Thursday, February 14, 2013

Breathless Reads Tour Stop at Mrs. Nelson's Toy and Book Shop

I once again made the trek out to a book signing, although the drive wasn't too bad and besides I was really excited to hang out with my blogging friends and see all the people from the lovely indie book store! Crystal, Thuy, Kimberly, Laura and I met at this cute Italian restaurant beforehand to talk about books and our plans to go to the ALA Conference in Vegas next year! When we got to the bookstore, we met with the authors before and figured out how the whole thing was going to work with the questions and such. Technically Thuy and Kimberly were the official bloggers (in fact, I forgot my camera, so most of the pictures here are Kimbery's), but they put a seat for my up front, and the event began! Here's what they talked about. All of these ladies are super insightful and hilarious! (as a note, J=Jessica Khoury, M=Marie Lu, B=Brenna Yovanoff, A=Andrea Cremer)
The surprises of being a published author:
M: Introverted half the year, and extroverted the other half 
A: How long it takes for a book to be published 
J: Being invited back to your old school by a teacher that didn't like you 
B: Having the second book be just as hard
How media influences their books:
M: There's a scene in Legend from a video game that she put in there without realizing it. She was also influenced by the politics of 2009, especially in Prodigy. 
B: She's never sure what outside thing will influence her book. For Paper Valentine, she watched her younger cousin and her cousin's friends trying to be the prettiest and have the most outrageous outfits 
A: Andrea has a background as historian with witchcraft and violence. She also has her political views as a feminist and as a supporter of LGBT, but she uses these beliefs without it taking over the story. She also makes playlists for the books and specific scenes and characters, so music is a big influence. 
J: At first, Jessica saw what YA trends there were and stayed away from them, and she didn't know much about YA at first. Now she loves dystopian, a popular trend. She says the balance is being aware of trends, but not writing for the market.
How to address the heavy themes in YA:
B: She writes violent first drafts, but reigns herself in for the editing process, so that the emotions are still raw and authentic. 
A: She also has no sensor. She writes about coming of age experience, especially for women, and that involves an authenticity of the experience. She has an adult series coming out this fall, and knows that it's different what you feel later in life romantically, but it stems from those first encounters as a young adult. 
J: Art is about finding those those heavy themes and just being honest. The YA genre is getting more acceptable, and she doesn't want to lie to readers because they're smart. 
M: Loves seeing YA branch out. All the things we talk about in YA have been happening for hundreds of year. The genre isn't getting racier, it's just addressing these topics. Even Marie had to pull back some violence so it had an impact on the story and wasn't just for shock value.
The author they would have dinner with:
A: Neil Gaiman 
J: Lois McMaster Bujold 
M: Brian Jacques 
B: Christopher Pike
Greatest piece of advice to a writer aspiring to be an author:
A: Actually write the book! 
B: People will tell you no a lot, so don't tell yourself no. 
M: Get words down on a page. You have to let the bad words out of your system to get to the good stuff. If she could go back, she wouldn't tell herself anything because of how hard it actually is, and so she might not have done it. 
J: She would have told her old self to go out and do something, not just read and write, and engage in the world to have your own adventures.
The normal job they would want if they weren't writers:
J: casting director, work with whales.
M: video game artist, fighter pilot. 
B: fashion designer, doll maker, psychological profiler, forensic anthropologist. 
A: dancer, cowboy
What they're working on:
A: Andrea has 3 books coming out: Invisibility (with David Levithan), an adult book (Captive), AND the 4th Nightshade novel (Snakeroot, out December 10th).
B: Brenna turned in first draft of her next one, takes place in the Ozarks, and has magic and kissing and a lot of violence and monsters.
M: Marie has book 3 revisions (Champion), and is also working on a high fantasy.
J: Jessica is working on the companion to Origin, which has only a slight overlap from the first book. 
Their favorite literary couples:
A: The couple from Anne of green Gables 
B: Amelia Peabody books (2 couples) 
M: faydra bad and Joceline (honestly I have no idea who these people are and even after looking them up I couldn't find them, and I know their names aren't right either) 
J: Po and Katsa from Graceling
Asked if editing changed their books too much:
J: She would never choose to not have an editor. She knows she needs the feedback. 
M: Even with self-publishing you need an editor. Revision letters also give you freedom because you don't see your own book the same way outside people do. 
B: An editor is essential and relieving. You need someone to bounce things around with. 
A: She's excited for revision letters because it's not kick-ass yet.

It was so much fun hearing these ladies talk! I hope you enjoyed what they had to say (even though some of my notes don't make sense even to me). If you can make it out to one of these events, you definitely should! And here's me, Kimberly, Crystal, and Thuy! Love these ladies!


  1. my notes are always super hard to read later. you have to write so fast. i wish i knew shorthand or maybe i should get a recorder or something.

    so much fun seeing you, nicole. hope we can do it again soon.

  2. Great post! Had a wonderful time! Hope to see you soon!

  3. Great job with the re-cap, Nicole! It was lovely seeing you again, too. :)


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