Thursday, April 23, 2015
Our local indie bookseller, Joseph-Beth, has been on a roll! On March 31, they hosted yet another great YA panel, with Emery Lord, Kate Hattemer, David Arnold, and Courtney C. Stevens.
As usual, I live-tweeted from the event, and I have collected those tweets here with some additional photos and tweets from other people in attendance. Below that, I also have a few more notes -- both funny and insightful -- from the authors. Enjoy!
And here's what couldn't quite be captured in 140 characters...
ON THE WRITING PROCESS
Kate hates drafting. Because it's like, "Good day's work? No! Bad day's work!" So she tries to do the first draft pretty fast -- like two months. (Plus that way, if she were to die suddenly, no one would ever get the chance to see it.) She relishes revision.
Emery revises as she goes. She especially hones the first third of the story, meaning that it takes much longer than the rest of her book. When she's stuck, she likes to go to concerts.
David wrote his first book as the stay-at-home dad of newborn. So basically: Whenever, wherever he could.
Courtney says, "Every book is a different beast." She actually threw away about 20,000 pages to get to the book that is now THE LIES ABOUT TRUTH. "I don't think that makes me a bad writer. I think turning in that first book would have made me a bad writer."
QUESTION FROM EMERY (who moderated the panel): What writer would you trade brains with? You could see their work-in-progress, and they could see yours.
Emery: Melina Marchetta
David: A.S. King
Kate: Richard Russo
Courtney: Markus Zusak and Neil Gaiman
QUESTION FROM THE AUDIENCE: People always talk about the challenges and frustrations of writing. What about the joys?
David wrote a lot of his story to his son. (So obviously that was very meaningful and rewarding for him.)
Emery writes to a point of catharsis. She writes to give herself a happy place.
Kate loves the feeling of getting the prose just right.
Courtney thinks the bad stuff actually doesn't have to do with writing and actually is just about personal insecurity. She anchors herself to moments that no one can take away. Like getting a message from someone about why her book mattered to them. Changing someone's life through art that you made.
"No one will ever think it's autobiographical," Kate joked about writing her debut novel from a boy's POV. She also added, "Or maybe that's because it's about a heroic gerbil..."
David and Courtney are writing a Middle Grade book together via email, just for fun. It's structured as letters between two kids, one at summer camp, the other back at home.
Kate finds that she's always talking about books. For example: She once chatted with her sister about Harry Potter for 4 hours straight. "That's what humans do; we talk in stories."
Somewhat related: Kate's little sister listened exclusively to Harry Potter audiobooks from age 2-6. She ended up with a British accent!
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