Debra Driza recounted how in her family her sister was always known as the best writer so she never really felt like she could go there, which Dan Wells played off of in his answer by saying that he "always knew he could be better than everyone else." (Obviously he was kidding!) Wells always knew he wanted to be a writer but he didn't believe he could make a career out of it. He said that the person who really changed his beliefs was Dave Wolverton, well-known fantasy author, who told a class that Wells was part of that you can make a living as an artist. Kiersten White always thought she'd write as a hobby. A professor once told her that the only way to make money in publishing is to write a cookbook. Paranormalcy, which ended up as her first published novel, was actually the fourth she'd written.
Lauren Oliver said that the character of Raven in the Delirium series is partially inspired by her younger sister who is a total badass. She said she is very sad to end her series because she is very invested in the stories. Someone on Twitter asked if she would provide more closure to the series eventually, to which Oliver responded that her favorite books growing up were the ones that left a world open. If a story was completely closed off, she felt bereft. She said she doesn't feel like it's her job to answer every question. Her job is to introduce you to a world and characters. You learn who they are and who they want to be--she wants to show that her characters are always in flux and transforming in one way or another. When she writes a book, she writes the first and last chapter so she knows where the character is starting and where they will end up so she has a guide. She said writing the overall series has been very cathartic for her. Before starting the book, she lost a significant other to substance abuse and she constantly wondered why she couldn't be good enough for him to stay alive. As the series continued, she was able to fall in love again and is now engaged so the entire series has brought her through very pivotal events in her life.
The moderator asked Debra Driza what Mila could do that she wishes she could do, which Driza answered with another reference to killing someone with a hair dryer. (At this point, I realized I will probably have to read this book, not because I really care all that much about the hair dryer scene, but because I want to know what else happens.) Her real answer, however, was that Mila can see, whereas Driza is legally blind. An audience member asked Dan Wells if it was true that some real life friends of his were in every book he writes. He said that the same two friends show up and one of them always lives and the other always dies.
At this point in my notes, I took a break to tell my future self how much I don't care about romance in books, nor do I care about characters with which I am unfamiliar. I just want to hear about the story. Thanks, past me. Also, on a more relevant note, I wrote down that these authors actually seemed to enjoy each other's company and support each other's work, which was nice to witness. In a very non-me move, I must not have been paying much attention at this point of the event because I can't make heads or tails of my usually well-written notes. I have a joke that Kiersten White made about YA being more "32 Shades of Grey" than Fifty, and also a note about how she loves Logan from Veronica Mars and that the show has great storytelling. Why didn't I listen more?!
Next up, the authors were asked what character they would choose to be their sidekick? The answers:
Debra Driza - Buffy (though several members on the panel warned her against this as many of Buffy's friends end up dead!)
Dan Wells - The Baroness from G.I. Joe
Claudia Gray - Professor X, on the off chance that he might be played by James McAvoy
Kiersten White - Harry Potter
Lauren Oliver - Hermione Granger
And that, my bookish friends, is another long-winded recap.
Have any of you been to other stops for Dark Days Winter Tour 2013? What did you think?