Today, I am honored to share with you an exclusive guest post from Wise Young Fool author Sean Beaudoin — who talks about touring with fellow YA authors Kevin Emerson, Martha Brockenbrough, and Cat Patrick. They call it the “You Are Next” tour. Thanks for stopping by, Sean!
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Life on the road with You Are Next is fantastic.
But it can also be very challenging. It is, after all, an odd group of personalities. Kevin Emerson in particular can be very difficult. We often have arguments in the van, mostly stemming from the fact that since Kevin has the most books out, he feels he is the best writer. Also, he insists that the rest of us refer to him as “The Best Writer.” Which we mostly do. So The Best Writer gets to sit in the front seat, next to our driver, Fernando. TBW also gets to choose where we eat, what music we listen to, and which hotels we stay at (TBW really digs the Red Roof Inn.)
Martha “Lil’ Stuff” Brockenbrough is easier to deal with, mostly because she’s not large, and therefore easily stored in the back with all the luggage, guitars, stacks of TBW’s autographed books, and the emergency snacks we keep in case Cat’s blood sugar level dips too low. Cat “Rick” Patrick is a wonderful person. Almost all the time. Except when she’s hungry, and then she more or less turns into a terrifying sociopath. In fact, when we’re in the van late at night, I usually wear a grilled shrimp necklace as a precaution. There have been times when I’ve dozed off, only to find her gripping her favorite fork and staring at me as if I’d recently been listed on the Burger Barn appetizer menu.
Aside from that, I think we’re a pretty typical tour. We visit schools, libraries, YA conferences and bookstores. We read, tell jokes, answer questions, give advice, have contests, hand out prizes, and do an educational and interactive multimedia presentation based on the principal that author visits shouldn’t be boring, they should be fun!
And then, afterwards, me and Kevin…I mean TBW…usually get into a fistfight in the alley behind the venue. I lose a lot. So, many of the questions at our Q&A’s run along the lines of “Why is Sean so bruised?” or “Can Sean sign my copy of his book again, but this time not drip any blood on it?” or “Why is Sean weeping inconsolably during your roundtable discussion of Dystopic Trends in Contemporary YA?”
Once we’ve signed stock and answered questions and thanked everyone for coming, Kevin and Fernando drive me to the closest ER or free clinic while Cat and Martha go “shopping.” Which, if we’re being honest here, really means “borrowing” items from stores at the mall (after carefully removing the magnetic theft prevention devices with some sort of wrench Martha bought over the internet.) “Hey,” Cat says while slamming the door of the van as we speed out of another parking lot, after pulling a half-dozen Prada handbags from the inner lining of her trench coat, “We have to fund this tour somehow, don’t we?”
At night, it’s usually pretty wonderful. Since our traveling budget only allots for two rooms, TBW gives us all a wink and heads up to his Young Princeling Suite. Martha and Cat tend to share the other room, getting comfy in their plush robes, ordering room service, and gossiping about the other writers we (as a matter of tour philosophy) act superior to on the book circuit. In the end, I usually pitch a tent down by the river, or in the median behind the highway ramp.
And then, four quick hours later, it’s another bright, sunny morning on tour! I make a cup of Sanka on my camp stove, eat a Triscuit or two, and am more or less ready to get right back at it.
Sure, touring can be a grind, but there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for either Wise Young Fool, or Young Adult literature in general.
Some people call me a true believer. And maybe they’re right. But I prefer to think that I’m just a cog in a very vital wheel, doing my little part.
You Are Next will no doubt, and very soon, be in a city near you. Come check us out!