What's been brilliant about this tour is the chance to meet up with people I've only known through Twitter or FB or blogs.
This here is me with Ari, the brains behind Readung in Colour, an awesome blog that looks at the issues of ethnicity in YA and children's books. I'd corresponded with her over the last few months so it was incredibly cool to meet her in Chicago.
Now, I've written the first two Billi books (Devil's Kiss and Dark Goddess if you've been paying any attention). I'm DESPERATE to write Billi #3. OMG, I have such plans. We're talking about dark secrets, Assassins, betrayal and the true nature of the Oracles. In a way, the first two books were all part of foreshadowing the final twists for book 3. But there will only be a book 3 if sales improve. As simple as that. My publisher, Hyperion, have been splendid throughout. Hey, they've got me out here and teamed up with Rachel Hawkins to get the books out there. But there are a hell of a lot of books being publsihed in YA right now and sometimes the most splendid books can just get lost in the crowd. It would be a shame for that to happen to Billi before her story is complete.
And this is why I'm so touched that people like Ari, Stacey, Pam, Pat, ReadingTeen and so many others are doing there bit to save Billi SanGreal.
I'm incredibly flattered (and somewhat humbled) they're so enthusiastic in spreading the word to others so Billi may yet rise again.
Time and time again I come across the passion people feel for books and stories that is rare in other media. I've met with librarians who transform small school visits into huge events, booksellers that will give beginning authors the venues and support eqaul to any big name NYT bestseller. I've already mentioned the bloggers but will do so agin. I think a large part of the success of YA is down to support from all these different people. All unpaid and without real acknowledgement that they are crucial to getting our books out there.
I'm approaching the end of this tour and there may yet be a few surprises still to come, but I've enjoyed the last week and a half like nothing before. It's been great to meet a few familiar faces. It's been awesome travelling around the country with Rachel and it's been an education in seeing the enthusiasm everyone has for books and YA especially.