Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Hey Everyone! So I'm back from my trip to NYC to go to this little book signing in this little book store for....

Kristin Cashore!
Justine Larbalestier!
Scott Westerfeld!
Libba Bray!!!



I so wanted to post this immediately last night, but the trip, not to mention lugging half my weight in signed books around the city left me like this...

"No more pictures. I am Le Tired."

But let's back up a bit and I will share with you my day, meeting these 5 AMAZING writers, and give you so many tidbits about the signing, you'll feel like you were there. I promise!

The FNC chicas unfortunately couldn't make the trip with me, something about having jobs and being responsible and stuff. Whatever, I know where my priorities are;) But my friend Courtney who is also an amazing YA writer came with me.

"OMG we're about to meet JustinLarbalestierScottWesterfeldLibbaBrayKristinCashoreSuzanneCollins!"

Anyway after taking the train to Pennstation, and an obligatory stop at Starbucks for a vanilla soy latte, we ended up at Books of Wonder, a really cool independent bookstore. When we got there, we met Allary (Hi Allary!) who was not only an awesome book seller but also a writer at the New School, and you know who her teacher is? David Levithan! Yeah! So Allary will hopefully grace us with a guest blog soon on what it's like to study under a master!

Courtney and bought all of the books that we didn't already own and chilled for a bit before the signing. They had these really cool stickers, so we decided to turn both of our notebooks into Official Hunger Game Books.

We're trying to look very serious and Katniss like.
Anyway, along the way we befriended Sherry and Faye, our cool new friend who is a publishing intern and in her final semester at Columbia! We also ogled all of our books while we waited and tried to spot the authors as they came in the door-we saw Suzanne Collins first and said hi, but she really needed to pee...

So many pretty books!

About a half hour before the signing started we got our seats (front row baby!). And now the fun starts.

Each author got a chance to talk for a few minutes about their books before taking questions.

Justine Larbalestier:
-Started off saying she's married to Scott Westerfeld (did you know that? I didnt before last night) and then "Libba Bray is my BFF, and Kristin Cashore is my lover. I'm easy." This was hilarious in context and made Scott woop!
-Liar was her first non-fantasy and an attempt at social realism
-She won't ever tell you what actually happened in the story

Kristin Cashore:
-Didn't know she'd write Fire when she wrote Graceling
-Fire came from a line in a convo with Po when he mentioned monsters. It was a throw away line that stuck and intrigued her and was the seed from which Fire grew.

Scott Westerfeld:
Scott showed some pictures on the ceiling and I tried to take pictures but all I got was this...

Looks sort of cool anyway.
-Scott gave a small history about everything was illustrated before the camera
-Then came the Westerfeld cliff notes edition of WWII, "...and 6 years later 30 million people were dead."
-He decided to write Leviathan because he realized when your parent dies, it feels like the world is broken. But what if when your parents died, the world really did break?

Libba Bray:
-"Way to raise the bar Westerfeld (after his picture show) now all I can do is pole dance!" I LOVE Libba!
-Described Going Bovine as the feel good mad cow disease quixotic road trip book of 2009
-No yard gnomes were harmed in the making of her book
-Also Libba is incredibly beautiful and together in real life. She is also just cool!

Suzanne Collins:
-Only appearance this fall because she is finishing Hunger Games 3!
-It was her idea to do a group event
-She opened by gushing about the books of the other authors on the panel (She is not only talented by AMAZINGLY SWEET and a lot of writers should take a lesson from that, she gets back the energy she puts out into the universe).
-This was also her first time in public in 4 months

Q and A Time! (Im using the author's initials below FYI)

SW: Favorite character: Alex or Darren? Writing Darren was the best.

SC: Will we get maps of Panem? "No, because it would give you knowledge that Katniss doesn't have. She doesn't know where the other districts are." But Suzanne herself does have a map. Lucky!

SC: Will there be a 4th book? No. But she does need to start working on the screenplay for The Hunger Games (SQUEEE)

LB: Was the band in Going Bovine based on a real band you liked? No, they were a crazy figment of her imagination but there was some inspiration in there from The Beach Boys and The Beatles. She also told us how late she was in realizing how amazing The Beach Boys were when she finally listened to Pet Shop.

KC + SC: How do you come up with such unusual names for your main characters?
SC said that she was reading about survival when working on HG and Katniss is a regional plant with arrow shaped leaves (how cool is that?). So depending on your district you had a name associated with the area or its industry. In the capital, they all have Roman names.

LB threw in that she LOVES SC's names.

KC said she was jealous of Katniss because she thought that was a better name than Katsa. Also people's last names in real life make good fantasy first names. The Leanids all had color names or names with a color hidden inside. She had an impossible time naming Po's mom and still needs to.

This was funny because SC and KC acknowledged how funny it was that their books came out at the same time and how similar their names were: Katniss and Katsa. Also book two for both of them had Fire in the title.

SC: Did you have personal experiences that inspired you to write the relationship between Katniss and Prim? She was the youngest of 4 and a "military brat" moving around a lot, so she and her siblings always had a tight bond.

SC: Where did you get the idea for HG? She was tired in bed and channel surfing between reality shows and footage of the war in Iraq which molded in her mind. War footage scares her and affects her  greatly because her dad was in the military and fought in Vietnam. It'd be scary to know her dad was fighting somewhere and then see an image of that fight on tv and know he was there somewhere. The myth of Theseus and the minotaur also came into play and she loved gladiator movies as a kid. You can see a big connection between Katniss and Spartacus.

SW and JL: How does married life affect your writing and who is the better author? (this got a lot of surprised laughs)
JL said married life is great because they share tasks (oh and I forgot to mention that JL was wearing these super hawt cowgirl boots) and it's wonderful living with another writer. She was miserable before she was a writer, she was an academic and hated academic writing and footnoting. When her fellowship ran out she decided to apply for some jobs but Scott convinced her to write and offered to support them with his writing while she wrote her first book.

SW said he was miserable when she had her job too;) One thing they do is read to each other which is nice because being a writer takes a lot of patience and this gives them instant gratification. He said being a writer is like being a high diver diving off the board and making these awesome flips and then standing on the deck for 23 months before the judges call out the score and applaud.

They read aloud a few chapters at a time. SW also mentioned that reading aloud is great because no one can hear your comma splices! JL is very expressive when she listens to SW but apparently SW has an unchanging gold fish face when he listens (haha).

And who is the better author?

SW says that JL writes sheer poetry but he writes kick ass action scenes.

SC: When will we learn the title of book 3? (Suzanne looked ready to share but her agent in the audience quickly announced that no one could know that yet)

For everyone: Which character would you spend a day with?
KC: Bitterblue because she relates her to the most, she is just ordinary like KC, and also she could ask her "Why won't you listen to me? I'm trying to write a scene and why must you be so secretive and uncooperative?"

LB: Winnie the Pooh! She mentioned a funny story about how she had the same answer when she was 8, that Pooh accepted himself as he was and she wished she could be more like that which proves she was angsty at 8 and was bound to be an angsty writer when she grew up, but mostly Pooh is like a Buddhist philosopher to her.

SC: Simon in Lord of the Flies

JL: Ida May in Flygirl, actually she wants to write fanfiction for her

SW: Dr. Barlow

SC: Who is your favorite-Peeta or Katniss? "Hard to play favorites, but Peeta is definitely the nicer of the two." (Then someone yelled Peeta or Gale?) "Oh no, I can't tell you that."

SC:Where did you get the idea to make the contestants at the end of HG into mutts? She wanted to add a psychological level of terror to the mutations and make them useful like the jabberjays that bring info. Seeing the eyes of the dead tributes had to be the most terrifying thing to experience at the end when you were nearly at your breaking point.

SC: Can you talk about the importance of bread? Panem means bread. She got this from a Latin phrase meaning "Bread and Circuses" written by a satirist in ancient Rome commenting on how the people gave up their freedom for full bellies and entertainment. Food can be used as a weapon, denying food can destroy people, so bread is central to the world of HG.

And finally...Why do Dystopian books work so well in YA?

LB: It's a scary time now and you feel powerless and horrified by what the country is coming to and there isn't anything you can do. This mirrors the way it feels to be a teenager, but these books all offer a glimmer of hope that you'll come out of it in the end.

JL: High school IS a dystopia. You are controlled by bells, a strict schedule, teachers in front of the room controlling you

SW: Teens are in a wierd position to make close relationships but not keep them. At any moment your parents could decide to move and airlift you out of your life which is what happens to many characters in stories, their entire life is taken in place of something new.

Ok, hope you enjoyed all of the Q&A! Next we got our books signed and we got to do this right away because Courtney and I had really good numbers!

Kristin Cashore was really sweet and posed for this picture.

And Libba Bray was really fun to meet too. She noticed all of my note taking (for you guys) and said she kept wondering what was going into that notebook! All kinds of secrets! But now she knows:-)

And of course Courtney and I took a picture with Suzanne Collins!

Check out her mockingjay necklace. I want one soooooooo bad!

And here is a pic of the mayhem, there were a lot of people in there.

Books signed and a little star struck...Courtney, Faye and I went out for some vegan Thai food. Yumm!!!

And that was our day! It was fantastic! And exhausting...

I'll leave you with some reader porn...



  1. WOW your so lucky!

  2. I am literally SPEECHLESS (possibly because my mouth is hanging open and drool is dripping). What a day!!!!!


  3. I was thinking about attending this event and now I regret my decision not to! But thanks for recapping it so well. Glad you had a good time!

  4. AMAZING. I can't wait to see those signatures in person. Libba is too funny. I really do need to meet her.

    "Only appearance this fall because she is finishing Hunger Games 3!" - Yes, i desperately want to read HG3, but this makes me le sad.

    And yes, I'm a stick-in-the-mud for working instead of coming with you... but I'm using my last 2 vacation days to extend my revision time! No shame in that, right?

  5. Thanks for taking all the notes! I wish I could have been there myself, but this was great too!

  6. I'm so jealous!! I wish we lived closer to NYC so we could do this kind of stuff!

  7. Wow! What an awesome day. Thanks so much for sharing. Lucky girl!

  8. Okay, I guess I'll forgive you for meeting all those cool authors because you shared so thoroughly. SO, So jealous still--but I'm glad you had a great time. Thank you SO much for all the pictures and details.

    PS: How did you not know SW and JL were married? Don't you follow them on Twitter? If not, you need to. They tweet back and forth and it's hilarious.

  9. Wow is right. Thanks for writing it all up and letting us experience a tiny taste of an amazing event!

  10. Thanks for doing such an amazing detailed recap! It's almost as good as being there. And I REALLY wanted to be there. I've met JL but not the others and I hope they come to Oz!

  11. What a great opportunity you had to go to that signing! I am so jealous! You did a great job with the recap. Thank you!

  12. Fabulous! Awesome recap, and I'm so jealous that you got to meet all of them!

  13. So jealous!

    I bet Libba Bray will always remember you now!

    Thanks for the reader porn, it was hawt.

  14. You DEFINITELY took much better notes than I did. And great pics!

  15. I'm glad everyone enjoyed! Thanks for all of the comments:-)

  16. Wow, this sounds like it was so awesome! Thanks for sharing. :)

  17. I, too, am SO JEALOUS. I wish I didn't live halfway around the world from NYC!

  18. Wow, intense note taking! I was there too - it was soooooo much fun! Here's my own blog post on the evening:

  19. Cool Angela, next time we will have to meet:)

  20. Oh my goodness, I do think I could die, right now. So insanely jealous and happy for you! If I knew about this, I would have booked a plane right there with you (and yo think you were THIS close to finding out the title!). Book Porn? I fell off my seat laughing.

  21. Did you guys see??? Your post made Publishers Weekly. Linkage below:

    Rock it, Frankie!

  22. Anissa - We had no idea! Frankie and I are together right now and we're freaking out! Thanks so much for pointing out the link. You made our night!

  23. This is the best porn EVER! I'm so jealous. Thanks for the amazing recap.

    Congratulations on making Publishers Weekly, that is awesome!

  24. Cool, Frankie! You made PW! And great note-taking, by the way. I almost felt as if I were there (wish I could have been).

  25. Wow.... I love randomly finding unnatractive photos of myself on the internet... (First
    "mayhem" photo--red shirt)... You may remember me as the Books of Wonder employee whose unfortunate job it was to yell numbers at the top of my voice to line up the obsessed hordes.

    My co-worker, Allary, told me she really liked your blog so I stopped by. Both Al and I are writers and we're trying to meet as many people as possible that actually care about the business. For what it's worth I really enjoyed your blog and I'd love you forever if you blacked out my face in that photo :o)

  26. Ok, Joe get ready to love me forever! I'm taking the picture out. Yay for meeting more writers. Loved your store and loved Allary!

  27. Awesome! You got to meet and take pictures with some of my favorite authors! :) Looks like a lot of fun.

  28. I stumbled upon this blog because i ♥ me some hunger games. THANK YOU SO MUCH for the "secret" note-taking!!

    you are very lucky!!

  29. LUCKY! I am SO SO jealous! Thanks for the "reader porn"

    And I thought I'd just point out that its spelled Deryn, not Darren.

  30. Thank you SO much for posting this! I really really enjoyed reading it; especially the things that Suzanne Collins said. Gracias!


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