The topic, not so surpringsly, changed to a discussion of "darkness" in young adult literature and the authors each addressed their feelings on the issue, though they mostly agreed that they go where the story leads them. Derting said she didn't add anything dark gratuitously and doubted that other authors do either. Mafi stated that she doesn't really feel like anything in her book is "edgy," more that she stayed true to her character's voice. Rossi made a good point that what is appropriate for one person may not be appropriate for another in terms of violence, romance, or anything else and Cynthia Hand piggybacked on this by saying (and I agree with her sentiment) that it is rarely the teenagers who are complaining about darkness in YA--it is the adult readers.
An audience member asked a very insightful (and nicely worded) question about how to take that jump from writing for fun to actually attempting to get published. Tahereh Mafi spoke about how she has always been just a huge, huge reader. To her, J.K. Rowling and some other authors are amazing and the Potterverse is so close to her heart. When reading the books, she was in awe that someone could write something so amazing; How could she do something like writing a novel? When she started working after college, she found she had a lot of free time so she started writing and when she finished her first draft, she basically Googled the crap out of anything and everything to figure out what came next.
- Veronica Rossi is a painter and works mostly with oils.
- Kimberly Derting and Cynthia Hand share an editor
- When Cynthia Hand sees an error in a finished copy, she likes to think that all the people who read through it (and there are MANY) just got so wrapped up in the story and missed it.
- Rossi sometimes uses a text-to-speech app to listen to her book during the revision process because it is a change in perspective.