13 February, 2013

Author Event - Breathless Reads at Mrs. Nelson's

Earlier this week, Read Now Sleep Later had the awesome honor of being the official bloggers for the Breathless Reads Tour stop at Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop in La Verne, CA. RNSL's very own Alethea moderated the Breathless panel the day before at B&N and told us how great it was. Kimberly and I were super excited to cover this stop on the tour. (Note that this is going to be a pretty long, picture heavy post.) I (Thuy) will be posting in black while Kimberly will be adding her comments in blue.

Kimberly: Did we mention we both took the day off from work to attend? No, day jobs! You will not get in our way! Onward!

We arrived a couple of hours early and were able to get our shopping done before the panel began. After a short break for dinner, we returned to the store to meet Beverly from Mrs. Nelson's and Kathryn, the moderator of the panel. Mrs. Nelson's always goes above and beyond for events and this was no exception.

Kimberly: For real. 

There was a candy station at the back of the room where guests could create their own survival packs filled with M&Ms, Skittles, and candy hearts. That's totally my kind of survival food.

Kimberly: I might, might, have eaten my weight in Skittles that night. Just saying. 

The turnout for the event was very good and everyone seemed very excited to see things get started.  

Kimberly: I'd like to state that I thought this panel was exceptional. All of the talented authors are articulate, charming and positive. There was real excitement in the room and when the panel started- Standing Room only!

After the necessary intros, we got right down to the questions (please note that I am paraphrasing so please don't quote me. Hopefully our audio recording of the panel comes out well and we can put that up at a later date). I am not going to recap all the questions, just some of our faves.

What was the biggest lesson or surprise you had when getting your first book published?

JK: Jessica was surprised by the sudden rise in esteem in the small town she grew up in. A teacher who always had to discipline her for fighting or reading during class called to ask her to come visit their school. Being a published author changed people's perspective of her. 

ML: Surprised by how much of a writer's job is not writing. There are events, interviews, Facebook and Twitter. Surprised by how solitary writing is for half of the year and the other half is extremely social.

BY: Surprised that writing her second book was not that same as writing the first book. She thought that after the first book, she had it down, but then realized that she had no idea how to write the next book. She learned that each book is different and she won't know how to write it, but she will learn and grow from each one.

AC: Agreed with Marie that the extreme dichotomy of solitude vs the world of social media for an author surprised her. She also learned how little most people know about the publishing industry itself.

If you could choose one author to have dinner with, who would it be and what would you ask them?

AC: Neil Gaiman. Andrea is a huge fan of Neil Gaiman and told a funny story of how she used to live across the river from him and had to sometimes tell herself that she was not going to go stalk him. She also said that she had a funny blog post from a long time ago where she talked about wanting to meet Neil Gaiman at the grocery store (I totally found it - here). She would ask him about world building and mythology.

JS: Jessica would love to meet fantasy author Lois McMaster Bujold. She would love to pick Lois's brain and ask her about how she writes such great characters.

ML: Though deceased, Marie chose fantasy author Brian Jacques as her dinner date. Marie would love to ask him about world building and about the food in his books. Apparently there are a lot of food references in his books and Marie wants to know if these foods are real and if Brian could make them for her.

BY: Brenna chose Christopher Pike to invite to dinner. Brenna read a lot of Pike's work when she was a young adolescent and she wants to tell him about the odd perspective his books gave her adolescence. 

kind of love this pic of andrea kimberly took

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

AC: Write the book. She quoted Neil Gaiman saying that the difference between a published writer and an unpublished one is that the published author wrote the book. Don't give up and keep writing.

BY: Don't tell yourself "No." People will tell you "No" every day but don't start to doubt yourself. 

ML: Write, even if the words are bad. Just get it out. Sometimes you have to write a bad scene to get through it, but don't stop. 

JK: If Jessica had to tell her younger, aspiring author self something, it would be to go out and do something. Live life. Find out who you are. It's so easy to get wrapped up in a book and imaginary worlds, but you need to get out there and experience life for yourself.

If you couldn't be a writer and had to choose a "normal job," what would it be?

JK: Casting director

ML: Fighter pilot

BY: Fashion designer, dollmaker, psychological profiler, forensic anthropologist

AC: Dancer or cowboy

Favorite literary couple:

AC: Anne Shirley & Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables)

BY: Peabody & Emerson (Amelia Peabody series)

ML: Ph├Ędre & Joscelin (Kushiel's Dart series)

JK: Po & Katsa (Graceling series)

There were a few more questions after this, but then the signing started. We hung out near the end of the line because Kimberly and I both had a giant stack of books.

Kimberly: And because we were having so much fun, even though it was getting kinda late, we didn't want to leave. 

All of the authors were really fantastic and fun. They signed all the books and posters and I think everyone had a good time. Here are a few last tidbits that I got while speaking with the authors during the signing session.

  • I got Jessica to give me a quick pronunciation guide to her book Origin. So Eio is pronounced Ee-oh (not Ay-oh as I've been saying it, though Jessica admits that she forgets sometimes as well). And Ai'on is said like Iowa. She also said that the Ai'on tribe is not a real tribe but is based on a real tribe from the Amazon.
  • Since Marie had expressed an interest in being a fighter pilot, I asked her if Kaede in Prodigy was her vicarious way of being a pilot and she said yes.  During the panel, Marie also mentioned that her editor named her baby Primo after the Elector Primo, who is named after her boyfriend. 
  • Brenna said that she loves all of the covers to her books (yes - so gorgeous!) but admitted that The Replacement might be her favorite because it was her first novel and the cover exceeded all of her expectations. 
  • I asked Andrea about her new adult series coming out this fall. She said that her publisher had approached her about writing an erotica novel and she came up with the idea for the series. She says that she is a very fast writer (she writes a book every 3 months or so) and says that she often comes to her publisher with ideas for new books or series. She also said that it would be extremely smutty (yay!).

Phew! And that was the end of the evening. Many thanks to Mrs. Nelson's for putting on such a wonderful event as well as the authors and Penguin for putting on the tour. Thanks to my co-blogger Kimberly for being my partner in crime. Kimberly recorded the audio for the panel. We're going to take a listen to it and hopefully it will be good enough to put up. We will definitely let you know if and when that happens.

Shout out to our friends who were also at the event - Crystal (Elegantly Bound Books), Nicole (The Reader's Antidote), Stacee (Adventures of a Book Junkie), Lindy and Ro (A Bookish Escape), and Lolly. I am sure there were other bloggers there as well. You should definitely go to one of the tour stops if you can. We had an awesome time. For more photos please visit our Facebook album for the event.

Kimberly: Also want to mention that Thuy and I did purchase some beautiful SIGNED books that night that we are planning on giving away to you, Lucky Readers! So keep an eye out on Read Now Sleep Later, and on our solo blogs Nite Lite and The Windy Pages.

You may also be interested to know that Mrs. Nelson's has signed books ready to be purchased! So if you missed the event, but still want a signed copy, visit their website or give them a call!

 Who's your favorite Breathless Reads author? Are you going to any of the events?


1 comment:

  1. Awesome post girls! What a beautiful recap, and you Have some awesome pics in there!

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape