At the beginning of November, I went to Canada for a couple of events in Toronto, Ontario. The original reason for my trip was to attend the World Fantasy Convention, which supposedly was in Toronto but was really in Richmond Hills, inconveniently located “near” Toronto Pearson International Airport and various downtown restaurants. False advertising, much?
But I actually skipped most of the first two days of the con, as I also wanted to spend time with close friends in the area, who showed me interesting sites like the National Air Force Museum of Canada and made sure I sampled as much of the local cuisine as possible. No complaints!
World Fantasy is one of my favorite conventions, though I don’t get to attend every year; once I got there, it was great to catch up with many authors, editors, and friends in the SFF community, though there’s never enough time to see everyone. Two highlights of World Fantasy for me were the mass autographing session on Friday night—where some people actually turned up to talk to me and get their copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin signed!—and a panel on diversity in young adult fiction, my one official program for the con.
I’m still a little nervous on panels, even though all I’m doing is expressing my opinion on various topics (which I often do without any prompting), but it went really well, thanks to my fellow panelists (Cindy Williams Chima, Cheryl Rainfield, Megan Crewe, and Kathleen Sullivan), as well as a terrific audience–the intelligent, well-read, and passionate audience you hope for at events like this. Everyone contributed to a lively and respectful discussion of the importance of representing protagonists of different cultures, abilities, genders, and sexual orientations in young adult fiction. Cheryl wrote a detailed summary of the panel along with some book recommendations collected from panelists and readers in the audience. So yeah, I think I did all right on this one, and some people were kind enough to tell me so afterward.
Of course, there were many other memorable moments at WFC: an impromptu fiction reading by members of my writing group, Altered Fluid, in the soda room of the con suite (really); breakfast dim sum; a 3am expedition to get hot pot and tea; hallway conversations about Sleep No More; hanging out at the hotel bar with friends from Clarion West; the Clarion West party (featuring the class of 2012’s anthem, “Ready to Launch”); and every stolen moment with folks in the dealer room, halls, parties, and hotel rooms. And as always, it was great to meet online friends in person for the first time and make a lot of new friends at the con.
However, one of my favorite moments in Toronto didn’t occur at the con at all: a reading and signing at !ndigo Yorkdale. This event was as amazing as the circumstances that brought it about; Ross Armstrong, one of the booksellers at Yorkdale, decided to participate in the company’s “CEO 100” challenge by handselling 100 copies of Fair Coin. And he succeeded!
When I found out about it, I was flattered, impressed, and grateful, so I knew I had to visit the store while I was in town to thank the staff in person. I was honored to be invited there for an event–especially considering the guests they usually attract, authors like James Dashner, Cassandra Clare, and Libba Bray–and fortunately everyone’s schedules worked out to make it happen on relatively short notice. One of the best parts of being a published author is meeting teens who enjoyed Fair Coin, not to mention adult readers, parents, and booksellers. It was the perfect note to end my “book tour” on!
So if you happen to be in or around Toronto, Ontario, you can pick up signed copies of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin at !ndigo Yorkdale–the only book store offering them in all of Canada, which is a pretty big country. If you do stop by, say hi to Ross for me.