This was my first time attending the Rochester Teen Book Festival and it was amazing experience. Even though I've never been "Ma'am"d so much in my life (stinkin' polite teens!), it was completely worth it to hear kids cheer authors as they were introduced as though they were rock stars. Not just the big names, like Heather Brewer, Svetlana Chmakova, Melissa de la Cruz or Ellen Hopkins either. Everyone received a stellar reception including the new authors in attendance. Seriously, it brought tears to my eyes.
The last time I met an author I was in third grade when Margaret Goff Clark came to my elementary school to read from her book, Who Stole Kathy Young? so I was more than a little excited myself, even if this was an event targeting teens.
|Passing the mic to answer Qs|
|Blathering like a fangirl |
at Shannon Delany
The first session I attended was the Paranormal discussion with authors Rachel Hawkins (Hex Hall series) and Shannon Delany (13 to Life series) both of whom were genuine and easy going and there was lots of friendly banter between them. Ms. Hawkins discussed her love of supernatural, which developed at an early age, as well as her love of Buffy. Ms. Delany talked about how the early loss of her own mother sowed the seeds of her protagonist, Jessie, and how her fascination with Cold War government paranormal research blossomed into her series. Both authors discussed their reader-frustrating cliffhanger habit (Hawkins' fans will be pleased to hear book 3 wraps things up "in a big bow", while Delany fans will be frustrated with a third delicious cliffhanger.)
As any frequenter of Girls Just Reading knows, I'm a huge fan of Shannon Delany's 13 to Life series (my reviews, etc.) and, in actuality, she was the reason I attended TBF. However I was I was only aware of Rachel Hawkins on a cursory level, her Hex Hall series being on my TBR wishlist, but after hearing her speak, I immediately downloaded it onto my Nook. She was clever, witty, and one of two authors who I was completely taken with at TBF.
|Heather Brewer was |
|A.S. King, who thanked|
me for blogging
Only knowing of Heather Brewer going into this session, I again found myself impressed with all three authors, but especially with Ms. King. She has a personality that fills a room without overshadowing it's occupants and her self-assured manner eased the tension in an emotionally charged atmosphere. Ms. King was the other author that impressed me the most. I immediately picked up one of her books ...and one of Ms. Kessler's too.
|Ellen Hopkins was also|
swamped with signings
|Ally Carter singing my book|
The time had come for my only solitary author panel of the day and I had a tough decision to make. I wanted to hear Ellen Hopkins speak but considering that I find Ms. Scott's work too serious, Ms. Hopkins is way too serious for my pallate. So I chose to see Ally Carter (Gallagher Girls series) whose Heist Society has been staring at me from one of my TBR piles for over a year ~ not to mention I've been dying to read the Gallagher Girls series too (A spy academy for girls?!? I'm so in!). Ms. Carter spoke a little of herself and turned the floor over to questions. When asked why Cammie, the protagonist from Gallagher Girls, was so nondescript, Ms. Carter called her a chameleon explaining that real spies are average looking, not the James Bond types we see on the screen. Some of the questions were regarding interactions between characters that fans were displeased over and I loved her response. "I don't work for the readers. I work for the characters, and you wouldn't want it any other way."
Ms. Carter mentioned that Heist Society comes from her love of con movies and her interest in stolen Holocaust art. I had to smile at this because those shared interests are the reason I picked up her book in the first place. She also mentioned that she was supposed to be home thinking of a title for the second Heist Society book, but when I visited her website today, Uncommon Criminals was the title, so she must have done her homework on the fly. When asked about movie rights Ms. Carter acknowledged that WB has Heist Society under option, but, though they have had many offers on the Gallagher Girls, they have yet to find the right fit. All this talk about the Gallagher Girls definitely bumped it closer to the top of my wishlist, and I'm pretty sure you'll be seeing a review of Heist Society soon as well.
It was a long but glorious day followed by a frantic autograph session. The line for Heather Brewer wrapped around the gym, and the line for Ellen Hopkins was out the door. I babbled like a fangirl at Shannon Delany; the poor woman must have thought me addled. I continued to be thoroughly impressed with A.S. King just watching her sign books and interacting with the teens as she did so. I talked with fellow bibliophiles. It may not have been as big as Book Expo America in New York at the end of the month, but for me, it was a wonderful day discovering new authors and watching kids be captured by the written word. I even brought home some goodies for all of you...