So ladies and gentlemen, finally the curtain is drawn back and you see a typical day in the life of the Smart Chicks!
… Well, that was the intention.
After our lovely event in Houston (and to the lady who gave me chocolates, thank you!) Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong and I had a flight at six a.m. to Jackson, Mississippi. Six a.m. is not a time that I am at my most coherent, but Kelley intelligently directed me to my new friend, a cinnamon sugar donut.
After communing with my new, delicious friend, I was able to form intelligible sentences. (It hadn’t been going so well before that.)
SARAH: I’m so excited to be going to the proper deep South!
MELISSA: Why so, mumbly cinnamon Sarah?
SARAH: Because I love the South.
KELLEY: But you have never been.
SARAH: But I love Gone with the Wind, and True Blood. So I know what to expect.
MELISSA: So you expect… hoop skirts covered in blood?
SARAH: Yay, Jackson! Can’t wait.
Melissa and Kelley looked sad for me. Sometimes that happens.
Then we arrived in Jackson, and went for brunch. I poured maple syrup on my bacon and used this brain food to come up with an Incredible Idea.
SARAH: You two should co-write a book.
KELLEY & MELISSA; Weeeeell….
SARAH: You could write a romance! Kelley should write the boy’s point of view and Melissa should write the girl’s.
MELISSA: Hey, I can write boy point of view.
I have every faith that she could, but the important thing is that it would be awesome. Support my random crazy ideas: keep asking Melissa and Kelley when they will write their book! I call it the Kellissa book, and speculate that it should involve a sensitive werewolf boy and a biker bar.
Then Holly Black and Cassandra Clare arrived, as is their way, with a troubled tale of automobile accidents and plane chases. We went for a little swim to calm their nerves.
I had not brought my bathing suit. ‘Oh, that is no problem,’ I said airily. ‘I shall simply don some plain black undergarments, and nobody will know the difference!’
Readers, people knew the difference. We were swimming about, and occasionally people dropped by to make slightly puzzling remarks. We thought nothing of it, except that people in the South were friendly.
SOME LADY, EVENTUALLY: I thought you should know that people are staring at you through that big stained glass window. I would not want everybody staring at me if I was in my underthings. Which clearly, young lady, YOU ARE. And EVERYBODY IS.
SARAH: … oh dear.
SECURITY GUARD: So hey, there’s a whole crowd of people watching you at the window. Some are complaining! But I say you can swim around here anytime you like.
SARAH: Yeah… Imma get out of the pool now. Oh my gosh, you guys, have I shamed the Smart Chicks?
HOLLY AND CASSIE: *almost drown laughing*
SARAH: You two are no help.
‘My God!’ you may be saying at this point. ‘What kind of children’s author tour is this? All undergarments all the time, and what about the bookshop event?’
After we told Kelley and Melissa about how I had Shamed the Smart Chicks Forever, we figured it was about time we went to the bookshop.
MELISSA: You have atone for your shame by taking the seat in the back.
SARAH: Are you saying this is the ho chair?
SARAH: Don’t start the car yet, I haven’t done up my ho seatbelt.
We arrived at our event venue, greeted by the lovely Emily of Lemuria Books, who was in charge of us, and by our fellow Smart Chicks authors Alyson Noel and Jessica Verday. Immediately Cassandra ‘Heartless’ Clare regaled Alyson and Jessica with the story of my shame.
Then it was out to our lovely audience, where we celebrated the fact that Cassandra, Alyson and Jessica had all just hit the New York Times bestseller list, Melissa, Kelley and Cassandra gave out prizes, and we were asked all manner of excellent questions!
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE YOUR FIRST BOOK?
HOLLY: Five years. I wasn’t sure how to plot a story, so in the first draft the faeries just kind of sat around drinking coffee and experiencing ennui.
ALYSON: Fifteen years.
SMART CHICKS: *collective heart attack*
ADVICE FOR WRITERS?
MELISSA: Write your passion. It’s the only thing you can do, and besides, you research the things you love for fun.
JESSICA: My favourite author is L.J. Smith.
SARAH: Oh my God I love L.J. Smith!
CASSIE: Jane Austen.
Everyone was stealing my favourites. Unfair!
QUESTION ABOUT WRITING ADVICE
HOLLY: Well, you always have to think about what a character wants.
CASSIE: Holly’s example for this is Voldemort. She always says ‘Voldemort has a two-pronged plan. Kill Harry Potter, take over the world. Two prongs!’
SARAH: Also you have to plan your way out of getting stuck in the middle, otherwise you end up with scenes in the drawing room with Muriel saying ‘I think I’ll be daring and have another scone’ and then ninjas attack because you got bored.
HOLLY: What? Scones? Ninjas? What? You’re not making any sense.
Maybe so, Holly. But I feel that Mississippi understood me.
After that we all signed: Holly was super excited to get to sign copies of the Unicorns vs Zombies, an anthology she edited that is out early, and to meet Rachel and Brianna, who were both Team Unicorn. And I got to talk to lots of people one on one, and ask them if they secretly preferred good characters or bad characters. I have to say Team Evil won by a landslide.
Thanks for having us – thank you to everyone who came - we all had a blast!
Now the Smart Chicks… RIDE ON. Stay tuned for our next adventure. (Hopefully one containing less mention of undergarments.)