It is true; I only seem to write a blog post when I’m doing fun travel. I probably need to state right now that this is not my normal life. As any of my author friends could attest, most of a writer’s life is not particularly interesting. Mine, most of the time, is the dead opposite of interesting. Mine is countless hours sitting at a computer in my Lululemon sweat pants (because if I am wearing Lululemon sweat pants I can’t be accused of wearing pajamas), broken up by eating, cat-petting, naps and the odd yoga class.
Because it’s International Women’s Day, I’m delighted that I get to write about some awesome women today.
This trip – which takes me to Brussels, Rotterdam and Paris – actually had its inception in a tag-along vacation. Husband has a trade show every year in Paris, meaning for the price of my ticket I get a free place to sleep in a very charming hotel in the city of love. This will be my second time tagging along. For Husband this is a highlight of his work travel, too – his spinoff company deals with composites and carbon fibers, so most of his business trips are to places like Akron, Ohio (no offense to Akron. It just ain’t quite Paris).
This brings me to my first amazing woman, pictured here:
Catherine Jottrand is Belgian, and 19 years ago she started a literary prize for teens called the Prix Farniente. She had four young kids at the time who loved to read, and that was her incentive. That’s it. She was a medical secretary who one day woke up and said, “I’m gonna create a literary prize!” And she did! This year, “We Are All Made of Molecules” is nominated, so she asked if I could start my trip a few days early and come to Brussels for their Foire du Livre.
My trip started rather chaotically as after Husband dropped me at the Vancouver airport and I made my way to security, I realized I’d left my phone charging at home. I panicked. I felt like I’d lost a limb – which is really terrible when you think about it. The lovely security guard let me use her phone and I called my husband repeatedly. But he was doing what he should do, which is not pick up his phone while he’s driving. And he didn’t recognize the number. So I called my dear friend Robin, who got into our house, got my phone, and drove it out. Robin is amazing woman #2. She will get a very very nice present from Paris, is all I’m saying.
The flights – three of them – were effortless, and Catherine met me at the airport. I’m staying at a very lovely hotel. I would like to tell you all those men lingering outside were hoping for a glimpse of a famous Canadian YA author. Yeah. Let’s stick with that. 🙂
The electric glutton! I am a human glutton, especially when I travel. I think the electric kind is healthier. I had to stroll past the Mannekin Pis, too, and I’m glad I did – he was dressed up today to represent the Book Fair.
I also saw another type of mannequin, with the perkiest nipples I have ever seen on a dummy. She does not get a shout-out on International Women’s Day.
One disconcerting sight: Soldiers with what look like semi-automatic weapons are everywhere. That’s the new reality here, at least for now. I was too afraid to take photos from the front so you’re getting this wimp-photo. It does look like his beret is pink, does it not? I think it was actually red.
I have a new Dutch publisher, Lemniscaat; they came on board with “We Are All Made of Molecules.” And that is indeed why I’m going to Rotterdam after Brussels – I let them know I was coming over, and they’ve invited me to come and do a few bookie things there over the weekend.
But wait, it doesn’t end there! Because after I saw my book, I had a thought. I ran upstairs to the adult section … and lo and behold, there it was: “The Woefield Poultry Collective” by amazing woman #3 in this post – Susan Juby. I love that both the Susi/Susenses were represented!!
I just had an epic nap and soon I’m off to dinner at Catherine’s house. Tomorrow, I’m visiting some schools with a translator, and Friday I’m at the book fair. Happy International Women’s Day everyone!