I've had a launch party and a book signing at Barnes & Noble. I was on a panel at Malice Domestic, and I appeared at the Kensington Book Festival, the Festival of Mystery, and the Gaithersburg Book Festival. I signed books at BEA and spoke at the Library of Congress.
The most nerve-wracking appearance of all? That would be yesterday, when I spoke to two sixth grade classes at my son's school.
I had my PowerPoint presentation ready. I had a few gags prepped and raring to go. I had a stack of bookmarks. Most importantly, I wore my Kevlar vest underneath my shirt.
I was prepared.
The classes were wonderful. The kids were quiet and respectful while I spoke (They even called me "Mr. Orloff."). They listened to my words with interest. And they came up with some of the best questions I've been asked in a long time. ("Is the second book harder to sell than the first?" "What kind of background do you need to become an editor?")
We did a little writing exercise, and these kids demonstrated some serious writing chops. Creative, tight, evocative, funny. I'm tempted to contact a few to become critique partners. (Did I mention these kids were only 12 years old?)
If anyone had any fears about the future generation of readers and writers, I'm here to tell you not to worry. If my experience yesterday was typical, the future of the written word looks bright. Very bright.