Five states. Five days. One epic tour. Here's how it went down:
Day 1: Perth
I arose early on Tuesday morning for my five hour flight to Perth. Damn Australia, why you so large. I kinda miss the days of living in Europe, when flying for five hours could get you to a different continent.
When I landed, I met up with my lovely publicist, Tina, and headed to Paper Bird books, a cute little bookshop in Fremantle, for my first ever event as a real life author. And there I saw, for the very first time, the physical manifestation of eight years of daydreaming: Our Chemical Hearts out in the wild.
My Q&A was hosted by the fantastic A. J. Betts, author of Zac & Mia, and a fellow Queenslander from a rural town! I was amazed to find out that she's from Innisfail, which is about a three hour drive north from Townsville.
The event was small and cozy and afterwards I signed my first purchased copies of Our Chemical Hearts and it was basically the best afternoon of my life so far.
Day 2: Adelaide/Stormaggedon
Another early morning for our three-something hour flight to Adelaide. There were whispers on social media of an intense thunderstorm headed for the Adelaide region, but my publicist and I were blissfully ignorant of the true extent of the approaching weather. Enter Stormaggedon.
We landed in Adelaide about two hours before the wild weather began, and went to get hot chocolate at Koko Black in Rundle Mall. And that's when all hell broke loose. The storm rolled over the city, and all of South Australia lost power. For reference, that's an area three times the size of Germany. Tragically, we did not get our hot chocolate.
Alarms were blaring from every second building. The roads were gridlocked with traffic because no lights were working. The whole city was dark and eerie.
As we waited for news on the power in our darkened hotel lobby, we wondered if we'd have to cancel the event to be held at Dymocks. Police were telling people to stay indoors and off the roads, and we didn't want anyone to risk their safety to try and make it into the city.
Then, an hour before the event was supposed to start, my publicist received a phone call from the bookshop: six people were already there.
We wandered back through the darkened city to the bookstore to meet Tori and Sian, who run the YA Circle out of Dymocks in Adelaide, and the six (later ten) very dedicated readers who'd turned up despite the conditions!
After the seance, Tina and I were starving, and I came to realise that I would probably die very quickly in an apocalypse because I had no idea how to acquire food. Luckily a nearby Woolworths was running on a generator and we managed to snag some Doritos and red wine for dinner.
Day 3: Melbourne
We managed to escape Adelaide on time despite many early morning flights being cancelled due to the power outage the night before.
And then it was time for my Melbourne event, which I was particularly excited about for two reasons:
1. So many of my early supporters have been Melbournians, and I was really excited to meet them in person, and
2. Amie Kaufman said she was going to be there.
AMIE BLOODY KAUFMAN, 1/2 of the team responsible for Illuminae. EXCUSE ME WHILE I FREAK OUT.
And then this happened:
Day 4: Brisbane
Another day, another city, this time up to Brisbane in my home state in Queensland. It was sunny and warm and glorious and made me wonder why I ever left.
My event that night was at Riverbend books, another cute boutique bookstore with a cafe attached. Which is basically my idea of heaven.
My Q&A was hosted by the lovely Rhianna Patrick from the ABC. We had a great chat!
Day 5: Sydney
We wrapped up the tour in Sydney, my adopted hometown, and boy was it a grand finale.
The event took place in Kinokuniya, one of my favourite Sydney bookstores, and was attended by a hoard of friends, family, my agent, my Aussie editor, and readers.
It was also hosted by Will Kostakis, who's new book The Sidekicks I just finished the day before. The Sidekicks will easily make my top three books of 2016, so I was a little nervous to meet/be interviewed by Will, who's an incredibly talented storyteller.
To every single person who came to one of my Australian book events and/or bought a copy of Our Chemical Hearts (or four, a la my sister and best friend) - THANK YOU.
Seriously, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
It may seem like a small gesture to you, but it means so much to me. It means everything! I hope you like the book, and I hope you tell your friends about it, and I hope I'm lucky enough to be supported by such incredible people for years to come.