Thursday, March 6, 2014

YA Lovestruck Author Tour!

Wherein my mom and I venture out to a local (to her) indie bookstore on a lovely Saturday afternoon and meet four fascinating YA authors!  (I must apologize for the tardiness on this post!  The event was on 2/22 and I'm just now posting this.  Shame on me.)

About two weeks ago I get a text from my mom that's a little vague (I don't think she's the biggest fan of texting still) saying that there's going to be a chance to meet four young adult authors at a local bookstore on Saturday, February 22nd, and would I be interested?

I'm definitely intrigued, but I first ask her if she knows the names of the authors.  I get back "Constantine, West, Miranda, and Shepherd."  Anyone out there read much YA?  Yeah... West is a pretty common last name in any situation, and there's about three Shepherds who write YA.  But I've been OBSESSING about Megan Shepherd for a couple of months now, so I write back:

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As you can see from the text conversation, I was a little excited about Megan Shepherd being at the event.  I love how even after reading that, my mom still asks if I'd like to go.  YES please!  

Let me just say one more time:  my mom totally rocks!  She did all the legwork; she called the bookstore and reserved our tickets and picked up our books and invited me to Greenville for the day and went with me to the event and then took me out to dinner.  

So I left the hubby at home this time and traveled down to Greenville, SC on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  I was so excited that I was trembling like a wet chihuahua.  I got to my folks' house and said hello to everyone and my mom and I were off to Fiction Addiction, a small locally-owned independent bookstore.  As I mentioned, I was beyond excited.  I even took a picture of the store door with the poster advertising the event and a picture of the as-yet-empty table where the authors would be sitting.


At this point, my mom may or may not have been embarrassed to be with me in public.  I also took a "selfie" of us together at the event, but I'm not sure I have permission to share that on here... yet.  *slightly evil laugh*  This post may get an edit if I can add it.  :)

We had excellent seats even though it was a ticketed event.  The first row of chairs (they were padded and looked like they didn't fold) was for the VIP ticket holders.  La de da.  My mom & I did not shell out for VIP tickets, but we got 2nd row seats!  I think I was only about 15 feet from real live authors.  And I had an aisle seat; great for taking pictures.  

Here are the authors, about to start their panel discussion!

The name plates on the ends got cut off.  It's Robin Constantine, Megan Miranda, Megan Shepherd, and Kasie West.

Megan Shepherd introduced herself first and shared that she was the mastermind behind this book tour.  See?  I knew that she was awesome.

Megan S. had some questions prepared for the panel, relating to YA and romance.  She pointed out that romance was pretty much the only thing the author's books had in common!  Robin's book is contemporary, Megan M.'s is paranormal, Megan S.'s is gothic, and Kasie's is sci-fi.  But all of them have romance!  Two of the things discussed were sweet romance vs. passionate romance and The Love Triangle trope.  The authors were split on sweet vs. passionate, but they all agreed that The Love Triangle has it's uses!  In fact, most of them had love triangles in their most recent books.  

After their structured panel discussion, the authors opened up the floor for questions.  There were only about 20 people at the event, so many of us got to ask questions!  My mom and I are not shy people, so of course we asked questions.  My mom asked them how long it took to get their first book published, and what that process was like.  There was a small awkward pause... then laughter from all four authors.  "Please don't make us relive that!  We've all blocked that traumatic experience from our memories!"  lol  Turns out it can take years and years and rewrites and rewrites to get published.  But that's good news in a way: never ever give up.  It can take many tries before you finally succeed!  My question: "I work with teen library services, and today's teens have a Twitter-length attention span.  Can you "sell" your books in a sentence or two?"  I thought it was kind of a fun question; I hope I didn't put them too much on the spot.  Here are their answers:

Kasie: "Pretty in Pink meets Pride & Prejudice."
Megan S.: "To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it."
Megan M.: "A girl who can't be convicted of a murder she did commit is then blamed for a murder she didn't commit."
Robin: "Pretty in Pink meets Cruel Intentions."

And with that answer, Robin sold me on her book.  I have it on my Kindle but I wasn't too excited.  I'm not usually into contemporary romances.  But with a Cruel Intentions twist?  I'm intrigued!

Then there was one grad student in the audience who asked Megan S. if she looked to the 1818 or the 1823 version of Frankenstein for research while writing the third book in The Madman's Daughter trilogy.  *queue crickets*  Huh?

Then it was time for book signing!  I had purchased Her Dark Curiosity to get autographed and I already had The Promise of Amazing on my Kindle... after spending an hour with the authors, though, I'm now interested in reading Megan M.'s and Kasie's books too!

Me with Megan Shepherd.  Look at how hard I'm smiling!

My mom had bought Vengeance by Megan M. to get signed.  I was a bad daughter and totally didn't think to get a picture of her with Megan M.

This is the title page of my book.  She signed it "Meg" instead of "Megan."  That means we're like besties now, right?  ;)

Such a fantastic day!!  After all the excitement of the book signing I went out to dinner with my fam (Mom, Dad, sister), so I got in some whole-family quality time.  I ran into a former coworker from ACL at the author event.  I got to meet my current author crush, Megan Shepherd.  And I got to know four YA authors a bit better.  All in all, a super fantastic day!  Mom, if you're reading this:  THANK YOU for inviting me!

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