Friday, June 8, 2012

BEA 2012 Day 2

Day two was a far less harried day than day one, but far more air punching occurred....

Months back, when I decided to go to BEA, I discovered the Children's Author Breakfast featuring Chris Colfer (from GLEE), Lois Lowry,Walter Dean Myers, Kadir Nelson and John Green. As much as I love the other presenters and their artistic contributions to the world, I'm not gonna lie, John Green was the main attraction for me. The dude is my literary hero. I signed up immediately.

Fast forward to the day of the breakfast. The hall was packed with 1,100 people and who do I see? Miss Frankie Diane Mallis. There was one seat left at her table. It was definitely my lucky day.

I tried to live tweet the event but the wireless reception inside the Javitz was spotty at best. The presenters were glorious and witty and funny and endearing. Publisher's Weekly does a great recap HERE. I did manage to snap this one photo.

The applause ended and everyone filed out to start their BEA journey. I was determined to get my stupid phone to work, so I stayed seated. I wanted to access my BEA schedule and see where I'd set myself up to go first. I sat and silently cursed the forever loading BEA app. I heard someone say my name.

It was Mary Kate, a young woman I’ve known since I wrote my first book, and her friend. Mary Kate works in publishing and very kindly tried to help me out way back then. We got to talking about how incredible the speakers were and what a massive John Green fan I am. She said, “I know his publicist. We used to work together at Harper Collins.” My mouth dropped open.

Then Mary Kate added, “Let me see if I can get her attention. They’re right over there.” I turned around, and twenty feet away stood John Green, David Levithan and three women. I didn’t even know they were in the room with me – which was pretty much empty by then. We walked closer, and John Green’s publicist spotted Mary Kate, waved, and came over to us. I was introduced, and after discussing how great the speakers were, I told her how John Green is my literary idol.

The publicist smiled. “Well come over and I’ll introduce you.”

I said, “Like right now?”

She nodded.

I mumbled something resembling, “Oh my God, I’m going to pass out.”

The publicist introduced me to him, and I have zero recollection of what she said. I was too stunned. I put my hand out to him. “I’m Kate Walton, K. M. Walton, I have a book too, called Cracked.” I said it all bumbly and mumbly. But at least it was words and not "A-baaa-gaaah-baaa."

JOHN FREAKING GREEN SAID, “I know who you are. I know your book. Nice to meet you.”

I stared for a split second. “No you did not just say that to me.”

He smiled.

I gathered my wits. “I am a huge fan. Every one of your books influenced me deeply and inspired me to write Cracked.”

He smiled again. Then I honestly can’t remember what was said or how the conversation changed. I was in lala land. But I do remember all of us talking about his speech and how wonderful Chris Colfer and Lois Lowry were. I was, you know, just talking to John Green. Having a conversation with John Green. I will never, as in ever, get over it.

I seriously floated around for the rest of the day. Each time I told the story, my arms flailed with zealous air punches. Really zealous. I replayed that moment over and over and over again in my head.

John Green knows who I am and knows my book. WHAT? What alternate universe am I living in?

Oh, and on a really cool side note, the woman standing right next to John Green was his agent, Jodi Reamer. I introduced myself to her too. Yeah. Insane moment.

Here is photographic proof. Mary Kate's friend captured the moment right after I met him!

The day of awesome continued.

I got to walk the floor with fellow Apocalypsies Hilary Weisman Graham and Kimberly Sabatini, as well as book blogger, Lisa Lueddecke. We saw got books signed by the unique and charming Tom Angleberger and also saw Tim Gunn!!
I listened in on a panel discussion with David Levithan, Nick Eliopoulus and James Dashner, where they discussed the new interactive Scholastic series The Infinity Ring. And guess who I ran into there? Miss Frankie Diane Mallis.

I waited in the autograph line to see my amazing friend, James Howe. He jumped out of his seat to give me a big hug. I adore that man.

When the lower half of my body refused to move without pain I was forced to head back to my hotel, grab my bag and catch the next train home. Weighted down with piles of books and glorious memories I settled into my seat and stared out the train window. BEA 2012 will remain one of the most incredible experiences of my published life.