Monday, I traveled to Athens, Georgia, for two school visits and a bookstore signing. I got into town early enough to explore downtown Athens, where I had an Orange Crush at Hendershot's (because, you know), and worked on the revisions for book two. Then on the advice of numerous Athenians, including Avid Bookstore's event coordinator Rachel Watkins, I had the Golden Bowl at The Grit.
The next day, I was picked up at my hotel by Avid bookseller Will Walton, and it was off to the Clarke Middle School. It was a fantastic time in their media center, thank you Shawn Hinger and all of the great kids. What a great time! The kids were really engaged, asked great questions. One told me I was his favorite author and two girls blurted out "I cannot wait to read this book" before I was five minutes into my presentation. We signed Frostborn afterwards, during which one boy told me he was designing his own game inspired by mine (but not the same game), and added "I have about a page of rules. I'll sell them to you for five dollars." That kid is going
Then Will and I went for lunch at Agua Linda - the "authentic Mexican tacos" were a great choice - and then we headed out to our next stop.
Double Helix STEAM Academy (don't you just want to say "steampunk academy"?) is a small private school with some very smart students. In fact, I think it's the first school I have visited that were able to correctly tell me what a fjord was and how it was formed. I did the Frostborn presentation, and we had about thirty minutes left. The teacher asked me if I could help her students with structuring stories in their own writing, so I pulled out my ScripTips presentation and rapid-fire took them through the first half.
Afterwards, we signed more books, and I was humbled/flattered/overjoyed to see a student-made Thrones and Bones set, and the same student presented me with a painting of the two-headed troll from my novel.
Avid Bookshop, where I met a very clever (and ardent) fan who wanted to play a session of Thrones and Bones with me. We played best two out of three, and while I won, it was quite a challenging game. The third and final round went on the longest, and some of the rarer options came into play. It was a tremendously fulfilling experience to play the game with this kid.
I wrapped up by talking with Will and Avid's Frankie (who also has a novel forthcoming, this a dystopian YA from - I think - Bloomsbury!). I gave them a quick rundown of my screenwriting/plotting theories before hitting the road.
Thank you Athens, Avid, Clarke Middle School, and Double Helix. This was a tremendous, tremendous time.
Next stop, the Tween Reads Festival in Houston.