Thanks to Suzanna Hermans and Jennifer Laughran, bookseller and agent extraordinaire, OBLONG BOOKS in Rhinebeck, New York has become a veritable children's book mecca.
Friday night, my critmate Dhonielle Clayton (of Teen Writer's Bloc) and I went on a road trip to see Libba Bray, and two other panelists, Michael Northrop, & E. Archer at Oblong for the Hudson Valley YA Society's: Survivor Edition. It was an entertaining evening, with Libba talking about her awesome new book BEAUTY QUEENS, mad libs style. A peak moment for me was when I managed to get a moment to talk to Libba, who is one the of the most hysterically funny and down to earth people I have ever met. I told Libba how one of my students is a huge fan of hers. She asked if I had the student's phone number and it just so happened I did. Libba called and left an adorable message!!! What a lady!!! And, I should also mention, BEAUTY QUEENS, is an ambitious, incredibly original and hilarious, can't put down read. Libba, you are just the BEST.
But, also, another excellent perk of visiting the hamlet of Rhinebeck is getting to hang out with Jennifer, the Gertrude Stein of childrens' lit. Jennifer is full of information and advice which she dispenses freely and generously for no particular reason other than that she just plain old knows everything and wants to share. Thanks, Jenn!
Another really great part about my mini road trip? Talking non-stop with Baby Cuda (her title as youngest member in my six year old online critique group), Dhonielle-who, poor dear, never seems to tire of my interminable babbling. If some day someone should ask how I plotted my current WIP and the book that my incredibly tenacious agent Victoria Marini has out on submission (BREAKING GLASS) I'm going to have to admit that my super secret technique is the Dhonielle and Lisa road trip. Yep--we have worked out plotting kinks for four of our books and came up with some new book ideas to boot. I highly recommend taking a road trip with a simpatico fellow writer. We had SO much fun (plotting our books is like crack for us--and of course, as usual, we missed our exit), and got so much done. And did I mention we stayed at the world's creepiest motel?
What a great little trip. If you are anywhere close to New York City and can take a drive up to Rhinebeck, NY--you've got to visit Oblong Books. Say hi to the wonderful Suzanna Hermans and Jennifer while you are there. But if you do run into Jennifer---bring plenty of cash, because you will not leave without a book. It's pretty hard to say no to one of the top agents in the biz when she's trying to sell you something. Pity those poor editors. :)