Monday, September 24, 2012

Queen "B"s

Last Friday evening, I attended an author event at the nearest Barnes and Noble bookstore. It featured three awesome women YA authors whose last names all happened to begin with the letter B:



I'm not sure what they're looking at but from left to right: Sarah Rees Brennan, Holly Black, and Libba Bray

Cassandra Clare was scheduled to appear on the panel but unfortunately she couldn't attend much to the disappointment of my teen posse. But then, her last name begins with "C" and I would have had to think of something more clever for a title to this post. So, I guess it evens out, right?

Anyway, back to the event. If you've ever been to a panel event or a single author signing (single as in "the only one" not their marital status) and you love books, and especially if you dream of the day when you might be the featured author, that moment when you see the author is thrilling. At least for me it is.

We were cramped into an area which was much too small for the number attending. I mean, seriously. Four YA authors were supposed to speak, there were about 4 rows of chairs (maybe 24 chairs total), along with about 6 comfy chairs against the window (I'm thinking those people must have camped out or bribed the staff to get those). If you didn't get a seat, you stood cramped together or sat on the floor at the bottom of the table - not much room. I stood behind the chairs, but got to lean against a bookshelf. It was on the warm side, I was tired, and they were late due to traffic. However, those feelings melted away when I spotted Libba, followed by Holly, and then Sarah walking down the aisle opposite me toward the gathering. There's something almost magical about seeing someone in person who has contributed something so creative to the world - whether it be a book, music, art...I don't know, call me crazy.

The night began with the trio humorously bantering back and forth, and chatting about each other's latest books: Sarah Rees Brennan's Unspoken, Holly Black is between books (Black Heart, the last book in her trilogy, was released a few months ago and  Doll Bones, an MG novel will be released in 2013), and Libba Bray's The Diviners. The highlight had to be Brennan's spontaneous "interpretive dance" version of The Diviners. 

Sarah brings Kami, Angela, and Jared to life during her reading from her novel, Unspoken.

Then each author read an excerpt from her own novel. When Bray read from her prologue from The Diviners not a sound could be heard from the audience. Brennan's read was highly entertaining and was complete with accents and a little disrobing...ahem. Holly could have promoted from her latest book, Black Heart or from Doll Bones. But did she? NO! (that's a surprised no not an angry no, people). Instead, she pulled out the stapled pages from a portion of her unfinished manuscript, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. How awesome is that? Can I say how that spoke volumes to me? Trusting her audience with the beginnings of a new work. And the excerpt was wonderfully creepy!

Next was the question and answer session. My favorite question that was asked was, When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? Sarah knew at 7, Holly knew at around 9, Libba at 18. Although each shared a personal story related to that moment when she knew, Libba's story was very moving. Holly spoke about how finishing a first draft was the hardest part of writing for her, and about how difficult it was to take an idea that's inside her head and getting it down on paper the way she imagines it.

In the end I was glad that I went even though I didn't wait around for the signing portion. It had been the end to a long week and I wasn't feeling that great (the beginnings of a cold), there was a big crowd, and the girls were anxious to leave. These women were a class act.

Have you read any books from these authors?

8 comments:

  1. I have read Clare's series. Love the Infernal Devices. She really knows how to twist you hear strings. Haven't read anyone else.

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    1. I haven't read anything by Clare or Brennan, though I hope to in the future.

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  2. It's always great to hear an author read from their pages!

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    1. Me too, Liza. I especially loved listening to Laini Taylor read from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Unfortunately, she won't be touring in my area for her next book :(

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  3. Love Libba Bray! Her books are incredible.

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    1. I've only read two. I liked Going Bovine a lot. I really admire her talent.

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  4. Sounds like a terrific experience, and I LOVE your post title. Very clever!

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    1. Thanks, Susan :) I love author events!

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