Looking Back #13: Bay Area Launch Parties

I’m counting down to the publication of The Unbreakable Code with highlights from the past two years since Book Scavenger was published. So much has happened in such a short time, and I’ve been so busy trying to keep up, that I’ve neglected to share many of the big and small moments. So here we go, in no particular order . . .

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When Book Scavenger was published I organized two launch events in the San Francisco Bay Area that were so meaningful to me. The first was at the Linden Tree Bookstore.

Probably my favorite picture of the whole event. My son didn’t understand why all these people were staring at his mama.

I worked at Linden Tree when I was in graduate school. Prior to working there, I kept my love of children’s books kind of secret because as a then young twenty-something I thought I was too old to enjoy them, which seems ridiculous to me now. While working at Linden Tree, I met booksellers who were passionate and knowledgable and smart about children’s books, and it made me want to own my passion too.


I started that job a little cocky that I knew what’s what in children’s books, but man, the rest of the staff there really knew their stuff. I learned so much while and discovered new-to-me authors like Sharon Creech and Cornelia Funke, whose books I devoured. When you read The Unbreakable Code, you’ll meet a character named Miss Linden, and now you know why I picked that name.

See that bag I’m holding? My ultra talented friend Lynne (in the middle) surprised me with that–she makes the coolest embroidery creations, including scarab bookmarks that I gave out as prizes.

The second launch party was at the Book Passage store in the Ferry Building, a location that’s prominent in Book Scavenger. (I have a funny story about what happened to me on the way to this event, which I’ll share in another post.)

I actually wrote a scene in an earlier draft of Book Scavenger set inside the Ferry Building Book Passage store where Emily and James run into Mr. Quisling.

Book Passage is also significant for me because their children’s writing conference was the very first children’s-specific writing conference I attended. I went to two back-to-back somewhere around 2001. It was a fairly small conference as I remember it–maybe 100 attendees at most? Daniel Handler in the early Lemony Snicket days and Lois Lowry were the speakers one year–can you imagine? How could I not leave a conference like that feeling inspired and fired up about the path I was on?

So the locations were meaningful, but what really made the events so special for me were the people. I was wowed by the friends and family who turned out for my book. Family and friends flew and drove long distances to be there, people who I haven’t seen since high school, parents of elementary school friends, my Colorado writing group flew out to attend both–and there were strangers there too! I wanted to run up and hug them and say, “I don’t know you, and you’re here!” Kids who I’d met earlier in the week at school visits came back for more Book Scavenger fun. The whole weekend felt miraculous, and I was, and am, so deeply grateful.


In case you missed it:

Looking Back #1: Re-visiting my alma maters

Looking Back #2: Meeting my editor

Looking Back #3: Meeting Ann M. Martin

Looking Back #4: A Memorable San Francisco Trip

Looking Back #5: Steves and pencils

Looking Back #6: Atlanta Book Group

Looking Back #7: A Story Behind the Story

Looking Back #8: Battle of the Books

Looking Back #9: Detective Day!

Looking Back #10: Hicklebee’s!

Looking Back #11: All School Read!

Looking Back #12: Launching the Game!