Thursday, August 9, 2012
We hate to start off with an inside joke, but when you go to an author event and these words are know a good time was had by all.  So, what are we going on about? 

The turn-out this year was fantastic!
Well...these awesome YA authors showed up at Joseph-Beth in Cincinnati, Ohio (sometimes it pays to live in the Midwest, yo) and they offered some swag (bribes) in exchange for questions from the audience.  One audience member half-joked to another about a throwdown over swag:  "No, I'm an actual trained professional wrestler."  Yikes!  Another girl screamed, "I NEED IT!" when Rae Carson offered an ARC of CROWN OF EMBERS.  It got a bit crazy up in there.  


Christine Johnson and her books (bribes)
Starting off, there was a fantastic question about including more non-white characters in books.  Obviously us readers want more diversity.  Here's what the authors said:

Saundra Mitchell:  chose Baltimore as a setting in her Victorian era trilogy to subvert the tropes of the historical genre.  She found it exciting to write about history that people don't talk about--for instance African-American as well as Asian-American characters who helped found cities and fought in the wilds of the west.

Sarah Rees Brennan:  spoke about book covers being changed after reader outcry, such as LIAR by Justine Larbalestier (where the cover depicted a black MC as white).

Julie Kagawa: seconded that issue and announced Harlequin Teen is changing her IMMORTAL RULES cover when it's printed in paperback to correctly depict the Asian MC (rather than the white one used on the hardcover).

Rae Carson:  thirded (is that a word?) the issue by pointing out her original mock-up cover had a thin, white girl in a flowy dress when her MC is a fat Latina girl (and "that polyester dress would really chafe in the desert").  Consequently her cover was changed.

Christine Johnson: said that YA is in a unique position to change things in publishing because all genres are shelved next to each other.  There is no separate section for African-American or "multi-cultural" stories.  Unlike the adult section where genres are shelved separately.  YA has a chance to make diversity normative.  *high fives*

The entire panel pointed out that the only people who can change the way publishers market is for us readers to initiate that change and to voice our need and want for diverse covers (and even diverse characters).

Julie Kagawa (signing), Christine Johnson, Saundra Mitchell
They spoke about their inspirations:

Julia Karr:  "whatever" "nowhere" For instance, her latest story idea came to her when she was in the massage parlor (a big clue as to the title of this post).

Kristina McBride: said her ideas come to her "all the time," but when she can't sleep because her characters are speaking to her or she can't stop thinking about an idea, she knows this is "the one."  The book to work on.

Rae Carson:  "life"  "asking how you get your ideas is like asking how do you get your oxygen"  However, she did mention that her trilogy arose from "the worst idea ever" when she was in a different kind of parlor (tattoo) getting her belly button pierced.  At the time she was thinking about fantasy and how to subvert the trope of the "amulet of power."  She thought wouldn't it be crazy to write the amulet of power being "belly bling."  For the record:  WE ARE SO GLAD THAT SHE DID!!

Saundra Mitchell: summed it up, "people talk in my head, people annoy me, I write books."  Hilariously she explained how she likes to take on a challenge (Irish Fog Fairies) and sometimes writes just to be contrary.  But most often the characters come to her first.  <3 <3  "The Irish give good fairy"--Sarah Rees Brennan

Julie Kagawa: admitted all of her ideas (and she means ALL) come from video games and anime.  She spilled that the ending of THE IRON QUEEN was completely inspired from the ending in FINAL FANTASY 10.  She summed it up well:  "Your tears feed my muse."  (And between her and Christine Johnson is mostly responsible for the title of this post).

Julia Karr, Kristina McBride, Rae Carson, Sarah Rees Brennan
During the lightning round of questions they spoke about feminism and retelling folklore:

Saundra Mitchell:  "Always let the girls drive."

Sarah Rees Brennan: did an entire monologue that we completely wish we had a video recording to show.  It ended with making fun of Superman for wearing his pants on the outside.  :)

Rae Carson:  There's a "different wave of feminism in YA" that used to be simply having the female characters "just like guys" but have moved on to "women get to be whoever they want to be" without having to have big muscles, etc.

Julie Kagawa:  "Treats retellings with respect" so that "you can tweak them, but not completely change them."  (She quite cheekily mentioned that her vampires "sparkle...right before they burst into flames").  

They spoke about influential authors and most memorable lines from their books.  Basically, the entire two hours was filled with smart questions and clever and hilarious authors.  It was absolutely superb and we can't wait for next year!!

If you had a chance, what would YOU ask these authors??


Stephsco said...

So glad to hear about the cover changes to reflect more non white characters! What a great panel.

Sara (of the Page Sage) said...

This looks like such an amazing event! Jealous! I just read The Iron King so I can finally say I'm a Julie Kagawa fan, and you guys already know that I'm a Kristina McBride fan now, too. (: The discussion about diversity in YA seems like it was great.

Leeanna said...

Ugh, I wish I had gone now! The event sounds like it was amazing -- thank you for posting the recap. It was almost, almost like being there.

This is really cool, for me, because I had never thought of it: Christine Johnson: said that YA is in a unique position to change things in publishing because all genres are shelved next to each other.

Unknown said... was a great panel, and hoping they'll continue it each year. Amazing how publishing is listening to the readers (but they do have to make some noise).

@Sara...yes! you're an honorary Cincy girl. :) It felt like they couldn't wait to talk about diversity. So glad someone asked the question!

@Leeanna...twelve hours is a bit much! You are certainly excused! We always dream about going to YA'llFest in NC, but alas, too far. Is that closer to you? Man, we'd be jealous.
Yes, great point made by C.J. Pressures on us!

Andria Buchanan said...

Sounds like a great panel.

Kristan said...

They were SO awesome -- hard to capture in a recap, but you did a great job. Can't wait for Beachy Keen 3 next year. ;)

Leeanna said...

@Sarah No. I'm actually way up north. Still in Ohio, but just in the NE corner. I went to school in Oxford, though -- wish I'd known you all then! I could have done things!

I've had that quote I posted on my mind all week. It's definitely got me thinking. Thanks again for posting about the event!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

about us

Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

We Heart YA's favorite books »

ya diversity book club

© 2011 All words & images above are the creation/property of We Heart YA unless otherwise credited. Powered by Blogger.

have a heart

We Heart YA