24 April, 2012

Author Event - Maggie Stiefvater & Corey Whaley at Burbank Public Library

Hello, everyone! I had a really fun book event the other day at my very own local library. Burbank Public Library hosted Maggie Stiefvater Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Scorpio Races) and Corey Whaley (Where Things Come Back) for a talk on April 23, 2012. I've seen Maggie several times before but this was my first time seeing Corey whose book, Where Things Come Back, I've been dying to read. Both came to talk about their new books, read an excerpt and then answer questions from the audience. 

Maggie started the night off with a brief intro and read a passage from The Scorpio Races. Maggie said that she had always wanted to write a story about the mythical water horses that she had read about when she was a child. The story was of a beautiful but also deadly creature. The original myth was very strange and had all of these weird rules for the horses and it wasn't until she realized that she could get rid of the parts of the story that she didn't like was she able to finally write the story. She also likened her book to Top Gun but then said her editor didn't like that and switched to say that her book was like My Little Pony/Jurassic Park.

Corey read a bit from his book and then told us about how he had always wanted to write a coming of age story. He had written for awhile but he never felt like he had the right story to tell. One day in college he was driving and listening to NPR when a story came on about musician Sufjan Stevens. The story was about how Stevens wrote a song about an ivory-billed woodpecker after hearing about this rare bird being spotted in a small town. The town was all but dead but, after the sighting, people started to flock there in the hopes of spotting the bird. Corey realized that this town would be a great setting for his book and that's when the seeds of Where Things Come Back came from. 

On naming characters:
Corey was actually in his car when he came to a fork in the road leading in two directions to two different towns. The signs were close together and the names of the towns seemed like a fitting name and that name became the first character in his book. Later on, on a trip to his hometown he passed another small town whose name he also appropriated for his book. Then he decided to keep up the pattern and pulled the names of town from all over Arkansas and Louisiana and made names from those towns. One character, who is an outsider, did not get a town name. 

Maggie said that she believes that a character's name is a reader's first impression of them. Take any name and, when you hear it, you have an idea of that person. She thinks that people either embody their names or are the exact opposite of it. For Sam from the Wolves of Mercy Falls, she named him because it was only one letter off from "sad," which she felt he was. Unfortunately her editor pointed out that there was already a werewolf named Sam in the Twilight series and asked her to change it. For several days Maggie went through books and even tried out the name Lee for awhile, but none of them felt right. She was reading the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs at the time (love!) and realized that there was also a werewolf named Sam in that series. Then she pulled all of the books she could find with werewolves named Sam in them and told her editor that people would probably be more confused if the werewolf wasn't named Sam, than if he was. So Sam stayed. :)

What they're reading/like to read:
Corey said that he loves Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He said that after he read Perks, he wanted to be able to write a book like Perks. He also said that he reads a lot of Kurt Vonnegut and his fellow YA authors.

Maggie, a cynic, doesn't cry at books or movies (like me!) but that she cried a lot reading The Time Traveler's Wife. The book really moved her and is probably the only book so far that has made her shed tears. She also said that she reads a lot of non-fiction because she is always doing research and looking for new ideas.

Obviously a lot more was said than what I am paraphrasing here but this already a pretty long post. Maggie and Corey were both awesome and I learned a lot listening to them. After the talk, we were able to buy some books (note to library--if you're only going to accept cash and checks, let people know before the event). I brought two books of Maggie's to get signed - my awesome UK edition of Lament (thanks, Kimberly!) and Ballad. Oh--Maggie said that she just turned in the third faerie book, yay! And I bought a copy of Where Things Come Back for Corey to sign.

All in all a very fun night. Thanks, Corey and Maggie, for coming out to my hood!

Visit Maggie at maggiestiefvater.com and follow @mstiefvater on Twitter
Visit Corey at johncoreywhaley.com and follow @corey_whaley on Twitter

Find more of Thuy's adult book reviews at rnslnitelite.blogspot.com and follow @fishgirl182 on Twitter

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