Westchester YA Authors Remember Their Fondest Moments

From blunders to flatteries, County teen genre authors explain their best memories



"The most embarrassing thing that ever happened to me was during a Scholastic broadcast when my mind went blank and I forgot the word 'snail.' I then treated thousands of young students to my impersonation of a slimy tentacled marine creature sticking its head out of a shell. None of my fellow 39 Clues authors have let me forget it."—Judy Blundell

"When I visited a parochial school in lower Westchester a couple of years ago, I showed the students a book I wrote when I was five, about a kid whose robot smoked a pipe. Afterwards, a younger boy with a quizzical expression on his face asked to see my book 'about the robot who smoked pot.' I had to correct him—fast." —Barbara Dee

" I had just given a reading at this bookstore in Northern California and my friend came with me to the bathroom because I had a necklace that was tangled in my hair. She thought it would be easier if we went in the restroom and she got it out there. It was a single bathroom, so, when we came out, there were several teenagers waiting outside. I felt a little embarrassed that we caused this line, so I apologized for taking so much time in the bathroom. And they all said, 'We don’t need to use the bathroom. We were waiting for you.' They wanted to tell me how much the loved my book and they wanted to ask me questions about what it was like to write. I was thrilled—my first fans!" —Patricia Dunn

"The funniest thing that’s ever happened to me was during a visit to Poudre High School in Colorado. I had a giant movie-sized poster of my Bloodspell book cover with me, and one of the students in the session asked if I was the model on the cover of the book. I was quite flattered, but of course, it’s not me. Darn it."—Amalie Howard

"I had two funny things happen. At a recent middle-school visit, I was talking to the kids about the research behind Trafficked and I looked down and saw my shirt was inside out. All the horrors of middle school came back to me. I tried to cover the side tag with my hand, but it was too obvious. Then, at a panel with Nova Ren Suma and Jennifer Castle, a middle-aged guy sits right up at the front and says to us, 'You don’t mind if I eat my soup, do you?' We looked at each other, slightly weirded out, and said no. For the entire time we were reading and answering questions, he was slurping these big noodles out of his soup. So distracting, but hilarious, too." —Kim Purcell

"When I was in Richmond, Virginia, I did a workshop along with a book signing, and a major rock star came to it, because he had read my book and loved it. We became friends!" —Léna Roy

"There have been so many. Once in Portland, Maine, the microphone I was speaking into was picking up the Rolling Stones from a local radio station. Every time I paused for a breath, the kids heard 'Let’s Spend the Night Together.' Another time, just before I was supposed to go on stage, I made a quick detour to the men’s room. Only I forgot to turn off the wireless mike." —Todd Strasser

» Click here to read as these authors discuss their inspirations,
   challenges, and the secrets to writing for the teen scene
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