The day I figured out that these three authors were coming to MY Barnes & Noble, I couldn't sleep or walk straight & I was in denial. Just in case, I ordered their books online. (Just in case they really came.)
I already had a copy of Shatter Me & Under the Never Sky that I got for myself last winter... they were waiting in my very special TBR Pile, the one I save exclusively as "awesome reading" should I bog down in review reading. (Anna Carey's book would've been there, in my pile, too, if I wasn't runnin' so many giveaways all the time.)
I even managed to read Shatter Me - review (and signed giveaway!!) to follow. Today maybe.
Then magnificent Cynthia Hand joined the tour... which is totally SQUEEE-worthy!! (I bought a copy of Hallowed as soon as I got to the store).
See how the poster says "Portland"? And "Barnes & Noble Clackamas"?! Oh Yea... THAT'S ME!!! (My store)
Friday I paced all day... and got myself on location early. Just in case there'd be a line wrapped around the building. YOU NEVER KNOW!! Fortunately I arrived before the chairs, almost, and got a good seat. I forgot my camera. I didn't even know I'd forgotten my camera. It's a good thing my phone is attached to my hip. Even a great camera wouldn't turn me into a photographer.
Have you been to one of these book signings?! We got to ask the authors cool questions!! I say "we" very loosely 'cause I scrunched down in my chair and pretended I was a decoration (like a pretty flower?) whenever the moderator looked around expectantly with the microphone. *cough*
Happily there were braver souls... and I took notes!
What are the hardest scenes to write?
Cynthia - Romance!! I'm more of an action kinda girl!
Tahereh - I love the kissing scenes!! Hardest parts to write would be Death & Disaster. Kenji is the funnest character to write about with the attitude.
Anna - Same as Cynthia. I want to give the characters some privacy!
Veronica - Dark scenes are a struggle. I've been known to spend the day on Twitter avoiding them.
How did you come up with your characters' names?
Cynthia - Clara almost wasn't Clara 'cause of Claire (or Clare?!) being so close... but Clara wouldn't change her name for me, that's who she was and I'm glad! The boys' names - Christian & Taylor - are my favorite boy names. If I'd've had a boy instead of a girl (baby) I wouldn't have had a name for him!! Btw... I know what book 3 is going to be called!! I can't tell you, but we just figured it out. You'll know SOON, but I can't say today!
Anna - Street signs in LA unconsciously sneak into my books!
Veronica - Perry has a cool background - Peregrine hawks are an endangered species and birds of prey are significant for his character, so that was total confirmation that I'd chosen the right name. (She said it so much better than my dumb notes remind me... I totally missed WHY birds of prey are significant!!)
Tahereh - For me, the names came before the story. Can I share about naming the book? "Shatter Me" wasn't my first title idea. The book was nearly "Touch Juliette". We were trying to brainstorm 2nd & 3rd book titles for the series and it was getting weird, "Wash Adam"?! I'm so grateful for my editor insisting that "Touch Juliette" did not work even when I didn't see a problem with it.
How much time does it take you to write a book?
Cynthia - Unearthly was 6 months from Idea to Draft.
Anna - Eve took about 9 months from beginning to end. The 1st draft was about 2 - 2 1/2 months.
Veronica - For me it changes per manuscript depending on challenges, but about 6-9 months for the first draft.
Tahereh - About 2 1/2 months of "pants optional lifestyle". Writing is an interesting process. some days there's lots of words, but other days are spinning in a chair talking in a British accent or sock skating. Some days it's really fun, and some days it's like punching yourself in the face. (That's what my notes say!)
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Veronica - So many different things!! A marine biologist. An artist. Anything creative.
Anna - In 7th grade I wanted to be a tap dancer. Or Flutist. Or Painter... but writing persisted. The best thing about being a writer is getting to do all those things in the books, like being a soccer player!
Tahereh - Whatever my parents wanted. When I was 5, I wanted to be a Chemist until I figured out I can't multiply. But I can spell the h-- out of a word!
Cynthia - She-Ra!! Princess of Power!!! In 7th grade I knew I wanted to be a writer. In Hi-School, I got into acting and then I was in pre-law in college before having an epiphany: "I don't want to be a lawyer!" You gotta do what you love!
What was it like when your first book was released?
Tahereh - I was mortified! Edits for the second book were due, so I was at home, working hard and my friends and family told me, "Go see your book on the shelves!" I went to see them, but I stayed on the other side of the room, looking across at them. Drive-by Looking.
Anna - It changes your relationships with bookshelves... like seeing other children on the playground, I'm curious where my book is in the store. It's funny because my job is to hallucinate all day, only it's real! I have a friend who went to see her book in the store when it was released and she asked the clerk about the "today's new release" and they were like, "oh yea, Steve Jobs' book is over there!"
Veronica - I went with my dad and he was telling everyone, "she wrote this!!" I was so embarrassed! I love it now, seeing all my friends' books on the shelves. YA is a small community.
Cynthia - For me, the most emotional moment was opening the box from the publisher and seeing my book in print for the first time... Wow!!! It feels like a weird sense of fraud... like, "you know I made this up?"
Cynthia - Because of the internet, you hear what people say. At first, I wanted to read it all, but even nice comments can skew your reality. Then there's that person that wants you to know... "I hate you, I hate your book and I want you to know that!!" It's all so close because of the internet. What I like best? We know the same people in my story!!!
Tahereh - The review thing is like a whole 'nother beast. People are so intense!! Twitter is 140 characters of awesome! I didn't know how to deal with people saying they got me book. Uh... "don't worry if you don't like it!! We can still be friends!!!"
Anna - I'm kind of immunized from a workshop I took in college. We submitted our work to each other and shared opinions and I learned that these 2 always loved what I wrote and these 2 always hated it... and these 3 I could listen to for making revisions. Want to know my favorite question? "When does the next book come out?" It means they liked my book and can't wait for more. Wow.
Veronica - I've learned to adapt over time. The first time I was harshly critiqued was at UCLA in an art class. I had this butcher paper and we were told to just "go for it" and I did, but the teacher criticized my effort. That was the end of my art career for a long time! My skin was not thick at all. But, we're all so different, we make different choices all the time. It's ok if everyone doesn't love my book.
Let me say again... that I remember what they said from my notes, which were scratched in haste. I know I perked up when the internet and review discussion came up... I think that's when my eyes took on that predatory look. 'Cause that's about when I started brainstorming this post!! I have an extra signed poster and some swag. If you'd like something, tell me in the comments and I'll randomly pick someone(s).
I got a phone call from home. Cam-Shaft was injured and he thought maybe his arm was dislocated or at least broken and Cool, Man wasn't sure why the upset little guy was being so loud about it, like maybe there was a problem that required emergency assistance. As Mom, my first question was "what time is it?" Why that effects injuries is a mystery, but since it was 15 minutes after bedtime, we decided to send injured child and offending big brother to quiet bed confinement and see if that solved the injury. Meanwhile, I requested to skip ahead of the book-signing line... 'cause there was no way I was taking anyone to the ER before I got my books signed!! (duh!)
Cynthia Hand. Cue slack-jaw comments like "I have a book". My phone rings again (now I'm talking while in the front of the line) and turns out Cam-Shalf will pull through. PHEW!
All I could think about is how I want to give away as much stuff as I can while keeping as much stuff as I can at the same time. Logically!! So I whip out my Nook and ask Cynthia to sign the cover for me - 'cause Unearthly is on it, only I forget to mention that... or anything else remotely intelligent. But I get this bright idea of proving I was there by getting my picture taken with her. It would have been cool if I'd've bravely asked all four authors to look at the volunteer trying to figure out how to hold my tiny phone AND take a picture, too, but I was still babbling nonsense. The look in my eyes, however, is triumphant like I tricked everyone, or something. But really, they were all so generous, even though I held up the line for a long time for someone who hurried to the front for an "emergency".
Anna Carey offered me extra posters to share with my readers & Veronica Rossi was so nice and personable. Cynthia gave me extra bookmarks and temp tattoos to share. Tahereh Mafi was so kind and thoughtful and gave me a necklace while signing my name, "Burgandy Ice".
Yes... I asked them to sign my internet name on the books I had second copies of. Is that weird? It's my book-lovin' identity... it seemed normal to me.
You know what else seemed totally normal?! Fangirling with a huge grin. Attempting to monopolize the conversation all the way down the table. Pretending like I was best-buds with each one of 'em. NORMAL, I tell ya!! What was weird was the mom who was my age standing back so her daughter could get signatures. For one tiny second I wondered if I was acting half my age instead of my mature older-than-all-authors self.
I got over it the next moment. There are not enough awesome books and awesome writers out there to get hung up over what kind of fun books I like to read. So, yea!! I love YA!! And I love keepin' company with all the wonderful YA readers!! I don't think I've ever cared how old anyone was when it comes to books. Brains are what's important!! Gotta have some brains!
Wouldn't you know it?! Michelle from The Passionate Bookworm was there. Yep. So, now we're like best buds, right? Naw... I've still gotta tell her I was there. *cough* I would've introduced myself on the spot if... well, if I didn't feel totally lame, like... I mean, whatya do?! "Hi - I'm just like you!" "Uh, what?!" "I mean, I blog - I review books and stuff. I even read Shatter Me!" "Oh, well, I'm happy for you". How would that conversation go?! Better yet... I'll bug her now and the next time we get together we'll know whether we should pretend we don't know each other or be best-buds.
Hope, Love, and Happy Endings was also there along with Vy from Vy's Blog. (I just found that out. Just now. Uh, yay for internet?!)
I stole this picture from this really super-great summary of... the Spring Into the Future Tour on Novels News & Notes from your Northwest Neighbors. I can't even say this with enough sarcasm... there's a Northwest blog. I never knew. What else am I going to find out today?
I really like Michelle's summary. We took turns taking notes. She got the great question on cute guys and the appearance of Awesome Coffee!