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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Decatur Book Festival, Oh, How I Loved You: How I met Meg Cabot, Jane O'Connor, Judy Schachner, and more!

Boy, did I have a great Labor Day weekend! I was lucky enough to attend and participate in the Decatur Book Festival, where I spotted and interacted with readers and authors galore.

My panel with Meg Cabot (whose books I adore), entitled "Happily Ever After" was on Sunday afternoon and since I arrived in the early afternoon on Saturday, I got to spend some time soaking up sessions and atmosphere~ readers and writers and families and just a whole lot of fun, with the added bonus of funnel cake and barbecue smells wafting around the festival grounds. Here are some highlights:

I went to a panel with Ingrid Law (Savvy, Scumble, and the brand-new Switch), Jacqueline Kelly (the Calpurnia Tate books), and Jeanne Birdsall (The Penderwicks series). Here's a photo of Jacqueline Kelly (and that's Jeanne Birdsall beside her)!

Jacqueline Kelly! And Jeanne Birdsall!


I got to talk with Ingrid Law over ice cream!

Me and Ingrid Law!

Jane O'Connor, author of the Fancy Nancy books, was reading a paper in the hotel lobby and she was SO gracious when I interrupted her to say, "I LOVE YOU. I mean, your books! WE love your books! My entire house! I mean, me and my kids!" Folks, I teared up, I was so excited. My oldest daughter loves her books (of course I whipped out photos of my kiddos). We chatted for a bit, and then she let me take a selfie with her (with her fancy feather boa!)!

Jane O'Connor and me
 
I spotted Judy Schachner, author of the Skippyjon Jones books, in the gorgeous book store Little Shop of Stories (if you ever go to Decatur, you MUST visit it) and said hello, then bought her most recent picture book, Dewey Bob.
 
Judy Schachner! And me :)

And I also got to chat with Anica Mrose Rissi (author of the Anna Banana chapter books), the super sweet and kind Beasley sisters (Cassie is the author of the middle grade book CIRCUS MIRANDUS and Kate has a middle grade coming out next year called GERTIE'S LEAP TO GREATNESS that sounds fantastic), and I got to meet Laurel Snyder (whose picture books SWAN just came out). My parents drove down from Nashville, and we got to see a Pat Conroy session as well.

And then, the panel. Ladies and gents, it was a blast. Our moderator, Elizabeth Lenhard, was so wonderful (she's the author of lots of books, including the knitting-and-friendship-themed Chicks with Sticks series and her latest, Flirt: Our Song), the audience members asked great questions and we talked about everything from our books (I was there promoting Nooks & Crannies and Meg was promoting the delightful From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess) to our writing processes.

L-R: Moderator Elizabeth Lenhard, Meg Cabot, and me
 
 

 


The signing table
 
Looking around at all the young, eager readers throughout the weekend, I felt like I was going back in time. I would have loved to attend a book festival like DBF when I was young, and I can't say enough about how well-organized it was.

Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend!





32 comments:

  1. It sounds like a fantastic weekend, Jess! I would have loved to meet all these authors and you.

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    1. Wish you could have been there~ it was amazing!

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  2. I would love to attend a book conference like that. I'd love to attend a book conference period, but well, life, right? Sounds like it was a wonderful time.

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    1. I'd never been to one before~ it was really cool and I highly recommend it :)

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  3. Yay!!! Pictures!! =) So awesome that you got to meet so many amazing authors. And wow, that bookstore does look gorgeous, love the stuff hanging from the ceiling. So glad you had a fantastic time!!

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    1. Thanks, Leandra! I was so giddy, and it was so surreal, walking around and seeing authors I've only seen online before.

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  4. I'm excited with you! What a fantastic experience, and I'm going to generate a book list based on this blog post to take with me to library next week! Thanks for sharing and gushing with us. :)

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    1. Thanks, Julia~ it really was so cool to see all of those authors!

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  5. A weekend to remember--wow, what a wonderful opportunity. And meeting and hanging out with all those talented authors--priceless. Looks like you soaked up some good times. Not only that, but you've given us a heads-up on some great titles to put on our to-read lists. Thanks, Jess, and congratulations on all you've done...

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    1. Thanks, Kenda~ meeting authors in person is so cool! I got so nervous, but everyone was absolutely kindhearted and wonderful :)

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  6. Oh, what fun! I'm so glad you had a good time there, Jess!!

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    1. Thanks, Tara! It was such a neat experience :)

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  7. So much fun! And great pictures. Jeanne Birdsall is one of my writing heroes!
    By the way, I just read Nooks & Crannies, and it is so good! I can't wait to share it with all the young mystery-lovers in my life.

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    1. So glad you liked Nooks & Crannies! Jeanne Birdsall is one amazingly cool lady :)

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  8. Your enthusiasm for the festival shines through! Glad you had a great time. I've met Judy Schachner several times and she's a real sweetheart. So happy you got to meet her. And I'm so jealous you got to meet all those other wonderful authors. I'm reading Ingrid Law's SWITCH right now!

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    1. I loved SWITCH! So cool that you've met Judy Schachner~ she was so nice :)

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  10. What a wonderful weekend you had and glad you saw so many other authors. Mom and dad was icing on the cake.


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    1. Wish you and Uncle Jon could have made it!

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  11. If you can meet authors you admire, that makes the experience so much more worthwhile. You're not going to say a year from now, "I wish I could have gone to one more workshop."
    You're going to remember the people you met.

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  12. This is SO cool - I wish I could have been there! We are reading The Penderwicks in Spring right now! And you got to be on that stage - you're living the dream, girl! Love it.

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    1. Thanks, Amy! I'm glad I had all the sessions and amazing authors there to gawk at~ that distracted me from getting too nervous about my own session :)

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  14. The places I saw here are really wonderful, celebrating a special event like this with the beauty of nature is really cool. When you are in these venues in NYC, there's nothing you can do than to be happy. I really liked it here.

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