New York native Cara Lynn Shultz is here talking about her experiences at BEA (she signed in 2011 and 2012) as well as some great things to know about her hometown. While she won't be at BEA this year (a fact that deeply saddens me as her two novels Spellbound and Spellcaster are two of my all time favorites), that didn't stop her from taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer some of my questions.
1.) How many years have you attended BEA?
I attended BEA twice—the first time to sign copies of Spellbound ARCs, and the second time to sign copies of Spellcaster.
2.) What did you do when you weren't signing books?
The first time I attended BEA, I didn’t really know many people in the book world—BEA was one of my first “official” events as an author, so when I was done with the signing, I walked around and checked out the displays. It can be a little overwhelming at first, I won’t lie. The second year, I made plans to meet up with people that I had gotten to know through Twitter, so it felt like much more of a social event.
3.) What's your favorite BEA memory?
All of my favorite BEA memories involve meeting people, so it’s hard to pick one specific moment out. Getting to spend time with people I previously only knew from their Twitter names was awesome. (*cough* like you *cough*)
4.) What's the craziest thing you've heard happened at BEA?
I haven’t heard of anything particularly crazy happening. No one went streaking through the quad or anything like that.
5.) As a native New Yorker, what are some experiences people must have when visiting NYC?
There’s the usual touristy stuff people should do if they’ve never been to NYC before: See a Broadway show, have a proper slice of pizza (NOT at Sbarro, you’re better off putting ketchup on cardboard), visit the Met/MOMA, see the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building all lit up, etc.
If you get a chance, head over to Central Park to see Belvedere Castle, which is my absolute favorite part of the park. I actually used to hang out there in high school, which is why I wrote it into Spellbound.
BEA is in a pretty isolated area, so I’d say head north a few blocks into Hell’s Kitchen, which is where I grew up. There are a lot of great restaurants on Ninth Avenue. Avoid eating at any of the chains in Times Square. You’re in New York—don’t eat at Applebee’s.
Not too far from Javits is the High Line, which is fun for an afternoon stroll. Also near BEA is Sleep No More, which is an interactive performance that reinterprets Macbeth with a Hitchcock angle, if that makes any sense. It’s pretty amazing.
If you’re in the mood for something strange in the neighborhood, head to 14 N. Moore St. and take a photo in front of the Ghostbusters fire house.
If you feel like leaving the island of Manhattan, consider seeing a Yankees game (yay!) or a Mets game (ew!), or heading out to Coney Island. But bring aspirin—the Cyclone will give you a headache.
One of my favorite things to do with people (who are of age) is take them for a drink at Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station. It’s an old-timey cocktail bar in what was once the private office of an old ‘20s tycoon. It’s beautiful. Once you step inside, you feel like you’ve gone back in time to an age where men wore hats that didn’t have sports logos on them. And it’s not too far from the NY Public Library—if you’re attending BEA, I don’t need to explain why that’s an attractive place to visit!