Last week I did school visits in Warsaw, Ohio; St. Louis and St. Charles, Missouri; and Olney, Illinois. It was an ideal situation:
- The kids were really attentive, despite it summer-like conditions and looming spring breaks.
- It was really warm, like 85 degrees. Back home in Portland, my family was losing power due to snow.
- I didn't lose anything, even my tiny slide clicker that fell out of my pocket and onto the floor of the bathroom once
- I was really afraid I would get lost on the drive from St. Louis to Olney, but Hertz's Never Lost worked - I only got sort of lost once, which is a record for me.
- I even lost two pounds!
I had never been in any of those states before, if you don't count O'Hare. The trees were different, the bird song was different, even the road kill was different (we don't have gophers in Oregon).
When you speak to 2,000 kids in three states, what kind of questions do they ask
- Are you rich?
- How old are you?
- How come you didn't come here in a limousine?
- Why in your last two books are the girls from rich families and the boys from the wrong side of the tracks? (I told that girl in Olney, Illinois that my editor had noticed the same thing)
Lewis & Clark in St. Charles, Missouri
Actual evidence box used to store guns
on loan from St. Charles police department
One of Olney's white squirrels
A Redbud - we don't have them in Oregon