HTDYF Contest adorableness

The winners of Allen & Unwin’s How To Ditch Your Fairy contest have been announced. And they’re all very fabulous:

Competition Winner

Eden, QLD

“A cupcake fairy who works in the cafeteria, sprinkling naughty dust over the icing of miss populars.”

Eden sent in a photo of herself in her fairy costume. Readers, I confess, I awwwwwed. It was SO gorgeous. I wish you could have seen it. She’s wearing a teeny tiara and fuzzy wings. Even Scott awwwwed.

Competition Shortlist

Krystal, NSW

“I’d love a ‘you-can-eat-anything fairy’! To shield me from after garlic breath, big-backside affect and especially for me, dreaded hive outbreak.”

Steph, VIC

“A never-feeling-blue fairy.”

Kim, New Zealand

“The ‘I look like I’ve just stepped out of the salon’ fairy. No bad hair, face or body days.”

Kylie, VIC

“Bad fairy – I’m very innocent at times so sometimes I need a push from my bad fairy to do something a bit exciting and risky.”

I could use most of those fairies myself. Well, except for the bad fairy. I’m all over that once. Have been for years. Alas.

One of the unexpected and very happy making results of writing HTDYF is all the lovely folks who’ve written to tell me what their fairy is. Those are my favourite fan letters. Thank you!

My favourite fairy so far

Someone just wrote and told me they have a hiccup fairy. Whenever they get the hiccups this fairy makes them go away within a minute. Fabulous!

D’you know it never occurred to me when I was writing How To Ditch Your Fairy that so many people have fairies. I have enough fairies now for about a million sequels. Tis a pity I’m unlikely to be writing them.

Anyone got a fairy they haven’t told me about yet?

North American HTDYF tour winds up (Oz tour begins?)

In just a few days I’ll be back on the road—to Texas—winding up the HTDYF tour. I’ll also be promoting Love is Hell, answering all your questions, finding out what everyone’s fairy is, and converting those who need converting to the glorious ways of zombies.

Tomorrow I’ll be doing an appearance right here in Manhattan with many fantabulous authors. I did my very first YA author appearance at Books of Wonder. Way back in the olden days with Eoin Colfer and Scott. It was incredible. Peter Glassman (Books of Wonder’s proprietor) has been very good to me and Scott in the ensuing years. It’s always a pleasure to do a Books of Wonder event:

    Saturday, 15 November, 12:00PM-2:00PM
    with William Boniface, P.W. Catanese,
    Suzanne Collins, Joanne Dahme,
    Daniel Kirk, Dean Lorey, Amanda Marrone,
    Ketaki Shriram and Robin Wasserman
    Books of Wonder
    18 West 18th Street
    New York, NY

Do please join us! Also if you attend would you do me the favour of asking every author there to declare their allegiance on the zombies versus uni***n front? We have a right to know!

Then next Wednesday I will be in Austin, Texas, city of amazing food and people and music. Yum! This is my only event of the How To Ditch Your Fairy tour that includes Scott. I think we shall have fun. Not least because BookPeople is one of my fave bookshops in the entire US of A:

    Wednesday, 19 November 2008, 7:30PM
    With Scott Westerfeld
    603 N. Lamar
    Austin, Texas

And then my last event of the tour will be in gorgeous San Antonio. Land of great boots and wondrous food:

    Thursday, 20 November 2008, 7:00PM
    Barnes & Noble
    San Antonio, Texas

And thus will end my HTDYF tour.

Or will it?

Stay tuned those of you who live in Sydney and Melbourne and possibly even Perth. There’s a very good chance that in February and March I will be doing a few events at home for my fabulous Australian publisher, Allen & Unwin. Actually the Melbourne event is not a possibility anymore—it’s an actuality! More info as I gets it.

Really looking forward to meeting some more of you in the next few days and weeks! Zombie power!

I hate steam heating

Does it really need to come on at 4AM and not let up until 9AM?

Why does it have to sound like banshees being tortured by trolls? What’s with the even LOUDER clanging? That’s almost, but not quite, like the bell that tolls for thee? Or me in this case.

Am I ever going to get a good night’s sleep again?

Stupid NYC with it’s stupid steam heating. I don’t ever remember it being this loud before. Is it because I have a book due on Friday?!

I’m so TIRED! Waaaaaahhhhh!!

I wish I had a horrible-noise dampening fairy.


Yes, I am aware that steam heating is super energy efficient and good for the planet. So, no, I don’t really hate it. But if NYC wasn’t so damn cold they wouldn’t need heating. Stupid coldness.

Oops. Looks like I lied about the whinge ending.


Lots and lots of fairies

Because the talk everywhere I go is of the US election1 or of the general economic collapse I thought that I would share the rest of the YA writers’ fairies.

    Holly Black: The coffee fairy—a fairy that would make sure I always find the most delicious cup of coffee (free-trade, with milk) wheresoever I am.

    Cecil Castellucci: I’d like a fairy of perfect timing.

    I mean that in every way, from timing everything perfectly, to everything being on time, to it being the right time for things, and to telling a good story/ joke with perfect timing.

    Cassandra Clare: I have an umbrella fairy. Umbrella fairy tells me to take my umbrella, then it doesn’t rain. But I wish I had a typing fairy. Typing fairy could teach me to type with all fingers.

    Jenny Davidson: My fairy is a sense of time fairy—I always know when it is, it is easy for me to be punctual and I have a good sense of how to pace a class (use of 75 mins) or a project (use of 3 months). But I wish I could trade it in for a sense of direction fairy! Because I can get lost at the drop of a hat, it is utterly absurd, I never know where I am or how to get anywhere, I am often finding myself (though less in age of Google Maps, where foresight can largely compensate for sense of direction) on the verge of tears and not at all sure which direction I’m pointing in!

    Cory Doctorow: I wish I had an email answering fairy who knew exactly what I wanted to say to every email and took care of them all!

Cory really needs that fairy. I have seen how much email he gets: nine hundred bajillion katrillion pieces in a single day. It’s insane.

    Maureen Johnson: Right now I wish I had a Book-Finishing Fairy. Or, at the very least, a That Section Clearly Adds Nothing to the Plot Fairy. Or a Make this Suck Less Fairy. Failing that, I would accept an Answer My E-Mail Fairy or a I Will Make You the Next Doctor on Doctor Who Fairy . . . because that last one sounds kind of fun.

    Ellen Kushner: My fairy seems to be the Find Your Friends Fairy. I run into people I know on the street in foreign countries, in airports, and in restaurants.

    David Levithan: I’ll go for a Wakefulness Fairy. You know, one who would whisper something really funny or (barring that) really loud in my ears whenever my eyelids started to flutter shut in the middle of the day.

    E. Lockhart: I have a “finding things that belong to other people” fairy. If someone I live with has lost something, I can put my hands on it in a minute or two.

    Sadly, my fairy won’t actually work for me. My postal scale went missing in my house 6 months ago and hasn’t turned up yet.

    I wish for an anti-clutter fairy. Clutter is cluttering up my cluttered life.

    Jaclyn Moriarty: I think I have the fairy of relentlessly excited expectations. Every time I hear an e-mail arrive, or the telephone ring, I think something amazing is about to happen. At the moment I have a letter by my front door, to remind myself to post it, but every time I walk by the door I notice it there and get a rush of excitement. I think: ‘Somebody has slipped a mystery letter under my door! How fantastic! Who could it be?!’

    If there was a fairy that could meet my excited expectations, such as a fairy of
    regular yet surprising news of good fortune, that would be my choice.

    If not, I’d like the fairy of decisiveness.

Ooooh! I want a fairy of met expectations, too. Frabjous!

    Sarah Mlynowski: I am a hypochondriac. So the fairy I wish I had is one who would point out germs. Such as: Sarah, do not eat that chicken! It is not well cooked and is riddled with salmonella. Or, Do not shake that guy’s hand, he just went to the bathroom and did not wash it. Or, Do not sit next to that girl on the subway because she will sneeze on you and give you Diphtheria.

    I have a perky fairy. I can usually cheer friends up when they are depressed.

    Garth Nix: I have a slightly warped Punctuality Fairy. He/She/It forces me to be on time, the twist being that if I am actually late, the Punctuality Fairy will make everyone else late too, or delay my plane, or cloud my mind so that I’ve thought the meeting is earlier than it should be, so that any meeting, engagement or booking that I would have been late for by the original schedule, suddenly becomes on time.

    I have been asked many times over the years by Sydney’s State Rail to sell them my punctuality fairy so that all their late trains will suddenly become on time, but the fairy just won’t leave me. I’m hoping that HOW TO DITCH YOUR FAIRY will give me some ideas.

    Diana Peterfreund: I think I have a hat wearing fairy. I tend to look good in hats, and I never lose, sit on, or have hats blow off my head. I also don’t get hat

    I don’t know if I feed her often enough, though.

    John Scalzi: I did have a “know who is calling on the phone as soon as it rings” fairy for a while, which used to freak people out when I would pick up the phone and call them by their name without saying hello first. However, in the age of call waiting, this fairy has become far less useful than it was back in the day. Stupid advances in technology.

    I wish I had a fairy that would make bacon double cheeseburgers a slimming health food. Because that would rock.

    Robin Wasserman: My fairy is a last minute fairy, that lets me start anything at the last minute and still get it done on time. That works out rather nicely, but I suppose if I had my pick, I’d take a say the right thing fairy — which, as you might guess from the name, means that in any and every situation I’d always know exactly the right thing to say. (Perhaps this fairy would first have to kill the say the wrong thing fairy who often stops by for a visit.)

    Scott Westerfeld: I have the simile fairy. Whenever I need a cool simile to nail a dramatic moment, my fairy comes and hits me on the head like a pillowcase full of naked mole rats. Or, if I come up with a lame one like that, I pick a book from the shelf and open it at random. And, lo and behold, there’s a great simile to steal right on that page. So it’s a simile-stealing fairy as well.

    But I want a good-night’s-sleep fairy.

You can find more fairies here. And, as usual, feel free to share your own fairies.

I would like to wish everyone in the US over 18 a good voting fairy.

  1. I’m in Canada! They have their own election! Why are we still talking about the US one? Um, because it’s really important? []

A Few More Fairies + Michigan week

Time for some more YA celebrity fairies:

Lili Wilkinson is an insanely talented Australian YA writer, who is yet to be published in the US. But just you wait, it will happen any minute now. I wish I had her fairy:

My fairy would be a Getting Things Done fairy, although it often likes to take a holiday when your Procrastination fairy comes visiting. I’m pretty happy with that fairy, although I wouldn’t say no to a Keeping Things Clean fairy . . .

Melina Marchetta, best-known at home for Looking for Alibrandi and here in the US for Saving Franchesca, which I adore, wanted a retroactive fairy:

The one I wish I had when I was teaching was a Marking Fairy who would mark exam papers.

Coe Booth wrote the fabulous Tyrell, which deservedly won gazillions of prizes. I cannot wait to read her new one, Kendra. I would definitely like the fairy she wants:

Unfortunately, I’ve been saddled with the Sweet Tooth Fairy. She renders me incapable of saying no to such goodies as candy, cupcakes and ice cream—ever! I wish I had the Speed Reading Fairy, one that would let me quickly read yet still savor all the books that are currently on my ever-growing to-read list. Of course speed reading while eating ice cream, now that would be the best of both worlds!!!

Lastly, Meg Cabot, who needs no introduction because she’s, like, totally famous, not to mention being awesomeness personified:1

Honestly I don’t think I have a fairy unless it’s a fairy that makes you bump into things and lose your money with no idea where it went, but I think your fairies are nice ones, not mean ones, so I guess I would like to pick a fairy I wish I had: I wish I had a fairy who would help me find the perfect outfit every time I went shopping like Ro’s stylist fairy! Because whenever I go shopping I can never find anything that goes together. I NEED a shopping fairy like Ro’s! She’s so lucky. I wish I lived in New Avalon. It sounds like the perfect place.

Everyone wants Ro’s clothes shopping fairy. I know I do and at yesterday’s event it was by far the most requested fairy.

A fairy that makes you bump into things and lose money is not a fairy, it is a curse. Best avoided. I was going to include curses in HTDYF but it was too complicated and would have made the book twice the size. I once knew this guy who had a restaurant curse. He was invisible to wait staff even when he had a red mohawk. When they finally saw him they always get his order wrong. It’s bizarre.

I digress.

You can find other fairies here. Feel free to keep sharing yours over here or in the comments to this post, or on your own blog, or wherever you want.

Please to find my touring schedule for this week:

How To Ditch Your Fairy Tour 2008: Part the Second: Michigan

Tuesday, 30 September 2008, 7:00PM
Schuler Books & Music
3165 Alpine Ave
Walker, MI

Wednesday, 1 October 2008, 4:00PM
Pooh’s Corner
Breton Village
1886 1/2 Breton Rd. S.E.
Grand Rapids, MI

Thursday, 2 October 2008, 7:00PM
With Kathe Koja and Michael Spradlin
Oak Park Public Library
14200 Oak Park Boulevard
Oak Park, MI

I’m especially looking forward to that last event. I much prefer doing events with other writers. Also I’m really excited about meeting Kathe Koja. I’ve been a Koja fan since her debut, The Cipher, back in 1991.

There will also be a tonne of school appearances. Some of them at the very crack of dawn. I would like to issue a disclaimer: I am not a morning person. Seriously, I’m really really really not a morning person. You have been warned.

  1. No, I haven’t met her. I can just tell, okay? []

More fairies + two events this week

Because you deserve it, some more YA author fairies for your delectation:

Penni Russon, author of the wondrous Undine trilogy, has a most useful fairy:

I have a voice recognition fairy – with her help I can always pick out celebrity voices in animations. As you might imagine this is a very useful skill and has served me well on numerous occasions.

I wish I had a zen master fairy to help with the parenting of the children.

Lauren Myracle, author of the amazing and terrifying Bliss, had this to say when I asked her what her fairy is:

My Starbucks fairy simply loves Starbucks and steers me toward one EVERY DAY, regardless of any opinion *I* might have on the matter. And makes me order mochas, which aren’t really coffee at all, and which do not have the benefits of wheatgrass. 😉

Personally I would rather die than have that fairy. Coffee? *Shudder*

Alaya Johnson, author of the wonderful, Racing the Dark,1 desires a much better fairy:

I’d like a cooking fairy. Specifically, I want one that specializes in making injera, because if there’s a way to cook that Ethiopian flatbread of unbelievable deliciousness without magical intervention, I’d like to know it. I have spent many hours in the kitchen, fermenting and stirring and scraping, and the best I’ve come up with resembles sour construction paste. Yuck!

I have also tried and failed to cook injera. Le sigh.

Click here to see other YA writers’ fairies.

If you want to tell me about your fairies and you’re in the Philadelphia or NYC area you can do so at the following events:

Wednesday, 24 September, 7:00PM
Big Blue Marble Bookstore
551 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia, PA

Saturday, 27 September 2008, 1:00PM
Voracious Reader
1997 Palmer Ave
Larchmont, NY

For those NYCers who’ve been complaining that I’m not doing any events in the city, Larchmont is a mere twenty minutes away from Grand Central Station and the Voracious Reader is a mere five minutes from the station. Easy peasy.

Hope to meet some of you soon!

  1. Hey, Alaya, when are we going to get the sequel? []

What’s your fairy? (Redux)

A while back I asked my faithful blog readers what their fairy is or what fairy they wanted. Twas a popular post so in honour of the imminent publication of my latest book, How To Ditch Your Fairy, set in a world where almost everyone has a personal fairy, I asked these questions of a tonne of writers. I’ll be sharing their answers with you over the next few months.

Here’s what John Green, multiple-award winning author and all-round good guy, had to say:

The fairy I most wish I had at the moment is the Dog Whisperer fairy, because then I would understand why Willy just peed inside.

I seem to have something of a Spare Change fairy. I find an unusual amount of spare change, and it’s almost always heads up. Thanks, fairy! (Although I do rather wish you specialized in hundred-dollar bills.)

Lauren McLaughlin, debut author of the absolutely wonderful Cycler,1 answered thus:

I think the fairy I would most like to have is a noise canceling fairy. Not, mind you, a fairy that made me temporarily deaf, but rather a fairy that would eliminate any sound I didn’t want to hear.

The fairy I think I have is the neatness fairy. Not so grand, but it’s something.

I so don’t have either of those fairies. Though I think the noise cancelling one is a superb idea. How about you guys? Any of you gotten any new fairies since last I asked? Any of you longing for a particular fairy? Do share!

Note: Being on the road—I did my first appearance of the tour today—means not getting to my email or responding to comments. Sorry. I do love you all. I is just busy. And the appearance today? Fabulous! More on that later.

  1. Why haven’t you read it?! Go forth and read! []

What’s Your Fairy?

My new novel, How To Ditch Your Fairy, is set in a world where almost everyone has a personal fairy. My protag, Charlie, has a parking fairy (which she hates because she’s only fourteen and doesn’t drive and doesn’t like cars), her best friend has a clothes-shopping fairy, and her arch enemy has an all-boys-will-like-you fairy.

So what’s your fairy?

Or what fairy would you like to have?