Saturday, October 22, 2016

Fierce Reads Authors at Powell's

(Me, a week ago.)

When I learned over the summer that the Fierce Reads tour, featuring Leigh Bardugo and a bunch of other YA authors, would be coming to Powell's in October, I put it on my calendar immediately.  I didn't recognize the other authors coming to this particular stop, other than Emma Mills, whose First & Then I wasn't a huge fan of.  Caleb Roehrig is a debut novelist, so I couldn't find out much about him, and Kami Garcia's Beautiful Creatures--um.  I'm not a paranormal romance reader, is my polite way of addressing why I haven't read that series.  Still, I've found that authors often are--get this!--terrific story-tellers, so even authors whose books I don't love can be great speakers.

With Crooked Kingdom debuting at #1 on the YA Bestseller list, I was expecting a huge crowd, and I was right.  Oddly, Powell's did not seem to be expecting a huge crowd, and set us up in their smaller event space.  People were parking their butts as fast as they could put chairs out, and people who arrived less than an hour beforehand never had a chance.  The Fierce Reads folks put out some swag including the most adorable comic book ever, featuring the book cover and author photo for each of the dozen or so different authors that participated at various stops in the tour.   Author coloring pages!  How cute is that?!?

The event was hosted by Sara of Novel Novice.  (How do you get that gig?)  She did a great job, offered several questions to the panel in general and the different authors in particular.  There was a short Q&A at the end as well.  I would be a horrible journalist it turns out, because I only got one picture and failed to take a single note, so this is what I've cobbled together from my memory and the Twitter feed of others who were there.

  • When asked if they would ever write in the "other" genre, fantasy writer Bardugo and contemporary writer Mills said no.  Contemporary writer Roehrig said, "Only if I still get to murrrderrr people!" and fantasy AND contemporary writer Garcia assured him that actually, you get to murder MORE people in fantasy, so he said maybe.  
  • Bardugo commented that Six of Crows was originally billed as "Oceans Eleven meets Game of Thrones," until they realized that nobody under 20 would know what Oceans 11 is.  
  • When asked if they ever cry while writing, Bardugo told a great story: 
She always thought it would be super pretentious to cry over one's own work, but when writing Crooked Kingdom, she said she sobbed three separate times.  The "one towards the end" as she said, made a friend who was hanging out with her say, "What?!?"
"It's so s-s-sad!" through gulping tears.
"Well, you're the one doing it!  You're the author!  Just change it!"
"I c-c-can't!  But it's so sad!" 
  • An audience member asked about their inspiration to become writers as well as the inspiration for their particular latest story.  Roehrig talked about loving mysteries as a kid and teen, but being frustrated that gay characters either didn't exist, or were cast as the victim.  So he wrote a book where the gay guy is the hero.  
  • In Garcia's new book, the protagonist's dad is an undercover cop, just as Garcia's step-dad is, so he's convinced he's the star of her new book.  :)
  • Another person brought up NaNoWriMo, and all of the authors agreed that a) your first draft will be crap and that b) it's the only way to get anything done.  Crap first drafts are a necessary step towards decent writing--if you wait for perfection, you'll never do anything.  #growthmindset in action!

And then there's these gems:

I am too fucking polite, incidentally, which is why although I was there a full 90 minutes before the event started, I didn't push into the front rows.  Still, they were signing by rows, which meant there were three rows of ten in front of us.  But after waiting a half hour, there were still 30 people in line in front of me, so OBVIOUSLY other people did not have any compunction about waltzing into line when they wanted to.

Nice covers, right?  I keep gushing about Bardugo's covers, but the other three are great too. I love the silhouette and hints of red in the black/blue cover of Last Ween Leaving, and how the words peer between the branches.  Lovely Reckless is classic late 60s paperback, and I want to touch the thick painting on This Adventure Ends.

I bought a copy of Last Seen Leaving that Roehrig signed, and asked Bardugo to sign copies of Crooked Kingdom for myself and for a friend who couldn't make it.  I was too flustered to chat at all.  Gaaah.  Then I came home and read Last Seen Leaving in one go, and in the acknowledgements found out that Roehrig's husband is Latvian, which I TOTALLY would have talked with him about in line had I only known.  Sigh.  

All in all, it was fun, but somewhat exhausting--I think because of there being multiple authors and tons of people squished into a fairly small area.  I was back at Powell's yesterday and they had their larger event area set up for a celebrity biography.  Sigh.

If you want another taste of what the event was like, there's this charming video Taylicious Reads put together with the same four authors--possibly in their Washington stop?  

1 comment:

  1. This sounds fun. I wish there were more author events near me. Sometimes there are events in Denver, but that’s far away, and I don’t like going there.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


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