Day in the Life: Graci Kim

It’s time to look into a day in the life of another Aotearoa book creator! New York Times bestselling author Graci Kim reveals all the hardships of being on tour.

A day in the life of an author, you ask?

Well, when I’m not on tour or doing author talks, my day usually starts by getting changed from my sleeping PJs into my “working PJs”. Please note this is an official and important start to the writing day, because [insert flabbergasted expression], a professional writer cannot be expected to work in the attire one sleeps in, after all!

The limited hours in which the spawn is at daycare is then split between throwing colourful language and questionable gestures at my laptop, and regular walks to the rapidly depleting snacks pantry. As you can imagine, this daily routine would be much too enthralling—definitely too rousing—to share publicly. One has to maintain an aura of decorum, of course. This is a family-friendly website, is it not?

Graci Kim, being decorus

Instead, I have decided to share a day in the life of an author on tour, which I suspect is a lot more measured and restrained than the former. No need to thank me. We’ll keep things PG. I respect your need to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

So right to it—my recent trip to the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in San Antonio began with the discovery that everything is, indeed, always bigger in Texas. For breakfast, I ordered the oatmeal, then decided I probably needed some fruit on the side. Regular intake of dietary fibre is compulsory while travelling, as we know. What you see below is my gigantuous “side” of fruit, which came with a cup of granola and an entire pot of yoghurt. Needless to say, I got my fibre quota for the day. And then some.

The other novel phenomenon of being an author on tour, of course, is that one must actually commune with other human beings. I know. It’s wild really, the expectations placed on the modern-day writer! So alas, I had to prepare my face and hair for “outside contact”.

What you see below is the transformation one must unfortunately endure—the hefty price one must pay for pursuing such a strange relic of a hermit-becoming career.

At this point, I would like to say a small prayer to the gods of heatless curling rods. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the bounties you have bestowed on this humble world.

Coming from Auckland, you’d think I was prepared for the humidity. But I should’ve brought a knife with me, because the San Antonio air was so thick, I needed a blade to cut through it. I blame airport security for their unnecessary rigidity to the rules or such like

Despite my complete lack of direction, I managed to stumble into the Henry B Gonzalez Convention Centre, which to my trained eye looked larger than the Auckland International Airport (see, things really are bigger in Texas). And inside, I was promptly decorated with a medal (what do you mean, it’s just a lanyard?? Go get your glasses!) for my efforts in selling parts of my soul to become an author.

I was quickly shepherded to a ballroom full of Texas librarians who had gathered to “speed date” a group of authors. For the next hour and a half, I was paraded between tables every ten minutes in search of my true love-rarians.

I will admit, librarian monogamy may not be my strong suit. I may or may not fallen in love with pretty much every single librarian I met. And no, I will not apologise for my poly-love-rarian tendencies.

Once I’d recovered from falling in love so profusely in such a short amount of time, I went to visit my publishing whānau at the Disney booth. I felt like a kid in a lolly shop, drooling at all the undiscovered books surrounding me, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. It’s no exaggeration when I say it took all my willpower to not snatch the books from the librarians’ hands as they walked away armed with literary goodies. I suspected my publisher wouldn’t look too favourably on one of their authors getting charged with a criminal offense. Shrug.

Instead, I reluctantly focused my energies on falling in love with even more librarians as they came to ask about my new series. “It’s called Dreamslinger,” I explained, as I handed out printed chapter samplers. “It’s coming out next year, in 2025.”

“Think X-Men meets Pokémon. Where a subsection of the population is born with a genetic mutation that allows them to travel to their dreams—literally. The Asleep is full of unimaginable magic. You can even catch dream creatures that give you specific superpowers in the Awake. I know. Sounds cool. Except our main character Aria’s mum was killed by a dreamslinger attack. So Aria enters the Annual Slinger Trials to tear the organisation down from the inside… only to learn a whole lot more about herself, her family, and her magic than she’d ever bargained for.”

I was then advised that I was late for a panel discussion with #1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken, #1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins, and New York Times bestselling author Jodi Meadows. Oh. Right. Sure. NO PRESSURE.

Despite their combined luminary successes making me regret not having worn my sunnies, the discussion on standalones versus series was rather eclectic and enjoyable. Did I mention I fell in love with even more librarians in the audience? Why are librarians such a lovable species? They should come with a warning—Librarian Incoming: Protect Thy Heart.

I was then told to sit at a table with a Sharpie poised and ready, since I had to earn my keep. What good is an author if she doesn’t suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome or a strained wrist, after all. I expected to spend most of the time practicing my Sharpie twirling technique (the true reason for my wrist issues, alas). But the line kept growing, and they made me work hard, signing non-stop for the full hour. I had hoped with all my might the alternative, but it’s true—there really is no such thing as a free lunch.

Just when I thought Disney would use their last wish to set me free, they forced me to partake in a refreshing cocktail by the San Antonio Riverwalk. I will admit, it was hard. Gruelling, if truth must be uttered. I mean, the things one must endure for this job! Not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

Naturally, I then proceeded to stumble back into my hotel room (which I miraculously found after only being lost for half an hour) to crawl, exhausted, into bed, in preparation for the next day’s events.

You think that was a ride? Imagine if I’d regaled you of tales of my daily routine at home in my working PJs! You wouldn’t have even made it to the end of this article. Like I said, I always have your blood pressure interests at heart. You’re welcome.

Graci Kim

Graci Kim is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the Gifted Clans series: The Last Fallen Star, The Last Fallen Moon, and The LastFallen Realm. Featured in TIME Magazine for Kids, and dubbed a “sparkling yarn” by Entertainment Weekly, the Korean mythology-inspired trilogy is being translated into multiple languages.

The Last Fallen Star was named a 2021 Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Best Children’s Book, an Amazon Best Book, an Indigo Best Book, a Barnes & Noble Young Reader Pick, and a Whitcoulls’ Kids Top 50. In 2022, Graci was awarded the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best New Talent. The first book in her new fantasy series, Dreamslinger, pitched as X-Men meets Pokémon - will be published in mid 2025.

In a previous life, Graci was a New Zealand diplomat, a cooking show host, and once ran a business that turned children’s drawings into cuddly toys. She now lives in Aotearoa New Zealand with her husband and daughter.