You guys, you guys, you guys. What is life even anymore? I do not know. Last night I had the incredible, incredible privilege to moderate an author Q&A with Sarah J. Maas, Tiffany Schmidt, Susan Dennard, and Liz Norris at Children’s Book World in Haverford, PA.
So obviously I was super nervous but quickly found out there was no reason to be! I met with the ladies briefly before the event and we discussed our Q&A gameplan. I had the pleasure of meeting Sarah and Susan at the YA Runs a 5K event here in Philly last July, and was completely overwhelmed when they both greeted me with hugs last night.
I was so thrilled to see a huge number of actual teens and younger people in the audience. When I attended an event earlier this year at CBW it seemed like the adults definitely outnumbered the youths. And obviously adults can be fans of YA (otherwise–uh?? shut down this blog!), but it’s great to see so many teens at an event that is specifically geared toward them. Teens shouldn’t ever be crowded out of their own spaces by dumb old grown ups.
I had a list of prepared questions but upon seeing all those fresh faces I switched things up a bit and started off asking the ladies what is it about YA that speaks to them and makes them want to write for teens? Each of the authors in turn spoke about how important their favorite books were for them in their own teen years and how they made them want to start writing. Liz touched on reading a book where the heroine’s troubles are completely resolved once she meets the male love interest and how she was inspired to challenge that narrative.
There was a moment when some older fantasy series were mentioned and the brief pause that comes as I realized that this young audience probably/possibly doesn’t know the books that were popular when we were teens. And looking out at all the young faces, with cameras recording everything, gazes held in rapt attention and awe of the authors, I realized that these are the books and authors who are right now inspiring a whole new generation of writers. It was a heady and awesome moment.
The authors also discussed favorite scenes in their books (if you’ve read Bright Before Sunrise you should know that Brighton snooping around in a boy’s room is inspired by real life. Don’t trust that Tiffany Schmidt!!), what they’d be doing if they weren’t authors (I had NO idea Susan was a marine biologist–amazing!!), and how they cultivate believable voice for their characters. Another quick highlight: when asked which of her characters she is most like Sarah said Fleetfoot the dog! Ahahahaha. It was just a brilliant evening full of laughter and delight. And then before I knew it the Q&A session was over and it was time for book signing!
It was just this time last year that I was finishing Crown of Midnight and absolutely drowning in sorrow and anguish over that ending. I was completely in love with the series. If you had told me a year ago that I’d be a Midnight Garden reviewer and a moderator for this amazing author event I would have stared at you in blank disbelief and informed you that your gift of prophesy is sadly lacking.
Thank you to Wendy for ever asking me to join this blog, thank you to Bloomsbury for inviting me to moderate the event, thank you to all the authors for being so friendly and gracious, and thanks to everyone who came out and to the readers who said hi to me! (Shout out to Brittany and Rachel-it was really great to meet you!) If you were there last night and you have pics and/or a write up do link them in the comments here or tweet them at me @KimReadsThings. It was an incredible evening and I was just overwhelmed with the support and kindness of everyone. Thanks for giving me one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.