December 4th, 2011

I’ve been home for a week, so it’s time I got around to writing about my trip to Chicago. I had two spare days before the conference started, so spent them being a tourist (when I wasn’t trying to prop my eyes open from the effects of jet-lag).

Looking down from the skydeck

Chicago is an unexpectedly beautiful city. People told me this before I went, and they were right. It is also VERY COLD! The wind that comes off the lake bites right through to your bones, and all you can do is put your head down and laugh with the shock of it. Consequently I spent quite a lot of time indoors, at museums, and at the 103-storey skydeck, where you can stand on glass and look straight down to the streets below. Made my stomach feel decidedly odd.

Centennial Park

But there are also really nice parks and statues and old skyscrapers, and the whole thing was an odd mixture of familiar (because I’ve seen it all in film and on TV) and strange (because it was very different from Tasmania).

The El (elevated railway) adds a nice bit of steam-punk to the whole thing, with its noise and its rust and its clanking carriages. Overseas travel is of course really just an excuse for finding new and interesting ways of making an idiot of yourself, and the first time I travelled on the El it took four people – FOUR PEOPLE! – to show me the right way to put my ticket into the machine. (The way I was trying to do it made sense at the time, but perhaps I was a wee bit jet-lagged …)

With Adrienne Waintraub and Lisa Nadel from Random House

The English teachers’ conference was huge – the Hilton swelled at the seams to accommodate thousands of teachers, professors, booksellers and authors. I spoke about creativity, visited a school, did a couple of signings (one at the Random House stall) and tried hard to understand people’s accents when I talked to them  in the lift (this was mainly a problem with southerners). I met authors Jennifer Holm and Kirby Larson, who were both exceptionally nice, and we discovered that we share an American agent, Jill Grinberg. And of course I brought stacks of books home with me!

Now I’m settling back into normal life again, working on the new book, trying to see how much of it I can get written before Christmas (not nearly enough).

And here’s my quote of the week – or perhaps of the year. ‘Any writer who knows what he’s doing isn’t doing much.’ Nelson Algren


28 thoughts on “Chicago

  1. Hannah says:

    Wow you were up high!!!!! It looked like a lot of fun!!!!

  2. Mia says:

    I would have looked down, and died of fright. Your’ve brave! i wouldnt have been able to do that! Dont worry about ticket machines, once my grandmother was trying to put hers in and she jammed the machine, ripped her ticket, and had to ask the man at the help desk for a new one. Im sure anyone there would have had the same problem with the accents in Australia! Once i was in the store with my mom, and a bunch of British exchange students walked in and started yelling at one another over the aisles, and i turned to my mom and said ‘Mom, its the british invasion’ one of them heard and started laughing, but my mom was so embarased she made us leave….leason learned!

    1. Lian says:

      🙂 🙂

  3. Hannah says:

    I would have been soooo scared!!!!!!!

    1. Lian says:

      Hannah, I’m quite sure that both you and Mia would have been out there with me, standing on the glass. It was actually scarier thinking about it than doing it – and I am usually dreadful with heights. I think because it was enclosed, it wasn’t as frightening. If there had just been a railing that you could look over, I wouldn’t have been anywhere near that edge!

  4. Hannah says:

    If I was not near the edge than I might have done it. : )

  5. S.M.T says:

    Wow… looks like you had a lot of fun there, Lian! Well, i kind of miss Chicago since I was born there and i lived there for seven years… I still call it my home town, even though I’m not even American. 🙂

    1. Lian says:

      I’m not surprised you miss it. It’s a very nice city.

  6. Hannah says:

    I have only been there once with my dad. It was beautiful!!!!!!!!!

  7. Katie M. says:

    It’s always a fun trip as long as you miss traffic rush hour. I love going to the art museum every time I’m there. I take a sketchbook and just draw away in the Impressionists’ rooms.

    1. Lian says:

      Yes, I got stuck in rush hour twice – once when I was coming back from the school visit, and once on my way to the airport, when I was leaving. It was pretty horrendous. And lots of people told me about the art museum, but I didn’t get there, unfortunately. I DID however manage a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry – thought I’d spend my morning there, then do something else in the afternoon. Ha! It took the whole day, and I was completely entranced by it. What a wonderful museum!

  8. Jessi says:

    Hai lian…thats fantastic books…i love them. they`re realy realy great and i ask of it give more … im a realy fan of you and bitt of answere
    thanks for lisening

    1. Lian says:

      Hi Jessi, thanks for your nice comments and it’s great to hear from a reader in Germany. There will certainly be another book coming out this year, and hopefully more in years to come!

    2. Jessi says:

      thanks for infomation mrs tanner she are my favourita atour.
      And these English is fantastic how do you do?

      1. Lian says:

        I am very proud to be your favourite author, Jessi! 🙂

    3. Jessi says:

      thanks and im happy that it yougive z.b. cornelia funke and ullysess moore great to but the stories with goldie was the fantastics. you are my vorbild and i am will so intention why you
      and your cat is realy realy pretty 😉

    4. jessi says:

      i have an ask lian…can i nam one of your book for a school prensentation?

      1. Lian says:

        Yes, Jessi, you certainly can. I would be honoured!

    5. jessi says:

      The presentation was great i have an 1… im happy and thank you that i have nam your book… i like it more than before

      1. Lian says:

        Hi Jessi, I’m so glad the presentation went well. I’m sure you deserved your high mark!

    6. Jessi says:

      lian hai
      heres jessi
      it was a long time that ich scrib with you…:) you’ve been progress made ​​with band 3 by goldie cox?
      I have a lot of interesting ideas but it’s not your book my …
      apropos book I currently compose his own book, I’m rather zwa draw better but my German teacher says I have great talent, I hope I can even imagine it … it gives me great honor Währe

      With best regards jessi

      1. Lian says:

        Hi Jessi, good to hear from you again. Yes, book 3 is finished and it’s coming out in Australia and the USA in October. I don’t think the German publishers have bought it yet, but we’re hoping they will soon. So I am unable to tell you when it will come out in Germany. I’m glad that you’re doing some writing of your own, and that your teacher thinks you have talent. That’s very encouraging!

    7. Jessi says:

      yes I also denle. We had stories read to one and I got a little competitive u8nd ngeld … Australia maybe I’m flying again and get myself a 3 book … the third for the I tied doing everything … and I can not sit still until I have it ^ ^

  9. Lily says:

    WOOOOOOOOW. Wholy moly my gut dropped just looking at the picture of the sky glass! Looks like fun. One question. Did you see any inspirations for your books while you where in chicago? Don’t tell what they are if there are any, but did you?

    1. Lian says:

      Hmm, interesting question, Lily. And the answer is, yes, I DID see one huge inspiration, which I won’t tell anyone about, but which is tucked away in the back of my mind, slowly cooking. No idea when I’ll get to it, but I’m pretty sure it’ll turn up in a book one day.

  10. Lily says:

    Thats good. When that book comes out, I have read it and told you I have read it, will you tell me?

    1. Lian says:

      Yep, but I reckon it’s some distance away. I’ve got a few other books to write before that one even gets a look-in. But that’s fine. Some books need to be cooked for a long time. 🙂

  11. Lily says:

    “Some books need to be cooked for a long time” is now in my note book *beams* under the title “Pro advise”. That’ll be useful.

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