Deadly Ever After

The Writing Adventures of The Undead Duo–Julie Hutchings and Kristen Strassel

Fierce Appearances

Today’s Brew:  A “Deckari Daquiri.”  There are perks to lunch dates that double as business meetings.  Said lunch date/meeting was on a deck overlooking the ocean, too.

by Kristen

Two unexpected perks of being a part of the Twitter writing community:

  • Going to the bookstore (you know, when I’m in the mood for a road trip) and seeing books by people you talk to on a daily basis.
  • Finding out about all kinds of cool author events happening locally.

On Julie and I’s last road trip to Barnes and Noble (Seriously, we have to plan an afternoon.  At least it usually also involves Pinkberry.), I picked up Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo.  My agent loved this book.  We’ve already established what amazing taste Pam has in books–I mean, after all, she is my agent.  I also tried The Original Sinners Series by Tiffany Reisz on her recommendation.  And you know how I felt about that.

If you’re on the fence about a book, see what Pam and her team have to say about it on Bookalicious.org.

Back to Shadow and Bone.  I immediately got swept into the world created in this book.  It was beautiful, sweeping, and complete.  You never question the mythology of the Grisha or The Shadow Fold.  You can identify with Alina’s struggles, always feeling a little less than what she should be, and that she has a hard time believing that she’s more than she could have ever imagined.  And The Darkling, hawt.  I don’t know if I’m supposed to feel this way or not, but I can’t help but root for him even though bad things will happen if he gets his way.

As a writer, I always check the acknowledgements and the about the author page.  Leigh Bardugo is a makeup artist.  Badass.  When I went to the website, it linked me to her makeup work.

Wait a minute, I know this work. Leigh and I both started out in makeup on the same networking site.  This made my heart expand three more sizes for her and her amazing book.

Some of Leigh Bardugo’s makeup work. In case you weren’t already convinced of  how ridiculously talented she is.

Seige And Storm, the second book in Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy, released June 4.  It is on it’s way to me from Amazon.  To promote and celebrate the release of this and several other books, MacMillan Teen put together The Fierce Reads Tour, which stopped at the Cambridge Public Library on July 15.  (From what I can tell, Mac Teen does these tours every so often, so stay tuned to see if your favorite authors will be coming to a city near you!)

Fierce reads featured Emmy Laybourne, Jessica Brody, Anna Banks, Gennifer Albin, as well as Leigh Bardugo.  All of their recent releases are YA paranormal.  I love listening to authors talk about their books, watching their faces light up as they speak about their creations to total strangers who care enough to want to hear more. All of the authors were personable and actually very funny.  A good crowd turned out for the talk as well.  I would have expected mostly young and middle aged women, but there were teen boys, elderly people, adult couples without kids. And of course, me.

Emmy, Jess, and Anna. I’m going to start a new website called http://www.kristensucksatphotography.com

Very simple things inspired all of the authors to write their books.  Emmy spends a lot of time in Target.  Jess was inspired by an article about a soul survivor of a plane crash.  Anna was captivated by a Spanish Surrealist Painting.  Gennifer watched a documentary about a giant squid. Leigh had a bad dream and woke up in a dark, strange place.  (She was on vacation.)   They asked themselves a lot of “what if” questions about these things and places until they came up with the meat of their books.

Each author had a specific way that they wrote.  Some of them made very specific outlines.  Some of them couldn’t write an outline to save their lives.   All of them gave their characters wiggle room to dictate if any changes need to be made.  They all agreed that momentum was the most important thing to keep going and to fight blockages.  They then would go back and see what was working and what wasn’t.  All of these authors now write full time, but Gennifer had recently just quit her job.  Again, everyone had their own way that worked best.  Jess wrote in the morning.  Gennifer had to get out of the house to fight distractions.  Anna had to tackle all of the distractions in her life before sitting down to write.  Leigh has to block the internet and talk her way through that day’s work.  I always like to see all the different ways that people create.  It goes to show that writing really is an art form and the only rules that should apply are the ones that work for you.  And don’t be afraid to break them when needed.

 

I was surprised how many questions the audience had about the writing processes that created these books.  When Julie and I went to see Tiffany, the audience asked more character and plot related questions.   One thing that was absolutely amazing is that almost all of these authors have had their books optioned for movies!  Of course, that doesn’t mean the movies will actually be made, but they are one step closer.

(Takes moment to lie back and daydream about Because The Night premiering on Big Screen…Who to walk the red carpet with?)

There must have been quite a few aspiring writers in the crowd.  I know there was at least one. The authors were asked for their advice to new writers.

  • Keep writing
  • All writing counts, including journals and blogs.
  • Don’t be afraid to write badly.  Crap writing makes great fertilizer.  Published books go through many edits and drafts.
  • Don’t censor yourself.
  • Do your own thing, all advice won’t work for you.
  • Know when to listen and when not to. (Sound familiar?)
  • Finish something so you can see the end.  You get confidence from completing a project.
  • Learn how to take critique.
  • Don’t hold back with your ideas.  Blow the doors off.  You will come up with more ideas.

 

I didn’t stay for the meet and greet portion of this.  It sounded a little strange, the librarian wanted us to write what we wanted the authors to put on our books on post it notes.  So I didn’t get a chance to talk to any of these lovely ladies myself.  If these books are as full of personality as their creators and and as entertaining as this appearance, you won’t be able to put any of them down.

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3 thoughts on “Fierce Appearances

  1. Loved this. Inspiration to not give up. Great recs for new books. Reasons to keep tweeting. Thanks 🙂

  2. “write what they want you to write in the book on post it notes” is how they handle the crowds at my local comic expo, too. It means that you’re not spelling your name six times and you can get a personalized autograph on your photo/DVD/boob/book/whatever and still have a few minutes to chat.

    This sounds like a really enriching and rewarding experience, and I’m really happy to hear that you got to go and see the event. I’m also really happy to hear that the YA crowd is openly more diverse than what you’d expect.

    The advice is awesome too. I’m glad to see that there are more people saying this sort of thing. Write often, take risks, don’t censor yourself. Excellent advice that I wish more authors would tell the “aspiring” and “unpublished” ones of us still working towards that publishing deal.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Cheers.

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