I just returned from the Fierce Reads tour at the lovely Provo Library and wanted to set down my thoughts before it all gets fuzzled away by the dreariness of nursing school that makes up my every Wednesday. Fierce Reads featured Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon, Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder, Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone, Emmy Laybourne, author of Monument 14, and Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck.
The evening in a skeletal outline was this:
* Book bloggers had the opportunity to chat with the authors for about 45 minutes before the main event began
* At the main event, the authors presented their book trailers and a little information about their book
* Then, the authors answered texted in questions at a panel
* Finally, people bought books and had things signed. I did not participate because I am too poor to buy hardcover books at this student-y, pregnant part of my life, and also because I had a quiz to take and a bus to catch before 6 am. I was there in spirit. But it sounds like everyone else had a great time. :)
The evening impressions-wise was this:
* First of all, while I went into this event having read one author's book and knowing that I wanted to read two more, by the end of the evening I was convinced to read the remaining two as well. These women were witty, engaging, and hilarious, and I can't wait to read the stories they have to tell.
* Secondly, I just want to tell you a few of the fun facts I learned about each of these authors.
Anna Banks: Decided to start writing a book after being a waitress. To me, this is completely awesome. I love the idea of having a story to tell and being able to tell it. Also, this woman is absolutely hilarious. She has the driest self-deprecating humor, always with a straight face, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
Marissa Meyer: She is so enthusiastic about writing and her passions, which always makes a person enjoyable to be around. She began her writing career with Sailor Moon fanfiction and got the idea to write futuristic fairy tales from a writing contest (her originally entry was about Puss in Boots).
Jennifer Bosworth: I found out tonight that she is a University of Utah graduate -- soon I will be, too! (Thank goodness). She now lives in LA, which is actually the reason I initially became interested in her book. While I've been to LA at least twenty times, I still feel like I don't really know the city, and I am so excited and nervous about living there that I am hungry to learn more until I am actually there. Anyway, one of my favorite things that she said was that she never believed she could write a book even though she had been writing her whole life until she met her husband. She said he believed in her from day one. It was really clear from the things she said about him how great their relationship is. I always love noticing real-life love stories no matter how subtle, and I loved hearing that from her.
Emmy Laybourne: She was an actor in a former life and was actually in the movie Superstar, which I haven't seen but have heard of, making me feel like I met a celebrity. Emmy was incredibly engaging and entertaining, giving us a few tidbits from her acting career (and she is definitely talented in that respect). She mentioned that while she loved acting, her greatest dream was to be a writer. Loved that. She also mentioned (kind of on a tangent -- I could explain the whole thing but it would take more than I think you are all willing to read) that she loved her body when she was pregnant and that experience made her want to respect her body in the future. I love that sentiment and have been feeling a bit of that myself lately. I think it is so amazing that I am able to harbor a life right now, which makes me want to take better care of myself with eating well (not less, but better) and exercising. Getting very tangential here. But these were my thoughts.
Leigh Bardugo: This lady is also from LA, and she was awesome. Something about her manner was so personable. I would have loved to talk to her one on one because she was just exuberant and fun to listen to. She talked about some of the bizarre foods she came across as she was researching for Shadow and Bone (examples include rye and herring and burnt swan with saffron -- that one I would like to try) and they piqued my little gourmandise interest.
There is so much more I could have said about all of these authors. I am seriously salivating to read the books that I have not yet read. A few more highlights from the night:
* Leigh Bardugo asked why someone didn't just shoot Lord Voldemort. A legitimate question. I also wonder why they only have owls and no voice communication. And also no internet. Not that I would change it. But, you know.
* Marissa Meyer's favorite experience with being published was when a little ten year old girl came up to her hugging a copy of Cinder at the launch party and said, "This is the coolest thing I've ever done." How precious. Somehow the approval of little kids makes everything seem more legitimate.
* One awesome aspect of living in Utah (and one I am going to miss) are the fabulous book bloggers. It was so fun to have people around me that were geeking out as much as I was.
* It was nice hearing that the authors' final drafts differed significantly from what they first wrote. Not that I am even really spending time writing right now (curse you, nursing school), but it always takes a lot of word vomit for me to make a pretty sentence, and sometimes it gets annoying cleaning it all up.
In short -- a great night. A night that makes me want to curl up and read, not get ready for bed so I can wake up at 5:05 am tomorrow morning and deal with reality. But, you know, a great night.