Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Authors, Authors, Everywhere!

Instead of my usual library rounds this weekend (no Library Haul this week, btw), I attended a YA Writing Conference in Phoenix. It was piggybacked onto the annual YAllapalooza, in which 300+ teens converge on a group of unsuspecting YA authors to bombard them with questions and eat pizza. I didn't stay for the craziness afterward, but the Conference was a lot of fun and I'm really glad I went. I was also happy to get to hang out with J of Concrete Pieces of Soul for the day! We even wrangled it so we attended classes together. ;)

They had an awesome author lineup: Kiersten White, Aprilynne Pike, Anna Carey, Bree Despain, James Owen, Adam Rex, Tom Leveen, Janette Rallison (C.J. Hill), Robin Brande, Cecil Castellucci, and Amy Fellner Dominy (who I just realized I never even saw...bummer).

There were four classes to attend, although time restraints dictated you could only pick three. :( So I chose Heroes & Villains (Kiersten, Aprilynne, and Anna), Unforgettable Characters (Bree, James, and Adam), and Edgy Fiction (Tom and Cecil). And then they had a YA vs. MG panel during lunch with five of the authors (which I personally thought was extremely cruel, making the authors eat in front of everyone and talk without a break - but that's just me). Kiersten was not one of them (smart woman), so J & I got to "have lunch" with her! She's super-nice and it was awesome.

Five of the authors doing the panel during lunch. Poor things!

The classes were interesting and I picked up quite a few tips. Highlights included Kiersten's piece on villains (she loves villains), Anna's spin on The Hero's Journey, and Adam's Steamship Goggle Fish (see below). And then there was Tom and Cecil's class. Their sheer enthusiasm and energy had us all excited, and even though they made us do exercises (which totally freak me out), their class was a ton of fun and by far the best.

Kiersten and me. I wanted proof that I was taller than her, but then I went and slouched! ARGH!

The greatest part was seeing so many amazing authors in person at one time. As a writer, such a gathering is like catnip for me, and seeing them "in action" makes me want to work all the harder to become part of that "crowd." I kept thinking: "One day, I could be here! That giant poster could be of my book! Teens would flock to eat pizza with me! I would be the one sitting behind that signing table, handing out bookmarks and thanking readers and sweating like a pig from nerves!" Having something to strive for makes the struggle worth it, and every now and again I need reminding.

Adam Rex's Steamship Goggle Fish. Isn't it AWESOME? O.O

P.S. Adam Rex is my new favorite author to see in person! He's funny and talented and he sketched me this awesome Steamship Goggle Fish, which I now have framed on my wall. He created it on the class whiteboard in a moment of distraction when James was talking about the things a steampunk book is required to have. Author-Illustrators are awesome.

1 comment:

  1. So cool! That whole thing sounds like a ton of fun. I'd have loved to sit in on the Edgy Fiction panel.