Wednesday, April 11, 2007

So they tell me I need a secret identity. . .

My first ever school visit to talk to kids about my book is this friday. Friday the 13th, mwah-ha-ha. . . And, well, that's appropriate enough because I'm terrified of kids and know hardly any. Ha ha. I'd like to say now that I'm joking but I'm only kind of joking. Kids are awesome, I know that. But I really do only know, like, one kid, my niece in California. So. I'm anxious. But also super-excited. So, I was in my knitting class last Saturday and I asked this cute eleven-year-old girl named Aya (and no, I'm not taking a kid's knitting class; Aya is just very advanced), what kind of things kids want to know from authors, and she replied, very seriously and solemnly, that they mostly wanted to know about authors' secret identities.

Our secret identities.

I immediately thought that this was something my publisher had forgotten to tell me about. You know: make a postcard of your book to give to people, have a 15-second "elevator talk", have a website, and . . . make sure you have a secret identity, because kids will want to know about it. Ha ha! I LOVE this. I do. But I don't have a secret identity. I'm not quite sure what Aya meant by this but I know she was quite serious. So that's what I'll be working on. I'm pretty sure it will involve dagger-throwing. And, you know, a past that included diving off a sailboat with a knife clenched in my teeth. It may come out that I speak twelve languages with no discernable trace of an accent and that. . . I can control panthers with my mind.

(Saying "panthers" there just reminded me of a funny thing -- I guy in the English dept with me at Berkeley used to challenge himself to somehow work the word "panther" into every single essay he wrote in his entire college career. Isn't that weird?)

So, I'm really looking forward to meeting some actual kids on friday! And then, very soon, I will be talking to teenagers. Yes, teenagers. I'm going to just think about the cool teenage bloggers I have encountered, and think about how very un-intimidating I myself was as a teenager, and thus stave off the terror. I really am very, very excited. That's happening in Topeka, Kansas on May 1st, which from what I can tell so far looks to have an absolutely fabulous library system with really cool librarians putting together innovative programs (and even online sim worlds!); and then I also just got invited to speak at a library conference in Tacoma, Washington in mid-May, which happens to perfectly coincide with a group bookstore talk I'm taking part in in Seattle. So, all of a sudden, I feel like. . . an AUTHOR. And it's awesome!! And the book isn't even out until June!!

Meanwhile, back to work on Silksinger. And at night, when my brain shuts off, there's the knitting. I'm digging it. Here's a glimpse of my first scarf (though the picture doesn't do justice to the colors):

This gorgeous, luscious stuff is up next:

It comes from a non-profit called Manos del Uruguay and is hand-spun and hand-dyed in, yeah, Uruguay, and just holding it I can't help but think about the faraway sheep, and the faraway women stirring vats of dye. There's just something so cool about that. And isn't it bee-oo-tee-ful?

P.S. Poor Alexandra has come down with shingles!!! And she is not feeling at all well, so if you want to send her some cheer, go here.


Amber Lough said...

A secret identity! That's fabulous! They can include that in the back of the jacket... "Laini lives in Portland, and her Secret Identity involves throwing knives at pesky flies. She has a 10:1 accuracy rate."

So where are you going on tour, Ms. Author? Anywhere in SoCal?

My knitting looks very elementary compared to your scarf. I've got eleven rows, just.

Anonymous said...

I have no doubt that if anyone could come up with a juicy secret identity, it would be YOU. ;) Kids are the best. You're gonna have a blast, I'm sure of it. (I just spent a week on the road with my 9-year-old niece...and she was the best company of all.) :)

xegbp said...

Oh yes, you need a secret identity. I love the way kids think.Both yarns are so bright and beautiful and I agree big yarn and big needles!

Poor Alex, that is awful!

Kim G. said...

Here's what my kids said they'd want to know if they could ask you a question:
What was the hardest part about writing your book? (my 9-year old son)
How do you come up with the names of your characters and locations in your book? (My 12-year old daughter)

(And I haven't forgotten about getting you some contacts in the schools here. I think I'll draft an email to all my teacher friends with the link to the pages of Blackbringer and your blog and see if we can still get you in some schools before the end of the year.)

The knitting looks great! And poor Alexandra - it's a weird coincidence because we've had the chicken pox in our house for the past two weeks. Hopefully she'll be feeling better soon!

Colorsonmymind said...

The yarn is so yummy. The colors are fantastic.

I love the pic you chose for the post. How interesting that she said you should talk about your secret identity.

I am certain you will think of something wonderful.

Good luck Friday. I am a high school biology teacher. Teenagers are wonderful.

Left-handed Trees... said...

You won't be afraid at all once you get in there...GOOD luck to you. I volunteer to teach poetry to fourth graders in Petunia's school (I actually make them do something, and they still love'll just be going in there, a celebrity--trust me, even if you don't think you are...they will--sharing the magic of your words.

That yarn is incredibly yummy, as Thea said, by the way...let us know what secret identity you came up with! ;)

blessedmatch said...

Yes, Alexandra deserves some sympathy, but before everyone starts feeling too bad, they should know that when she got chicken pox as a kid, she missed two weeks of school. When she gave it to me, I missed two weeks of winter vacation. I think she did it on purpose.

Amber said...

Oh my, this whole post made me laugh! Secret identity...Hmmm...Maybe she thinks you all use fake names? Like your real name would not be on the book? Hmmm...Funny.

I love the scarf you are making. Very beautiful.

I DO send love to Alexandra. poor girl. ;(


Writer Bug said...

congrats on all your great news! You must post some time on how you've gotten invited to do all this speaking. What a great opportunity to market your book. And I love the scarf! Is the wool soft?

PS-- Maybe the girl meant what it is writer's do when they're not writing, or who they really are??

Anonymous said...

Manos del Uruguay yarn rocks. I love it. And the fact that it's helping women in Uruguay just makes it all the better, doesn't it? I love the color you've chosen. So is knitting going to be part of your secret identity? I think it should.

paris parfait said...

If anyone can come up with a secret identity in a hurry, it's you! And by the time you read this, no doubt you will already have enthralled all those children with tales of your secret life and many cool disguises.

Marcia (MeeAugraphie) said...

A secret identity, shouldn't be hard for a writer - as long as the kids don't demand proof.