In a world ... where strangers make perfect book trailers

Ever wonder what it would be like to have somebody you have never met read your book, and then feel inspired to make a video ... that absolutely nails it? 

Well, that happened to me last year. Apparently, I was so blown away that I forgot to post it here until now. 

But I was blown away. Thank you, Kimberly Kinnaird (and enthusiastic librarians everywhere.) 

 

Michael Merschel
Librarians! Awards! Videos! Puppets! Puppets?

Thanks for coming back. Here's more of what your favorite book about nerds and middle school and science-fiction TV show obsessions was up to this spring. 

First – the characters of "Revenge of the Star Survivors" may be outcasts, but they were warmly  accepted by the Texas Library Association. I wrote about the Spirit of Texas award earlier, but I somehow never posted this video that they asked me to make to celebrate it. You might wish that I had left things that way. But here it is. 

 

When I first heard about the Spirit of of Texas award, I was just happy to have my name on something that was not a bill or a subpoena. I later found out that the books for the program are chosen in what sounds like a sort of gladiatorial-style combat among librarians: Committee members go into a room with their favorite books, but only the strongest walk out alive. This means that I had some libraritorial (I'm a writer, I can make up words) angels on my side. I met some at the TLA conference. It was humbling, and I am grateful. 

 

(In the photo gallery above, see if you can spot the two amazing Holiday House publicists who made all of this possible. I got to take them out to a nice Texas barbecue dinner. By which I mean, I recommended a place that was closed. And then I got lost going to another. And then – they paid for it all. But still – they are amazing. Thank you, Em and Faye.) 

Also at TLA, I made a repeat appearance on KidLit TV (click for a link to that video) and did something called "speed dating," which involves making brief pitches for your book over and over again to tables of eager book-lovers. I was worried ...

But it went OK. Better than most of my dates did, at least. 

And in yet another video, I achieved my lifelong goal of being interviewed by a puppet. Seriously, I have dreamed of this day. (Proof: If you are the first person to email me at revengeofthestarsurvivors@gmail.com with the page number from the book that contains a Muppet Show joke, I will send you a signed bookmark.)

That video was just posted recently. And you can see it here. Stick around for the kazoo playing. Or maybe flee while you can. 

After that, it was a return to San Antonio. My very first book event was there, last year, and this time I had two: An appearance at the San Antonio Book Festival, and a meeting of the Texas Institute of Letters. 

I started the day with a belated realization that I had missed a prime marketing opportunity: 

 

But I was there for the very serious and humbling matter of picking up the Flynn Award for Best MIddle-Grade Book from the Texas Institute of Letters.  The award looks like this. 

 

 

IMG_7200.jpg

You see the image of the coyote at the top? Here is why the Texas Institute of Letters and artist Regina Moya chose that image: 

Coyotes are highly individualistic and extremely adaptable animals that express great joy in being alive. They have been shot, trapped, poisoned, and yet remarkably survive in today’s world. They are revered as fabled tricksters in many cultures and they are as likely to set their own tail on fire as they are to snatch fire from the heavens. They are ridiculous and vain, but also highly intelligent and capable of great empathy. They improve any range simply by being part of the ecosystem. They are indispensable.

But I digress. The rest of that chilly day was spent at the rather spectacular San Antonio Book festival, in the environs of their doubly-spectacular library. You want to make an author of a book about kids who turn to a library as a place of refuge feel dumbfounded? Put his book in a building that looks like this: 

 

There were, however, a few other spots where I felt equally at home. 

 

So, with one more thanks to the many, many people who made all of those things happen, we'll sign off for now. But come back soon! I promise just a few more photos and, eventually, a bit of news. 

Michael Merschel
I need 'Revenge of the Star Survivors' news. Is there any?

Why, yes, thank you for asking! 

First, though, let's get caught up on the past few months. They were busy. 

I'm gonna go way back to February, when Corpus Christi's Teen Bookfest by Bay celebrated "Revenge of the Star Survivors" and a bunch of other really fine books.

I felt right at home for a couple of reasons: First, authors are just fun people, and you can learn stuff from them, like which 1980s bands are surprisingly difficult to play in your Austin '80s cover band. (Duran Duran. Who knew?) Also, the bookfest treated us really well, including a dinner at a very fancy sounding restaurant called the Executive Surf Club, and I am really glad they did not give me time to run back to the hotel and get a suit and tie because it turns out it is just a really good burger joint, with the emphasis on "surf" instead of executive. 

Finally, the Corpus Christi boardwalk has a couple of things that would have really appealed to the characters of "Star Survivors." One is a giant aircraft carrier, which I did not get to go on but it was still pretty cool from afar.
 

 We might have been singing "Under the Boardwalk" as we tried to take this picture of the book with the aircraft carrier in the background. 

We might have been singing "Under the Boardwalk" as we tried to take this picture of the book with the aircraft carrier in the background. 

The one thing I did get to see was their scale model of the solar system, which is one of those things where they mark the spot where the sun would be, and then you take a couple of steps and you have covered Mercury, Venus and Earth, and another couple of steps and you hit Mars, and then you walk for like a mile before you cover the whole solar system. 

So I paused to take photos of the book and Uranus. Because I had to.

I did that for educational purposes. Really.

Anyhow, it was a really nice time, and everyone should go to Corpus Christi next time they have a book festival there. 

 This was what was behind me as I signed books in Corpus Christi. To my left was the incredibly popular and friendly author Julie Murphy, but I somehow was not smart enough to get a photo with her. 

This was what was behind me as I signed books in Corpus Christi. To my left was the incredibly popular and friendly author Julie Murphy, but I somehow was not smart enough to get a photo with her. 

About the same time as the Corpus Christi festival, I got to speak at the esteemed Highland Park Literary Festival. It was my first time speaking to an actual classroom of people who were expecting me to, like, teach them something and not just talk about my book. And I suspect they all said – we could tell. But this is what happens when you give nerds lecterns. I had a good time, and nobody actually fell asleep, that I could tell, although maybe I was not looking very hard. 

Anyhow, it was totally worth it because I got to hear the insightful and accommodating author Adam Johnson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for "The Orphan Master's Son" (see the photo of people buying his book right next to mine) and also saw something in the Highland Park High School Library that might seem familiar to "Revenge of the Star Survivors" readers. 

 

That was also the month I got to fly to my hometown of Denver and see, for the first time, a copy of "Revenge of the Star Survivors" in the library that gave me my first library card. OK, technically, the library I knew has been torn down and turned into a movie  theater. But this is the one that replaced it. And seeing the book there still made me happy. (I guess I would be happier if it were checked out -- but it's there, Jefferson County residents! It's there!)

 

 Would Clark and Anne get along? Discuss. 

Would Clark and Anne get along? Discuss. 

I'll leave it at that for now. Watch for additional updates soon, I hope! And if you have questions, feel free to drop by the Facebook page, or send an email

Michael Merschel