I had a great time at I.R.A. this past week - I spent an hour signing books at the Random House booth with James Kennedy and Daniel Kraus, followed by dinner with my editor.
Over the course of the day, my wife and I got to meet Jerry Spinelli (pic). When people ask me what made me want to write for young people, I don't usually have a very good response. I enjoy it, and I think there's a certain subversive thrill in writing books aimed at "readers 10+" that suggest readers look up "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg, but, really, that's just something I learned along the way. I decided that YA was the field to be in after I read SPACE STATION SEVENTH GRADE and thought it was much better than all of the adult books I was reading. I also got to chat with the awesome Kate Messner (with whom I share a fantastic agent) and my fellow Dickens fan Hilary Wagner.
My next couple of appearances are in Schaumburg and Bolingbrook (a pair of Chicago suburbs) next month. Check the sidebar!
If you follow my twitter or, especially the facebook page, you know I've been making jokes about writing a "Satanic YA" to compete with all the Christian YA in the market. Well, the first five chapters have now been turned in to my agent! I don't know that there's much of a market for it (it's rather edgy, which makes booksellers leery, and "boy" YA books in general tend to need things like awards or celebrity endorsements to make much of a splash), but I'm determined to write the thing anyway. I'm having a TON of fun with this one!