Monday, March 31, 2014

Leipzig and Köln Re-Cap (With MANY pictures)

Just kidding, I lied about the many pictures. I forgot my camera. I HAVE NONNNNE, you guys, ahhh, the whole book fair and all the people and costumes and books and bagels, and no pictures. This is a terrible thing.

Here I will list them, though. The things I didn't take pictures of:

- When I was at the Zürich airport waiting for the flight to Berlin, the lady on the intercom called for a passenger Putin on a flight to Moscow. Everyone was like:

- When I was in the taxi on the way to my first day at the Leipziger Buchmesse, the taxi driver told me that if I was really lucky I might be able to get into a reading and meet a real live author.

- I was pretty lucky.

- I got a box of chocolates from Martin Suter, who is a famous author in the German speaking world and is also published by Diogenes. I desperately need to write him a thank you note somehow, because that was super nice of him.

- I met Ingrid Noll, another popular German author published by Diogenes. She was born in China and was homeschooled, too, and started writing books in her mid fifties. Also, she's hilarious. I was a little bit in awe of her and now I want to read all her books.

- The room I did a reading in at the litPop in Leipzig was in this old castle-y building, and the floor had pillows and squashy bean-bags and I sat in an old leather wing-chair and read to a great many cool people, and felt about 80 years old.

- We had dinner at Auerbach's Keller in Leipzig, which is a vast restaurant in a basement/wine-cellar type space with murals on the walls depicting scenes from Goethe's Faust. Diogenes has its own alcove there, because it's Diogenes.

- The Buchmesse Leipzig is a lot like the NYC Comic-Con. There are transformers and manga creatures and I SAW MERIDA FROM BRAVE.

- During my very first German-language reading, my foot fell asleep and I had to slop off stage like an octopus. It was very attractive.

 - "Schmalfingrige Schornsteinirrwische" is hard to pronounce. In English it's "thin-fingered chimney sprites", which is way easier.

- If I speak German for more than a few hours at a time, my brain forgets what language to think in, and so it will be like, psh, nuffa this, and will stop thinking altogether.

-  An awesome lady from Germany's socialist newspaper came by the Diogenes booth and gave me her review of Die Seltsamen in person, and it was pretty much the nicest review ever. And then her friend gave me a pack of pens for signing because I had forgot mine. So, obviously I'm voting socialist next time.

Just kidding, I base my voting habits on who gives me cake not pens.

Just kidding.

But just kidding about just kidding, because cake is delicious.

- On my last day I was doing a reading in Köln, and I was sleepy and a little bit annoyed for no particular reason, and so during the Q&A I said something about how people tend to expect nothing good of teenagers and if you expect nothing you'll probably get nothing, and also how I think it's dumb that private education is illegal in Germany. The moderator quickly changed the subject.

On one hand I really hope the audience didn't think I was a bratty American come to upend their carefully-ordered way of life with revolutionary ideas, and on the other hand it needed to be said because both ageism and repressive governments are dumb.

- I almost threw up at one point during the fair. I don't know what I ate, but my stomach was not a happy thing.

- Anyway: it was lovely and I want to thank alllllllll the people who organized, and carted me around, and kept me from getting lost, and came to my readings, and listened to me stumble over the word "Schornsteinirrwische". Thanks for being so cool, and I loved meeting everyone!

- Last thing: I'm super behind in email answering and blogging and cleaning my room and basically everything, but I'm doing a giveaway next week for some The Cabinet of Curiosities Teasers and some of my fellow Curators' awesome books, and maybe a German edition. I haven't quite decided. But it's happening! :)

And to end this post, here's GIF of a hamster being tossed out of its hamster wheel, because it made me laugh and because anyone who is in school right now can relate to this hamster on a spiritual level.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Appearances Spring 2014 - Switzerland / Germany

Hi! I'm going to be reading in Germannnnnn. I know, we'll see how that goes.

In the US readings are usually gentle things where parents and kids and maybe some awesome grown-up MG readers and authors come and you chat with them and read them bits of your story and they ask you questions and then you have cake-pops. And apparently in Germany they're more like shows and the organizers get actors to read sections of your book and it all sounds very scary. So that will be interesting.  

But it's AN EXPERIENCE, amirite. xD

Also, it will be weird because I don't think most people will know that I wrote this book four years ago (aka, ONE THOUSAND YEARS AGO) and if someone asks me what color buttons Mr. Lumbidule is wearing half on page 56, I won't have the faintest idea. But oh well. I'm excited. If you can come to any these, we could say hey. :)

Leipziger Buchmesse Appearances
Readings and signings

Friday, February 28, 2014


Die Seltsamen at a bookstore in Zürich. Thank you, Orell Füssli!
So, the German edition of The Peculiar came out a few days ago, and I had all these good intentions to make a video and show you guys the finished copy with its most marvelous bookmark ribbon, and then I didn't because this week has been crazy busy. Basically: school -> eat -> school -> homework -> interviews -> homework -> homework -> homework -> homework -> homework. And I didn't put up my CoC story on Wednesday which is BAD and which must be remedied very soon.

But OH WELL. I want to use this post to say a huge thank you to a bunch of people.

Thank you to my German publisher Diogenes for picking up the book, and for having an awesome team of people who are doing a ton to get the word out about it, and for giving the book it's striking cover that pops so nicely from all the other editions of TP. I love that cover.

Where's Waldo.
Also, a hugeeeeee thank you to Hannes Riffel who translated it, to all the bookshops and booksellers who are selling the book, to the sales reps for telling them about it, and to the media outlets who are running articles and reviews.

And the biggest thank you's to the awesome Swiss and German-language readers who have been picking it up and blogging and tweeting about it. Danke euch viel mals. :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Hmm? What is it?
The other day someone asked me whether I had a job. And so of course I was like:

"Ummmm. . ."

And then I was like:

"Wellll. . . "

And then I was like:

"No. I'm a student. Bye."

I know, WHAT, STEFAN, WHAT IS THIS, have some personal pride, but nope.

I don't know things about other things, go away.
This is what one should say:

"I DO have a job. I write books. Yeah, ig-sakly like Harry Potter. And The Hunger Games. My books have magic in them, too. And children. You should buy them. Like, now."

*pushes person out of door/window/elevator toward nearest independent bookstore.*

The problem is I don't look very wise and tormented and author-ly yet, and so when I actually tell people I've written books, one of these things will probably happen.

Option A)

"Oh, you write books? D'you want to get them published?"

Option B)

"Ohhhh, you write books? You were probably homeschooled. Home-schoolers don't have anything else to do."

(I kid you not. This is almost a direct quote. I was having coffee with some friends at a bookstore, and a woman overheard our conversation and said that.)

I be like:

Translation: "You are clearly narrow-minded about these things, and narrow-minded people should not speak."

At which point they're like:

*kids these days*

At which point I have calmed myself and am like:

Option C)

(This one only happens in Switzerland, because there's been an inordinate amount of media stuff over here, and TV crews all up in MAH HOUSE, and people will come up to me on trains and in school and that's a whole 'nother blog post.)

"Ohhhh, you're that kid!" . . . *awkward pause* *awkward pause prolongs itself* *awkward smile and questioning look as if they're waiting for me to do something interesting, because people who have been on TV are not real people actually*

Option D)

"Ohhh, you wrote a book? And it's fantasy? I like fantasy. Let's be friends."

And honestly, these are about 64% of the reactions, and these are the cool people who I like very much, and with whom one can quickly move on to more interesting subjects like cake and the ending of Downton Abbey Season 3. (Because seriously, what was that ending.)

. . .

Anyway, that was a slightly pointless post. Whatever. School is starting again in four days. Also, the German translation of The Peculiar is coming it in two weeks, so I'm going to be posting some stuff related to that. Like it's loverly cover. And maybe a vlog. And some links. And a ton of German-language appearances that are happening sooooon.

Hope you guys are having a great February! Bye. :)