I've been to a few events at Third Place Books before and for those not in the Seattle area, they are a huge independent bookstore that also has a large food court and commons area. (where geeks like me sometimes meet to play board games) There is a large stage area so I figured that's where the event would be but instead, it was in a smaller area in a corner of the bookstore. Positives to this location are that it is much quieter and there is a pretty cool backdrop for pictures--their wall of first editions, rare, and collectible books. The negative? It is totally awkwardly intimate. You can't have a conversation with people without having a conversation with everyone at the event and the authors are about 5 feet from your face when we were taking pictures. As to the first negative, two other event-goers and I were discussing how much we often hate book trailers. While some are well done, we were talking about how having real people in them often ruins the imagination element of fun to reading a book because the publisher's vision of the characters overpowers the way we envision the characters. Anyway, after we had this discussion for five minutes or so, the event started... and we had watch each of the trailers for the six books as part of the author introductions. (as well as listen to the song that was commissioned for the tour) *crickets* Of course, as much as I did not enjoy that aspect of the event I'm sure others probably loved it.
After each book trailer, the author would talk a little bit about their book. The first was Emmy Laybourne. I was so excited to see what she was like in real life because one of my sisters and I watch Superstar probably twenty times a year and she played Molly Shannon's best friend in that movie. Laybourne spoke about the premise of her book, Monument 14, in which a group of young people gets stuck in a Target-type superstore while all sorts of disasters are happening in the outside world. She said she is often asked how she can subject children to such awful things, especially as
Anna Banks spoke next about her debut novel, Of Poseidon. When asked why she wrote about mermaids, she joked that her go-to answer is that, "She didn't think that the YA market was ready for a Sasquatch story yet." (later, Lish McBride informed everyone that there is a sasquatch character in her upcoming, Necromancing the Stone named Sexy Gary.) The general consensus (General Consensus *salute*(HIMYM)) of the audience was that Banks should write a sasquatch story.
Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck, which is the only standalone among the bunch, then spoke about what inspired her to write her debut work. Turns out Bosworth is another Discovery Channel/TLC special addict and she saw a show about a man who'd been repeatedly struck by lightning and thought it would be cool to write a book about a lightning addict. To the aforementioned "keeping at it" question, Bosworth talked about how many times she rewrote her entire story and talked about how she even wrote an entire book that didn't work, removed all the characters (or some of them), then just planted them down and wrote them into a new book. She said the most important thing to remember is to think about
Author of Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo, was next to discuss her book. She talked about how hard it can be to query high fantasy books but how she gained a bit of confidence and the process became easier after she realized how amazing (and popular) the Song of Ice and Fire books are. Bardugo mentioned that it is important for aspiring writers to never follow the trends. The process is long and you should write what you love and the industry will catch up to you. She was inspired to write her book after she went on a trip to the mountains with friends. In the middle of the night, alone and in the dark ("country dark, not city dark"), she heard someone breathing and realized she wasn't alone in the room. She started freaking out and then realized it was so quiet that she didn't realize it was her own breathing. Then she wondered what it would be like if that scary darkness was actually a place, and worked that into her novel as the Shadow Fold.
I am so excited to read the upcoming second book by Lish McBride. I truly enjoyed her humorous debut novel, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, which she talked about at the event. People often ask her why she, as a female, chose to write a book with a male MC, which she answered with, "Why do people ask this? Do they ask people who write about werewolves, 'Well, you're not a werewolf so why are you writing a werewolf point of view?'" I thought that was a pretty funny response. She said that it is a bit harder to find representation and to be published if your main character is male in the young adult realm but she was firmly "Yay people in general." What sex your narrator is shouldn't be a huge issue and I think we all wish that every cover didn't need to have some girl in a dress on it to sell. McBride also joked about how many people don't know what a necromancer is. Of course my mind went the necrophilia route on this one and I think a few other audience members thought the same thing after McBride joked about people asking her, "you wrote WHAT?" The example she gave, though, was about a man who thought the word romance was contained in necromancer and therefore thought she'd written a romance novel. Someone in the audience asked whether every chapter title in her book was a song lyric and she said that even her first book title is based on a song. When she said that her second book title was based on a movie title, Leigh Bardugo made sure to point out that there is, in fact, a song from the movie with the same title. (They said it was Billy Ocean but it is Eddy Grant. Billy Ocean does sing a song from the sequel, Jewel of the Nile) She also noted that there is a playlist for the book available on her website.
Lish McBride talked about how natural it is to have writer's jealousy and to feel like so many authors are just so good at what they do that it can be intimidating. When she started grad school, she was in awe of the skill of some of her classmates but when she finished her book and it was published, she actually ended up blurbing the book of one of those classmates. (Jen Violi's Putting Makeup On Dead People) In that vein, a particularly notable audience member (Seriously the smartest 10 or 11 year old ever. Anna Banks joked about getting his autograph because she was pretty certain he will be famous) asked what to do when you are just in shock because you've finished a phenomenal book. He said his friends are sick of him talking about how amazing Brian Selznick's Wonderstruckand The Invention of Hugo Cabret are but he can't imagine how to find something as amazing when you can't imagine that anything will be as great. (I know, right, this kid has more passion than many readers I know! I wrote "this kid is amazing" in my notes.) The most memorable answer for me was Jennifer Bosworth's, as she talked about having the same feeling about the books of Gillian Flynn, who I know my cobloggers love. She said that when you find an author like that, there is no one who can give the exact same feeling as reading one of their books will, and that's normal. She advised him to go somewhere completely different--try a new genre because anything too similar and he will just be comparing it to Selznick. (the authors also mentioned that he should try Diana Wynne Jones and also to ask his local librarians and booksellers)
An audience member asked what book each author wished they'd written. Laybourne said that her favorite book of all time is Plainsong by Kent Haruf. She said that if she'd written that, she'd confidently lay down and go straight to heaven. Anna Banks said she is jealous of a lot of authors and was going to pass on the question because she couldn't think of one specific book but then she changed her mind and said, "Shatter Me. I hate that girl, she's such a good author." Bosworth spoke about Gillian Flynn's book Sharp Objects and Marissa Meyer chose Markus Zusak's The Book Thief and talked about how he has at least one sentence on every page that makes her wonder how he has such a magical way with words. Bardugo talked about how Bosworth recently said something along the lines of "every author writes the story that only they can write," and how true she believes that is. That said, she then talked about how she has no idea how George R.R. Martin writes the way he does. She said that after she finished what there was of the series when she started, she didn't write for two months. Lish McBride said she'd love to be able to write Neil Gaiman or to just live inside Terry Pratchett's mind for a bit. (who wouldn't?!) She also loves that Laini Taylor is able to get away with such poetic language in her books.
Music in the commons started to play near the end and Laybourne joked that she felt they were being played off, which got a laugh. I definitely had a great time at the event. If you are near any of the remaining Fierce Reads stops, I recommend checking them out for sure.
*Sorry there's no video in this event recap. My camera was broken about halfway. In other news, I did meet another blogger at the event, Tori from Chicks with Crossbows and here's her recap.