Woke up super early this morning (before 7). Well … didn’t finish getting up until after 7. Then I drove Alethea and myself out to … BFE (Ontario). Bought books. Sat through Author panels. Came home. Was very tired. Wrote a post. Wait. Not even a whole post. Wrote a few fragmented sentences filling in for a post. And then wrote some more. Then I deleted that and wrote some more. Why am I telling you about my writing process? Probably because I’m tired and semi coherent. But after listening today’s authors I have decided that the best way to write is to write and a lot of authors don’t outline before writing so … here we go.
THE ONTARIO TEEN BOOK FESTIVAL WAS FUN, FREE, INFORMATIVE AND A GREAT WAY TO LISTEN TO AUTHORS TALK ABOUT THE CRAFT.
Ontario, California. A city I think of for the airport and it’s rather large mall. This year was the third annual Teen Book Fest and from my quick internet research it seems to have really grown! In 2011 they had Katie Alender, Alyson Noel, Nancy Holder, Marlene Perez and Cynthia Hand. Last year they had Jay Asher, Josephine Angelini, Anna Carey, Tahereh Mafi and Alexandra Monir. This year? FOURTEEN AUTHORS. Carrie Arcos, Leigh Bardugo, Jennifer Bosworth, Jessica Brody, Stephen Chbosky, Sara Wilson Etienne, Suzanne Lazear, Marie Lu, Morgan Matson, Gretchen McNeil, Gregg Olsen, Andrew Smith, Ann Stampler and Lex Thomas were scheduled to appear. (Gregg Olsen couldn’t make it and Lex Thomas is actually a writing duo so still 14 authors).
It was like a one day LATFOB just for YA books. With free parking.
Stephen Chbosky was there. Alethea and I saw him at the Barnes & Noble at the Grove when The Perks of Being a Wallflower came out on DVD/Blu-Ray. He’s still very nice. And it seems he’s made a lot of progress with his next book. “It’s a secret” he responded when asked about the title, but not in a way that lead us to believe that it’s actually called that. Doesn’t think it will come out before 2014 but it’s already 550 pages. It’s about a cloud face and he thinks it’s Stephen King-like. Which he thinks is a good thing because he likes Stephen King’s books. It’s been a while since I’ve read Stephen King and I do remember there was a time when I felt a sense of accomplishment because I managed to finish It.
I was rather excited to see Andrew Smith. He was there with his new book Winger which comes out on Tuesday. I finished his book Stick this week and the book touched me in a way that made it absolutely impossible to talk to him about it. I mean not without buying him a drink or two. Yes Andrew Smith, if you catch me at an appropriate time I will buy you drinks. Maybe we can talk about Stick and Bosten and Oxnard and Zogs. Maybe I can ask questions about the book which I can’t really ask sober because the book triggered emotions in me which clouded my ability to discern what is real and what is fiction. Because I can’t believe in St. Fillan’s room.
The new book, Winger is semi (quasi?) autobiographical. I just started reading it and so far it’s very boy. A fourteen year old amongst juniors who are two years ahead of him in a competitive world of rugby. The book contains illustrations and some comic panels and I very much love the cover design. (Thumbs up jacket designer Lucy Ruth Cummins! You too jacket photographer Meredith Jenks! And Sam Bosma, I realllly liked the illustration you did on the rear cover. I’m sure I’m going to also enjoy the art inside the book but I just started it.)
Out of all of the authors there, Andrew Smith seemed to have the most wisdom to share about writing and whatnot. Even his ideas on Young Adult provided insight and his opinion on gender and voice is far more than the rest of his panel could muster.
It seems he’s afraid of writing with a female voice because he doesn’t feel like he could do it properly but he did highlight a few female authors who have written male characters that he felt realistic. AS King was mentioned several times. He praised her upcoming book Reality Boy so there’s that. He also commented that he’s found quite a few YA authors who seem to write cookie cutter male characters.
I commented to Alethea that he must have read The Host.
He also doesn’t agree with the idea that boys are inherently reluctant readers. He provided commentary that we systematically enforce the idea that reading is not masculine. I would assume is associated with boys and sports or boys and cars and not boys reading Hemingway and becoming bullfighters. He then went on to say that language and literacy is part of our evolution as a species. Which then makes me feel bad for writing incoherent blog posts. Zing. He also suggested that common core is involved with either the idea that boys are reluctant readers or reinforcing the idea that reading isn’t masculine. I have no idea what common core is. Alethea didn’t either and neither did Eric.
And on the subject of YA which comes up because Isaac Marion voiced a very strong opinion on YA, Andrew Smith characterized Young Adult as a genre. He suggested that Young Adult merely suggests that your characters are (teenagers) and perhaps that there is a transformative quality in writing for that age level. I assume he would include the ever popular idea of coming of age. Using this criteria, Warm Bodies is a Young Adult book.
And now, the rest of my hauls for the day. Continuing under that path which eventually leads to me being discovered buried under a pile of books…
- Smith, Andrew – The Marbury Lens
- Smith, Andrew – Passenger
- Bardugo, Leigh – Shadow and Bone
Leigh Bardugo wrote Shadow and Bone. The second book in the series, Seige and Storm comes out in June and I didn’t realize that it wasn’t out yet because when I looked up the reviews on Goodreads I found that so many of my friends had already read and reviewed it that I assumed it was out and readily available. No, it seems that instead the book is realllly good and and that they read ARC(s). (Over 300 ratings, higher than a 4.5 average). So it seems like I need to read Shadow and Bone this month. I believe she also recommended the book Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold as “the most perfectly plotted book.” That could be paraphrased and not a direct quote.
A few things attracted me to Ten. The fact that author Gretchen McNeil tracked down Christopher Pike who provided a blurb for the back cover was definitely a significant factor. The fact that Christopher Pike really liked the book also speaks well of this book. Not that I think Christopher Pike is my favorite writer or even a person whose opinion on books I know I can inherently trust…but this is his what he said: “TEN is a real page-turner! Gretchen McNeil knows how to plot a thriller: Her setup is flawless and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat.” And then she also mentioned that she read all of Agatha Christie’s books which is something I’ve thought about doing but have never actually done. Not even after the Doctor Who episode. But what better influences could you ask for of an author who rites a book about a group of teenagers who go to an island and get murdered? Right?!?
A high school is quarantined and a year goes by. Cliques become gangs and what was originally a movie pitch turned into a YA novel because well … the characters are teens. Lex Thomas is the pseudonym of a writing duo, Lex Hrabe and Thomas Voorhies. They’re both tall and I do believe I overheard a female member of the audience suggest that Thomas is attractive. He studied illustration in school but sadly this book is not illustrated. I guess if I need to see illustrations of ultra violence I could read Battle Royale the manga. The sequel The Saints comes out soon… I believe they said it will be a trilogy. Also we must thank the wise people at Barnes & Noble who refused to sell the book under the joke title “QuaranTEEN” …