Mrs. Nelson’s Bookstore in La Verne, CA on Monday, February 2013
Last week, I found myself hauling through rush hour traffic in Southern California to get to this amazing author event. It was rather closer to me, but when you live in SoCal, an 18 mile drive can take anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour. But, I'm going to see authors, so I'm not complaining. =} Lucky for me, I had my book friend Rachel from The Readers Den save me a seat, which not only gave me a chance to catch up with her on our book gossip for the week, but also enjoy the event.
For this author event, I had the pleasure of attending The Breathless Reads Tour hosted by Penguin Books at Mrs. Nelson’s Bookstore in La Verne, California. I love this little quaint store, and I find myself visiting it quite often because no matter how big the author names, I can always count on an intimate setting where there’s plenty of opportunity for interaction with the authors.
There were four awesome authors in the panel, including:
Jessica Khoury author of Origin, Marie Lu author of Legend, Brenna Yovanoff author of Paper Valentine, and Andrea Cremer author of Nightshade
There was an editor from a neighboring newspaper at the event that hosted the question and answer session of the event. I have to say, I loved her pre-selected questions because they gave me a TON of insight into this group of authors that ranged from influences to book crushes to advice for aspiring authors. So let me share with you what I learned.
The authors were asked what were some of the unexpected challenges they face in writing that they never would have anticipated prior to entering this profession. Marie Lu mentioned how it surprises her that half of the year is spent not writing, but rather participating in author events and engaging in social media to spread the word about her books. She goes from a solitary situation to a social situation, which has been both fun and interesting.
They were then asked how trends and pop culture play a part in their writing and it seemed like the consensus was that it is always part of their subconscious but as Andrea Cremer put it, she tries not to let the issues “trump her story.” She did mention that music plays a significant part in her writing and she produces a playlist for her books.
When the author panel was asked if they ever had an issue “reigning the story in” for the sake of their YA audience, I had to smile at Brenna Yovanoff’s honesty that her first drafts are always rather violent and the “reining in” happens at the editing stage. She refuses to reign in the emotional aspect of her stories because she feels they need to be authentic to her style. They did seem to be in agreement that today’s writing is not getting racier, but rather today’s authors are making an honest attempt to address current topics. They feel their YA audience knows what’s real and what’s not, so the best approach is to be truthful in their writing because their readers seem to appreciate that.. for the most part.
One of my favorite questions of the night was if the panel could pick an author to have dinner with, who they would choose. My favorite response came from Andrea Cremer. She picked Neil Gaiman and went on to share her obsession that’s not really an obsession as far as she's concerned, ~emphatic nod~ but really she has an obsession over this man. I loved her animated approach to answering this question and my only advice to Neil Gaiman is if he bumps into her at the grocery store ~whispers~ it’s not accident. Just saying… J
One of the final questions centered around advice to up and coming authors. I always enjoy this question as well, not because I’m a writer (which I’m not BTW), but it shows how authors have grown from their experience and what they hope to impart on the newbies. My favorite response came from Jessica Khoury who shared that as it’s always good to do plenty of reading and writing as part of your profession, it’s also important to put the pen down and engage in the real world where you can “have your own adventures” and visit new places. By building your repertoire of experiences… that’s where your story begins. Loved that piece of advice!!
As I mentioned, this event was well attended but still quite intimate, so it really allowed the readers to chat with the authors when the book signing began. At the beginning of the event, I received an event postcard, which I was able to get signed by all four attending authors. I will be including this author keepsake with my giveaway. So let me tell you about that.
So, I have to share that I had the pleasure of borrowing Rachel’s Prodigy book before it was released and read that fantastical book. I had no intention of getting another copy of the book for myself. However, as Rachel knows, I’m easily influenced and all she had to do was show me the pretty colors, beveled edges and gorgeous layout and I found myself running up to the register and buying myself a copy. Thanks Rachel, it looks pretty on my shelf. Good call! J
For one lucky follower, I was able to get a copy of BOTH Legend AND Prodigy signed by Marie Lu as well as a copy of Paper Valentine signed by Brenna Yovanoff. One lucky WinterHaven follower will get all THREE books and the signed Author Keepsake card. Just fill out the rafflecopter and share a thoughtful comment of the event or about these authors/books. Good luck!!