My attempt at live tweeting the panels was ridiculous, I just wasn't quick enough, but the audience got some awesome responses and perspectives from the authors, and I was able to jot down some of them. The first panel was moderated by Rachel Hawkins, who, FYI, is freaking hilarious, and featured Veronica Wolff, Becca Fitzpatrick, Rachel Caine, Bree Despain, James Dashner, Sophie Jordan and Tera Lynn Childs. I learned that Becca Fitzpatrick wanted to be a spy when she was in college, ad she applied to the CIA twice. They never called her, which is sad for her but worked out well for her in the long run, obviously, and well for her readers. :) James Dashner had to follow that info up by saying that he also wanted to be a spy and applied to the CIA and they actually did call him back! He didn't take it, (or did he...) of course, because he turned his talents to writing (to our benefit), but this panel was hilarious. Rachel Caine shared with us that she had wanted to join the FBI at one point as well. I'm happy to know that these authors used their minds to generate some awesome books for us instead of becoming secret agents and members of law enforcement (as far as we know ;)! Bree Despain shared that her research involved an actual historical account of a man accused of being a werewolf by his village (so stinking awesome)! Sophie said that her Firelight Series was sparked (no pun intended ;) by the Discovery Channel and Tera Lynn Childs said her Oh. My. Gods. series was inspired by the show Growing Up Gotti. Bree Despain never intended to write paranormal fiction, but Buffy the Vampire Slayer became her "gateway drug" into fantasy. So pay attention aspiring authors!!! You never know where your inspiration will come from and when it will hit!
The second panel featured contemporary authors and their books, which usually deal with very difficult subject matter. This panel was moderated by Lindsey Leavitt and featured Daisey Whitney, Emily Wing Smith, Lisa Schroeder, Liz Gallagher and Jay Asher. This is the part where I regret not taking better notes, because some of their responses were amazing. This is my second time meeting Lisa Schroeder and she is always awesome. Her books I Heart You, You Haunt Me, Chasing Brooklyn, & Far From You were all amazing. They deal with the topic of loss of a loved one and Lisa shared (with my summarization:) that you don't have to have lost someone you love to be able to write about the topic with genuine feeling, or to read them & feel hope that you can get through it. We've all suffered loss and that feeling is the same no matter what it is that is lost. These books offer hopeful stories about coping and knowing that someone suffering something difficult can get through it. Daisey Whitney said that her book, The Mockingbirds, is about deciding to do something about the bad that happens to you. I love that because one of my life theories is, "If I don't stand up for me, no one else is going to." Jay Asher told the audience that 13 Reasons Why was a story he had to tell, and that you have to give your readers honesty (especially in contemporary fiction).
The third panel was about "blending" contemporary and fantasy elements. It was moderated by Daisy Whitney and featured Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young, Lindsey Leavitt, Jay Asher and Heather Davis. Again, I'd wish I'd taken better notes, but the one thing that really stuck with me from this panel was about "laws," meaning the laws of your fictitious world. Once you create those parameters, you have to stick with them. If you violate the laws of that world while writing, it will never be believable. Lindsey Leavitt said she had her rules written out on index cards and post its and now that's all I can think about doing with my WIP.
At the signing tables I got to spend a lot of time with James Dashner & Heather Davis, and I completely scored an ARC of Bree Despain's third book in the Dark Divine Trilogy, Savage Grace. She also gave away her signature nail polishes (the ones that match her books :) I snagged a purple one but I hope to see her at some Utah book events and get the blue, or even the red if she has it in March for SG's release. Meeting Brodi was super cool, and I cannot WAIT to get my hands on Everneath. I wanted to read that so much! I also love my Dead Elvises guitar pick necklace she gave me. I've added it to a necklace I've been wearing a bunch lately and a ton of people have asked me about it already.
The Vegas Valley Book Festival is a three day book festival and this was it's first year with a YA segment. It was highly successful in my opinion, but it could use some better organization. If they want a high turnout to the festival, my suggestion is to keep YA in the mix. We lack independent bookstores in this city, at least give us this once a year fix!
Thank you all for stopping by, I had a blast at the book festival, I met amazing authors and great people and It made my whole week! Now, I've gotta get by to my daughter, The Vampire Diaries and reading, but get ready for a huge Thanksgiving giveaway, it will be announced this week!
Thanks for being here!