Thursday, June 11, 2015

Recently I had the pleasure of attending two YA author events in the Cincinnati area. (There were actually several more happening nearby, but I am just one person!)

The first event featured Epic Reads authors Maggie Lehrman, Margo Rabb, and Robyn Schneider. They confessed that they were a bit loopy because this was the last stop on their tour -- but I think they were being modest. Here are some highlights (paraphrased) from the panel:

Maggie: Was there a point where you were going to give up on your novel?
Robyn: The whole thing! I wrote 800 pages and I have a 300 page book.
Margo: Everything is salvageable through revision.

Robyn: What's the easiest part of writing?
Maggie: The beginning, when I'm just playing around.
Robyn: The beginning?! At the beginning, I feel like I've just walked into class for the first time on finals day and I'm going to fail. Meanwhile Maggie is feeling just fine, answering every question D, and drawing a flower on her Scantron sheet.

Robyn: What do you like best about writing for teen readers?
Margo: There's such passion in readers at that age. Many of my favorite books were ones that I read at that time in my life. Teen lit is immediate, vibrant, the first of everything.
Maggie: When I was a teenager, I didn't understand anything about it. I was always trying to figure things out. I guess I still am.

Robyn: What sparked your story to life?
Maggie: I sat down to write, and I just had this image of a girl dancing around a fire with a guy. And I realized, "Wait, the girl doesn't remember this. Why not?"
Robyn revealed that the severed head in her first book, THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING, was inspired by the real life story of Fabio riding a roller coaster. A pigeon flew right into him, broke his nose, blood spraying everywhere. Robyn wondered, "What would it be like to be seated behind someone else's tragedy?"
Margo moved to Austin from NYC, and she went to a real rodeo for the first time. Also, a friend told her that travel is the best cure he knows for a broken heart.
Robyn was researching vampires and found out that their myth started in part due to tuberculosis.

Audience Q: What do you want your readers to take away from your books?
Robyn: I just want all your feels.
Maggie: I don't really think about messages... More like questions. What questions do I want readers to take away? In this case: "Is it worth it?"
Margo: Books are a collaborative experience between reader and writer. It's both wonderful and hard to share books with other readers. So whatever a reader takes away from my story is great. But I suppose I was asking the question, "How do you get through life when you know how hard it is?"
Robyn: In all seriousness now, I don't think about messages either. I just write for my 16-year-old self.

Audience Q: After you hand off one project, which you've just invested so much time and emotion into, how do you get excited for the next thing? The next set of characters and their problems?
Robyn: Oh, I love the shiny new thing! It's like carrots and cheesecakes. Every new book starts out as a cheesecake, but eventually it turns into a carrot. I'm just trying to get through the carrot to the next cheesecake!

Audience Q: Which Harry Potter house would you be?
Robyn: Gryffindor when I was younger, but Slytherin now.
Maggie: Ravenclaw.
Margo: I want to say Gryffindor...
Maggie & Robyn: She's a Hufflepuff!

Final fun tidbits:
••• Margo once wrote an essay on RICHARD II even though she couldn't make herself finish reading it. The essay got an A+. That's when she knew she had a chance at being a writer!
••• Maggie once pretended to have read THE CRUCIBLE in order to talk to a boy she had a crush on.
••• Robyn picked her agent based on the advice of a guy who ran a bar with a Tardis in it!
••• Joseph-Beth Crestview Hills has the best cookies of any bookstore they've been to so far.

The second event was organized by the authors themselves -- Gwenda Bond, Megan Shepherd, Megan Miranda, Renee Ahdieh, and Carrie Ryan -- under the fun and intriguing banner of "Dangerous Ladies."

Well, if that's not a great note to end on, I don't know what is. #girlpower


iLuvReadingTooMuch said...

Ugh my computer won’t load the images but looks like you had fun! I haven’t read any of their books (yet) but I have them all on my TBR. It’s so cool to find out what sparked a book, why they write for teens and (lol) the random facts about themselves. Can’t wait to pick up their books :D

Unknown said...

Ohh those sounds so much fun! And now I can say that Renee Ahdieh and I would have definitely gone on well just of this: "I love any scene that involves swords and kissing."

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