age, what grades did you get?”
(Answer: Most of her grades were actually quite good, save for Needlework and Sport. “Sewing machines are like rottweilers—they can smell fear.”)


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