It's 3 p.m. on the first full day of Book Expo, the big book convention happening at the Los Angeles Convention Center until Sunday, and everyone's ready for a nap. In the foodcourt outside Exhibit Hall K, the woman at the table next to me falls asleep, her glasses slipping down her nose. A dapper man in a linen suit and straw fedora slumbers in his chair on the outside terrace between Exhibit spaces, shaded by a concrete embankment. The convention is not boring. Far from it. Yet a feeling of languor bathes the activity. Perhaps it's the brightness or the warmth of the hall. Everyone looks flushed as they dart about holding bulging bags full of books and press materials. I feel like a gold fish in a bowl placed in a shaft of sunlight.
"You have the best spot in the place," I joke to my friend Bonni Hamilton. Sales Director at Red Wheel Weiser Conari, whose booth is located directly underneath an air conditioning vent. Then I'm off, back into throngs streaming down the aisles. I hurry from meeting to meeting anxious about the time but too insecure to peep at my watch while engaging an editor in conversation. I take a moment at the Sourcebooks, Inc. booth to gush like a fangirl to the romance editor, babbling about my love for Linda Berdoll's Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife. Then I'm off again. I scurry past a long line of people awaiting author autographs. I turn to see who has attracted so many fans and see Los Angeles author Janelle Brown sitting with several other authors, ready to greet her fans. I congratulate her about the publication of her debut novel, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, and we barely have time to catch up before my next meeting.
At this point, all I want is to sit down. Next stop, the Biltmore bar.