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When I was presenting to a group recently, someone asked me about the hard parts of being published and going on tour. There are hard parts now and then (leaving the kids, no sleep, crazy schedules, deadlines, etc.) but there are also so many good parts. Obviously, the best part is getting to meet the readers, who care about the books and the characters. I can’t tell you how much that means to me.

Tour and travel often mean a lot of sort of generic moments–hotel rooms, car rides, airplane rides–but also those moments you’ll remember forever. I was thinking of a few of my favorites from trips over the years and found some pictures to go with them:

It was in this beautiful square (Romer Square, and I am sorry I cannot figure out how to get the umlauts over the “o”) in Frankfurt, Germany, that I received word that I had my first ever starred review, from Publisher’s Weekly, for MATCHED. I was with my agent and the two of us had just walked down the tree-lined streets and into this square on a perfect fall day and I thought, “I can’t believe any of this is happening to me.”

On a pre-publicity tour in Boston in the fall of 2010, I had the morning free and went out to walk on Boston Commons. I wandered around and saw the Make Way for Ducklings statue and all the beautiful old houses. I’ve been to Boston before, but there is something about exploring a city when you are completely by yourself that is memorable.

This year in Miami, I got to go to Books and Books. I love all the independent bookstores on my travels. Anne Holman of The King’s English (my local indie) has always said, “Have you been to Books and Books yet?” And now I have. This was the lovely Becky, who is the children’s book buyer there and who hosted a great event.

Don’t you just want to stand and stare at those gorgeous shelves forever (again, Books and Books).

This is a picture I have at a school in Illinois, but all the school visits are true highlights for me. That moment of walking into a school, seeing the students–it makes me miss the classroom and, at the same time, I’m so happy to be back in some small way.

This is a picture of me with my cousin, Andrea, following an event in Bethesda, MD. Andrea came to the event and then, because the schedule was crazy, rode to the airport with me and ate terrible food while we waited for my flight just so we could have a little time together. What a great cousin. Moments like this–when friends and family come and support–are awesome. There is something about looking out and seeing a familiar face that just makes my heart glad. Another moment this picture reminds me of–after the event, someone asked if I was Andrea’s mother. (Andrea is seven years younger than I am.) Also awesome. It’s nice to know I’m aging well.

I know I’m lucky to have a chance to do this. For my first five books, I never went on tour or had a launch party or anything like that. And I still loved the writing, of course. But to be able to keep writing and to also have the opportunity to see new places and meet readers and talk with other people who love books–it’s something I don’t take for granted. So, as always, many thanks to all of you for making it possible.

+ comments (5)
  • Tearese
    March 19, 2013

    It’s great to see all the things you’ve been able to do, Ally. I’m truly happy for your success!

  • Ashley R.
    March 20, 2013

    I think the travel would be one of the funnest parts of being an author.

  • Gabrielle
    March 22, 2013

    All of that sounds like so much fun, especially the traveling part! I’m glad to hear that you’ve experienced those great moments. I am so excited for your next book! 😀

  • Allison
    March 25, 2013

    So cool!! You are such an inspiration, Ally, to young aspiring writers like me!! 🙂 I got a signed copy of Reached for Christmas and LOVED it!! Keep writing!!

  • Annie
    April 2, 2013

    Congratulations on all of your accomplishments this far! I am looking forward to what you have in store for the future, and know that whatever it is will surely be a success! Also, your Bethesda, MD trip was one of my personal favorite memories from 2012.. it was my first interview of a favorite author! 🙂 Have a happy Spring!

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