Thursday, February 10, 2011

The perks of being a bookseller

Ah, yes.  Sometimes booksellers get to do things other people envy.  Like receive ARCs of children's books.  And meet authors!

Gennifer Choldenko

You may remember that I raved about No Passengers Beyond This Point by Gennifer Choldenko in this post from December 2010.  The book is now on sale (as of Tuesday), and last night I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful dinner in Gennifer's honor in the private dining room of a restaurant in Bryn Mawr, PA, courtesy of Penguin Sales Rep extraordinaire, Dawn Zahorik.  (Thanks, Dawn! You rock!)

Gennifer made a point of going around talking to everyone in the room (there were 12 of us besides Dawn and Gennifer).  She was fascinating and friendly and funny.  I really enjoyed meeting her.  Can you tell?

I asked her about the origin of this fantasy, which is so different from her other books, and she said she'd had the idea for years, but never pursued it.  She was busy writing Al Capone Does My Shirts and Al Capone Shines My Shoes, among other novels.  But she confided that the very first novel she ever wrote (never published) was a fantasy! She also said that once she started writing this one, the words just poured out of her. 

What about revisions?  Gennifer said that unlike the Al Capone books, where the revision notes from her editor got shorter and shorter with each succeeding draft, for this one the revision notes got longer and longer!

When we'd finished eating, I asked Gennifer to sign my copy of the book and this is what she wrote:

What children's lit author would you most like to meet if you could?


  1. I'd like to meet Shel Silverstein. But since he's no longer among the living, I'll have to wait awhile to do that.

  2. Oh, that's funny, Kim! I'd like to meet E.B. White.

    Actually, I DID meet Shel Silverstein, back in the late 70s (I'm showing my age here), when I worked as an editorial assistant at what was then called Harper & Row. He asked me to make a phone call for him. He looked exactly like he did in those book cover photos. A little scary. But he was actually a nice guy.

  3. Dinner with Gennifer, I'm sure that was great. Very jealous.

    I would love love love to meet Shannon Hale (I hear she's hilarious), (the obligatory but still desirable) JK Rowling, and Roald Dahl (if he was living).

  4. JOHN GREEN!!! Le sigh. A close second would be JK. Oh, and Libba Bray!

  5. I'd like to meet Louise Rennison.

    I enjoyed Gennifer's AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS.

  6. Hi Brooke! Those are great author choices! Yeah, wouldn't it have been great to meet Roald Dahl?

    And Jade, I'm with you on John Green! I finally got around to reading one of his books (ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES) and now I'm in love with his mind! You never know. You're more likely to meet him or Libba Bray someday than JK Rowling.

    Hi Medeia! Cool idea. Bet Louise Rennison is as funny as her books.

    Thanks, all, for the great comments. As for living authors, I'd like to meet Neil Gaiman.


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