I was born and raised in the great state of Texas. I am living proof of the old saying, "You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl." I live in Spokane, but the Lone Star State will always be my home. Is it any wonder my first trip to TLA was incredibly meaningful to me?
My publisher, Chronicle Books covered my hotel expenses, thanks to the recent releast of GIRL MEETS BOY, my first YA fiction anthology. So my first duty was the publisher cocktail party. Who should I see first, but John Green? Now I know who John is, of course. But I didn't know he knew who I was until he said, "Kelly, hey, I didn't know you were going to be here." John Green knew my name, and took this fun picture. Thanks John. I'm a fan, from Booklist forward.
Next, I saw my old friend Bruce Hale at the cocktail party. Bruce and I have been friends since my first or second speaking event at the SCBWI National conference in L.A. but the friendship really clicked when I mediated a panel discussion outside of Detroit, Michigan with Bruce, Bruce Coville, my editor at the time, Tanya Dean, their editor at the time Michael Stearns. THAT was a hoot! Anyway, it was fun to catch up with Bruce, too.
Christa Pryor and Melanie Rivette Mallory are two of my all-time favorite librarians and both work in the Houston, Texas area. I've been the two schools for Christa (a third this fall), and two for Melanie (I hope a third this fall). So running into them was absolutely running into good, good friends.
I was fortunate enough to do the Lone Star Book Panel with my friends David Lubar, Brian Faulkner and Adam Gidwitz. TALES OF THE CRYPTIDS was a Lone Star Book back in the day, so I was included and it was an enormous honor.
Last but not least, I got to talk YA, Doctor Who, and dozens of other fantastic topics with the kids and staff from the Friendswood Public Library. This was huge to me. Why? Because I spent the best part of my childhood living in Friendswood, Texas. It wasn't planned that I'd land with these kids. The universe just gave me a huge present, and I couldn't be more grateful. My first trip to TLA was sensational. I just hope it won't be my last. Going home is always a pleasure.