July 1st means only one thing – Canada Day! I come from Ottawa, where Canada Day is celebrated in a BIG way, with everyone wearing red and white… if you don’t believe me, check out my photo from last year when I spent Canada Day in my hometown!
It does feel fitting to write this post today, though, considering it’s going to be all about my recent trip! And what an epic trip it was…
First of all, I was able to go back to my old high school, Immaculata, to talk to the grade 7 & 8 students about The Oathbreaker’s Shadow. It was a beautiful summer day, the last week of school, the day before the trip to the local waterpark… but somehow, the students managed to be the perfect audience: attentive and interested, with loads of great questions at the end. It was also a blast to chat to some of my old teachers again, and to wander the halls where I spent many hours… my nose in a book, most likely.
Also while I was in Ottawa, I did a grand tour of several Ottawa bookstores, meeting booksellers and customers, which was so much fun! Cheers to Eduardo, a teen at Chapters Pinecrest who actually fistpumped when he got a signed copy – that made my day times a million. I ended the week with an event at the wonderful Kaleidoscope Books in Ottawa. It was lovely to chat to the booksellers there, and to sign a few books for some really special fans.
Then it was onwards to Hamilton, where I spent a couple of days with my beautiful and talented friend MF Miller, who is mum to the most gorgeous baby. I showered him with board books (Chu’s Day and The Tiger Who Came To Tea) and I marvelled at how much he had grown! They grow so quickly!
My time in Toronto was beyond wonderful. I met up with fellow Lucky 13s Amanda Sun (INK) and Eve Silver (RUSH) (HOW did I not get a picture of that?!) for lunch, where we talked non-stop about publishing, books, gaming, Japan, and all number of things… we then went around to ambush Indigo Eaton Centre and the World’s Biggest Book Store, so they ended up with loads of our signed books!
Have I mentioned how amazing the Chapters support has been? Stacks of books, all nice and prominent on the tables. It’s super encouraging, and I definitely love Canadian booksellers!
That day, Amanda and I also popped up to see Wattpad, who have to work in one of the most creative offices I’ve ever seen. They have a huge open plan layout, with offices decorated by genre, and a table tennis table instead of a boardroom table! It was nice to see all the praise and love that Wattpad has received scrawled over the walls, and to meet the team behind the vibrant website. If you haven’t added me on Wattpad yet, please do so!
Toronto was a whirlwind – interviews, stock signings, bookseller lunches, book launches coffees – oh yeah, and a bit of shopping! I attended the Chizine fall book launch, where I met the lovely Peter Halasz, Sandra Kasturi, Madeline Ashby and many more. I hit up my old haunt (now in a new location) Bakka Phoenix, where it was surreal to see my book on the shelf. It was great to meet up again with Chandra from Indigo over delicious Soma hot chocolate, to discuss writing, Twitter, and the wonder of Neil Gaiman. She gave me this AMAZING ‘Hey Girl‘ notebook… how could you not be inspired by this?!
Random House CA also set up a blogger meet-up, which I hosted alongside the awesome Teresa Toten. I read her book about a group of OCD teens The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B with a completely open mind – it’s not my normal kind of read, I’m more of an action-adventure fantasy/dystopian girl! But I absolutely fell head over heels for Adam, the ‘unlikely’ hero, and his growing relationship with fellow-OCD sufferer Robyn. By the last page, I had tears in my eyes – not because it was sad, but because I had grown so tied to the characters that it was emotional to let them go. Such is the power of a great read.
That was an awesome event – I really really love meeting readers, and bloggers are the most voracious kind! A put some names to blogs by meeting many of the bloggers who helped host my Canadian blog tour, and one of them (the lovely Christa!) gave me this amazing Oathbreaker-themed bookmark. Now *that* is awesome.
My final day included a power lunch with one of my literary heros – Guy Gavriel Kay (I also have the privilege of working on his books in the UK – his latest, River of Stars, coming out in mid-July in the UK). In the Museum Tavern (you should go for the excellent drinks and beautiful copper ceiling), we talked the state of publishing, the state of bookselling, and the state of the drinks (superb). It was an inspiring meal, and cut far too short by my dashing off to my final event in Guelph!
It was a good thing we left when we did – the 1 hour journey turned into a 3-hour trek by thundering rain and long weekend traffic. Thankfully we arrived at The Bookshelf just in time… if you have the chance to visit Guelph, make sure you check out The Bookshelf! Not just a bookstore, it’s a coffee shop, cinema and bar – a true cultural hub for the city. The event was short and sweet, and there should be video of it up soon! Big thanks to my high school friend Jacob and his partner Marcus for making the trip, and to Derek Silver – a fellow Toronto author, who came out to support.
Then just like that, it was over! It was a great trip, and I couldn’t have asked for a better reception for the book in its home country. Go Canada!