Grab some sodas and snacks, and call dibs on shotgun: It’s time for a road trip! Every spring and fall, Macmillan young adult authors embark on the Fierce Reads tour, making stops across the country to connect with readers and fans. In the second installment of a recurring series on the tour, Mortal Danger author Ann Aguirre gives us a glimpse into a day in her life as she describes her trip to Los Angeles for a special Fierce Reads Summer Blockbuster event at the Barnes & Noble at The Grove. From a brutally early wake-up call on one coast to post-event selfies on another, this is a candid, no-holds-barred look at what it’s really like to be a touring YA author.
You can find out what’s new with the Fierce Reads tour using #FierceReads, and let us know what you’re reading on your #YARoadTrip on Twitter.
I’m awake. Don’t want to be, but I just got in from London last night so I’m lucky I slept on a remotely normal schedule. Let’s see if I can snooze.
Instead I researched beauty salons because I need a mani/pedi and a trim before my event tonight. I’ve found a couple of possibilities, but I won’t know how close they actually are until I get to LA. I guess I’ll get up, start the day.
I’m showered and dressed. Time to go see what this free breakfast looks like! Hm, here’s the breakfast bar. They have waffles, but I’m a pancake girl at heart. Choices, choices.
It all looks good. But I’m having Cheerios with banana, yogurt, and a glass of milk. Oh, and a tiny donut. See?
Yum! Breakfast unlocked. I used the kiosk at the front desk to print my boarding pass, so I can go directly to my gate. Yes, I’m traveling with only carry-on. My backpack is adorable and I love it. The purse is new, fresh from London! I’ve gotten tons of compliments on both since I’ve been traveling.
Now I’m drinking a cup of coffee and packing my stuff. Have to be ready by 7:20.
Time to brush my teeth and check the room one last time.
Looks like I have everything and I’m minty fresh. Heading to the lobby to check out and wait for the shuttle. I’m 19 minutes early, but that’s how I roll.
My bus is full of tourists from Taiwan. I speak enough Mandarin now to eavesdrop. I’m enjoying this! I’m the last dropped off at terminal 4. Virgin America, here I come.
JFK was good to me. They sorted me into the TSA pre-check line. Didn’t have to take off my shoes or get out my laptop.
I bought tour necessities: beef jerky and Aleve. Now I’m ready for anything.
At gate waiting for flight! Holy crap. They’re boarding early.
In the air. I have the window seat. This flight is turbulent, but my seat / row neighbors are nice and considerate.
In cab going to hotel. This is how I look after 5 hours on a plane, no makeup, jet-lagged, and five hours of sleep.
It could be worse, right?
Traffic & construction! This hotel is hard to get to right now; the whole right side of the road is blocked off, wet cement, heavy machinery.
In the end, the cabbie has to drop me off at McDonald’s. Good thing I’m traveling light.
Room not ready. Oh well. I saw a little shopping plaza up the way.
I take Aleve. Eat lunch at cute cafe. Sorry, no pics, too hungry. But I had a chicken Caesar wrap, fruit, and a frozen mocha.
Oooh. Here’s a nail salon. Mani pedi here I come.
My nails look awesome; I went with a shimmering candy pink. I know what I’m wearing to the signing tonight and it’s perfect.
My pedicure turned out fantastic too. The research I did early this morning paid off, and I did go to one of the places I checked out online. I also got a ten minute foot massage and I was in a massage chair the whole time they were working on me. Between lunch and a little pampering, I’m feeling much more cheerful. I don’t even mind the construction.
You can’t see the color too well but it’s more of an orchid, which is a bit darker than my nails and has a hint of purple. Usually I match nails and toes, but I have a master plan to compliment my dress.
Judith at the front desk recommends a salon across the street. Dropping off my stuff. Oh, this room is cute!
So bright and airy. I really love it. But my hair is still shaggy from all of my adventures in the UK. I must do something about this.
To the salon!
I spy fellow author Marissa Meyer and husband in lobby. Can’t talk now, I’m on a mission.
My hair is fabulous. Now I have an hour of free time before I have to get ready. Obviously I will spend it online because if I take a nap I’ll mess up my hair.
I’m checking on ground transport options to train station when I’m surprised by the hotel VIPing me courtesy of my amazing publisher. This looks delicious!
I want to crack open that champagne, but I have zero alcohol tolerance. Falling asleep during an event is the opposite of fierce. So I’ll just eat the nuts and some fruit… mmm. Okay, my free time is over. Time to become fabulous.
I’m ready for my close-up.
My favorite part of this outfit is how it makes my eyes look purple. If I had naturally curly red hair, I could be a fan-fic heroine!
Waiting in lobby to go to signing. I chat with Macmillan Marketing Director Liz Fithian, who was supposed to be my ride to the event, but who has had a trying day and a flat tire. I changed a tire once in college, but I’m not eager to repeat it. No worries, though, Mary Van Akin, publicist extraordinaire, is on the case. She’s got another ride incoming. Fellow authors Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer are already at the bookstore. Anna Banks and I need to get there too!
Our SUV is here, just in time. Our driver is chatty and has a lot to say about everything, even if it doesn’t pertain to the discussion. He’s not a great listener, either, as he asks if we want music, Mary says no, and he turns some on. But he’s making short work of the traffic, thank goodness.
Whew, we’re at The Grove. What a gorgeous bookstore. I try not to crane my neck too much, looking for our interviewer, as we go up the escalator. Lita Weisman, the events manager at Barnes & Noble, greets us. She’s wonderful—so smart, friendly, and knowledgeable, and it looks like she has put together an incredible event. As we go into the back room, she takes our drink orders. I’m feeling very VIP.
We sit down with blogger Kate Bond; wow, she’s so pretty. They reunite Anna and me with Marissa and Leigh. (Hey that rhymed. Don’t worry, I won’t write you a limerick.) So much hugging! In the pre-event interview, we’re all giggling and easily distracted. We want to talk about our pets instead of answering the rest of the questions.
Other people have been arriving as we talked to our blogger, including Anthony Breznican. He seems friendly and smart, a great sign for our panel tonight! Plus, he gives us gummy bears, the most delicious gummy bears EVER. I conclude that he is awesome.
It’s time! Off to entertain readers with my Fierce cohorts. OMG the crowd is immense!
We ran over a bit. Nobody seemed to mind; they laughed a lot. Anthony was a great moderator and our audience was very lively. Now the signing can begin. The line starts here!
Holy cow, we signed for over 2 hours. So fun! Out of bookmarks. Hand tired, but this was a great success. I’m so honored that so many wonderful readers came to see us. Thanks to Lita for putting everything together, and thanks to Anthony for moderating.
Outside I make Marissa take a selfie with me.
She still looks so bright and perky after our event! I look pretty tired, I think. The camera does not lie.
Okay, now we get to eat. But the pizza place is closed.
Cheesecake Factory to the rescue! So hungry. Can’t see straight. So tired… mmm, nachos and sweet corn tamale cakes. This is my reward for a job well done. I have a great conversation with Anthony about publishing, and eventually we’re all ready to call it a night.
The car tire is fixed, but it’s too small for everyone. Some of us take a cab while the rest pile into the rental car. I’m fading…
Whew, I’m back at the hotel. Day’s over. Now I have to pack and set my alarm for 4:30am so I can catch the 6:15 train. I have two signings tomorrow and more excitement lined up for Friday.
Next stop, San Diego Comic Con!
Ann Aguirre has been a clown, a clerk, a savior of stray kittens, and a voice actress, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but she now lives in a terracotta adobe house in Mexico with her husband and two adorable children. The post-apocalyptic novel Enclave is her first book for young adults. She also writes the romantic science fiction series about Sirantha Jax, starting with Grimspace, as well as urban fantasy and paranormal romance. As Ava Gray, she writes paranormal romantic suspense.