I had a wonderful time at the First Annual Hudson Children's Book Festival yesterday. It was lovely to see so many author and illustrator friends and to make some nice new ones. Thanks to everyone who came out for the event and bought books and chatted with authors and illustrators and listened to stories and attended panels and participated in activities!
When you run into author friends you haven't seen since the last conference or festival, two questions often come up:
(1) How's the new book doing?
(2) What are you working on now?
It's been just over a month since The Dragon of Trelian came out, and I'm really happy about its reception so far. I still need to add a lot of this information to the book page on my website, but here's a roundup of some of the responses to the book...
First, I am so excited to say that The Dragon of Trelian has been selected for The Summer 2009 Children's Indie Next List!
It has also received nice reviews from some of the print journals. Here are excerpts:
“Appealing characterization” and “charmingly honest portrayals of family life, the dizzying heartbreak of first romance, the insecurities of loneliness and the rewards of scholarship....[T]he narrative moves at a brisk clip to a satisfying conclusion, with a broad hint of sequels. A promising start.” —Kirkus
“Calen and Meg’s easygoing, entirely believable friendship is the core of this adventurous first novel. Meg is gutsy and impulsive, while Calen is thoughtful and steadfast; and they make an appealing duo....[A] solid addition to the fantasy genre.” —Booklist
“[T]his strong debut novel should find a welcoming audience among Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale fans.” —Horn Book
Readers have been saying absolutely lovely things about it on Goodreads and LibraryThing. I can't tell you how good that makes me feel, to know that people are reading and liking my novel!
Several bloggers have also posted reviews, including:
Janet Fox at Through the Wardrobe
Marcus at The Rad Librarian
Greg Leitich Smith at GregLSBlog
Sheila Ruth at Wands and Worlds
Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to write a review and put it up to share with other readers. I'm not usually comfortable responding directly to reviewers; the etiquette rules are fuzzy on this, I think. As far as I know, it is rarely if ever considered appropriate for authors to respond to print reviews, but some authors do seem to feel okay about responding to online reviews. I still feel odd about that, though, so I wanted to say a general and public thank-you here, to all of you. The first few months after publication can be a very weird and scary time for an author—the book is out there, in the world, on its own...people are reading it(!), or maybe they're not(!!).... Hearing back from readers is so important, and of course it's especially wonderful to hear positive things! :) So thank you again, and I hope to hear back from more of you, either via email or blog comments or through the reviews you post in public forums.
(Incidentally, I'd be very interested to hear other opinions on the responding-to-reviews issue. Are the rules changing? Were they never rules in the first place?)
I'm also participating in a blog tour June 1–3 with KidzBookBuzz.com; stay tuned for more links and information about that!
As for that other question, the what-are-you-working-on-now one...the answer is a sequel to The Dragon of Trelian as well as another, completely unrelated YA novel. And more picture books. Always more picture books! :)