December 16, 2008

home sweet home

greetings from susina bakery, friends.

I'm ensconced in the corner of the bakery, with my back to the window looking in. I've been here for about two hours and every time I look up from this screen, more tables are full. I have my headphones in, you see, with the same playlist on repeat, so unless I choose to look up, I am lost in my own world. I LOVE the playlist I'm listening to, so much that it doesn't matter that I've heard every song on it about a billion times, so much that many of its songs will make some sort of appearance in book 2 -- and these aren't gratuitous inclusions, I swear, since music plays an even bigger role in this book than it did in In Your Room. But I won't say more on that until I'm done.

Want to know something strange? I didn't listen to this mix at all while I was away on book tour. I tried a couple of times, but maybe it was just that my head was in a different space, or that I was physically in a different place, but for some reason, I didn't want to listen to it. I've come to associate these songs, the mood they collectively evoke, with writing. And I guess if I'm not writing, they are better saved for multiple listens when I am, like now.

It feels good to be writing again, to be back, inspired. But, I've also learned that part of getting back into the flow again entails lower expectations for the first few days back. I've lowered my daily word expectation, and am allowing myself to get my head back into the mindset of my characters. And now, after about a day and a half, it's starting to work. I'm back in their heads, reminded of how they're feeling -- and what they face.

I also came back with some ideas for books 3 and 4, and even felt compelled to start writing one of them yesterday. It's a good lesson: sometimes you need to really step away to come back refreshed and inspired.

I had SO much more to say, but my friend just got here for a tea break so will just have to post my thoughts on the latest episode of Gossip Girl later. Hint: it was AMAZING.
x J

December 9, 2008

Old Times Anew

Greetings from snowy Montreal,

I've been a remiss blogger of late, and have some news to report. I went MIA for a bit while writing book 2, but have come up for air while I'm on book tour in my hometown of Montreal.

I got here yesterday and had my first reading of the week at my old high school, Bialik. It was the first time I had been back since I graduated a million years ago, mainly because I left Montreal soon after graduating. It was so much fun visiting the exact same building and seeing some of my favorite teachers who are still there. While there have been some renovations, like a whole new floor added to the top, the school still has the same warm, inviting feeling it had all those years ago, and a lot of that is because of the kind of caring and involved teachers who work there. The only major difference I could detect was that now the students wear uniforms. Oh, how I wish we wore uniforms back in my day. It's a strange thing to have wished for, but there was nothing like the agony of deciding what to wear everyday, and of course, making sure you didn't perform the cardinal sin (or the Jewish equivalent since it is a Jewish day school, after all) of wearing the same thing twice in a week.

I was really impressed with the students, too. They were so enthusiastic and engaged, and they asked great questions.
Here are a few pics from the presentation:

I have a few more readings lined up this week, and tomorrow I'm being interviewed by Dave Bronstetter for his great radio show, All in a Weekend, that airs on CBC Radio 1 (88.5 for those of you in Montreal) on Saturday morning. Stay tuned for the link!

For those of you in the Montreal area, I will be reading at Babar En Ville on Thursday, December 11 at 4pm. (1235A Greene Ave. Call 514-931-0606.) If you're there, come say hello!

I had a lovely meeting at the Jewish Public Library today. I was so impressed with their programming, and the care they put into selecting their books and events. Stay tuned for a future reading there on one of my next visits!

In other news, I had an amazing event at the Archer School for Girls in LA in November, and another fun reading with Jay Asher at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena. For those of you who haven't yet read Jay's book, Thirteen Reasons Why, which is STILL on the NYT bestsellers list, I urge you to do so immediately! He nails both compelling characters and suspense in seemingly effortless fashion.

I would tell you more about the reading, but Jay and fellow YA author Paula Yoo who was there, described it in such great detail that I'm not even going to bother outdoing them, so check out Paula's blog, here and Jay's here. I'm actually reading Paula's debut YA novel, Good Enough, now, and I'm LOVING it. She has such a literary style that is also relatable and funny, and I can't wait to have more time to finish it. But that's what plane rides are for, if I don't finish before then. I will have a full report when I'm done, but I'm far enough into the book to wholeheartedly recommend it.

I'll leave you with a couple of pics from the Vroman's reading...
pre-reading chat with Jay, the master presenter

this is me reading at my very first podium. woo hoo!I'll check back in soon, but before I go, I want to say thank you to all you readers out there who have been sending the most encouraging and flattering emails about the book. I've said this before, but one of the best things about having a book out is hearing from people like you.

More later....