Grab some sodas and snacks, and call dibs on shotgun: It’s time for a road trip. This fall, Macmillan young adult authors are embarking on their annual Fierce Reads tour, where they’ll make stops across the country to connect with readers and fans. Here, in the first installment of a recurring series on the tour, Bookish chats with Cinder author Marissa Meyer about how to pack for a road trip and authors’ quirky food choices. (Spoiler alert: There will be ice cream.) You can follow along with the tour using #FierceReads, and let us know what you’re reading on your #YARoadTrip on Twitter.
Bookish: When was your first Fierce Reads tour?
Marissa Meyer: My first Fierce Reads tour was in June of 2012, with Anna Banks, Emmy Laybourne, Leigh Bardugo, and Jennifer Bosworth. Because I’d already been on a solo tour with Cinder a few months before, I was considered the “expert” among all us debuts. I can remember still feeling like such a newbie, but thinking, Okay, these authors are probably nervous and anxious just like I was. I’m going to pretend like I know what I’m doing so they’ll all think they’re in good hands!
I recently saw Emmy again when she came through Seattle on this most recent Fierce Reads tour. I was just a fan in the audience this time, but she gave the sweetest shout-out, and talked about that first tour and how confident I’d made her feel. That was such a treat to hear.
Bookish: What surprised you most about being on the road?
MM: I am always surprised on the group tours at how quickly you develop attachments to each other. It doesn’t take long before we have all these inside jokes, and after only a few days on the road together you start to feel like you’ve known each other for years!
Bookish: Give us an outline of a typical day on the road with Fierce Reads. Does everyone eat breakfast together? Do you all sit together on planes?
MM: A typical day would be waking up at some ungodly hour so you can rush to the airport only to be two hours early (publicists are notoriously neurotic about this!), then spending a few hours on a flight to get to whatever your next city is, and if you’re lucky you’ll have time to stop by the hotel and rest for a while before you head out to your event.
Afternoons and evenings might include a group interview with a blogger or some media outlet followed by a bookstore presentation and signing. Usually we all head back to the hotel afterward and unwind with dinner at the hotel restaurant. Your eating and sleeping schedule gets really messed up during a book tour!
Bookish: How does one pack for one to two weeks on tour?
MM: Tour packing is a complicated equation, especially as you’re not only wanting to dress your best, but also have all of your book swag handy to give out to readers, too. I try to focus on bringing items that do double duty. Yoga pants can be PJs and exercise clothes and worn to the airport, and a cute pair of ballet slippers are great for both flights and events.
Bookish: What is a favorite fan moment from the road?
MM: There are so many! But one of my favorites was during a Fierce Reads tour when all of us authors were at the signing table, and a girl, maybe 10 or 11, got to the front of my line, bouncing and clutching her copy of Cinder, and blurted, “I love you!” All the authors started laughing at just how adorable and unreserved she was. I was so flattered!
Bookish: A favorite memory from a Fierce Reads tour involving the other authors?
MM: During the 2013 fall Fierce Reads tour with Stephanie Bodeen, Alexandra Coutts, and Leila Sales, we were in Arizona and we’d heard about this super healthy restaurant—all organic, local, seasonal, fresh foods—and we all agreed that sounded great, so that’s what we had for lunch. And while we were enjoying our tofu noodle bowls and vegetable crudites, someone mentioned that there was an old ice cream parlor in town… so naturally we all agreed that enormous ice cream sundaes would make for the perfect dinner. I loved how illogical and yet unanimous these food decisions were. It was like, These people get me!
Alexandra Coutts, Marissa, S.A. Bodeen, and Leila Sales enjoying ice cream
Bookish: Do you have time to read and write while you are traveling with Fierce Reads?
MM: There’s plenty of time for reading—all that free time spent in airports and on airplanes! I probably get more books read during the tour than any other time of the year. It’s more difficult to get writing done, because you’re often so distracted and tired on the road. I usually try to give myself permission to just “relax” on tour, although I will write if I’m on a tight deadline. During last fall’s Fierce Reads tour I managed to get almost 10,000 words written. I was awfully proud of myself!
Bookish: If you were going on a road trip tomorrow, what book would you bring?
MM: As a matter of fact, I am going on a road trip tomorrow! I’ll be bringing Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (I cannot wait to read this book); and should I finish that one, I’ll also have The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak (a re-read for me—I loved this book and want to revisit it before I watch the movie); I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai; and The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore. Seriously, is there anyone who just brings one book on a road trip?
The Fierce Reads tour continues this month with the Fierce Reads Summer Blockbuster event featuring Marissa Meyer, Ann Aguirre, Anna Banks, and Leigh Bardugo. Check here July 28 to see where the Fall Fierce Reads tour is headed.