11 February, 2014

Teen'Scape at LAPL Event Recap

Hello, everyone! I am popping in today to do a brief recap of a really fun event that the Read Now Sleep Later team went to over the weekend. The Los Angeles Public Libary Teen'Scape program put on an awesome event at the Central Library branch last Sat Feb 9, 2014. I arrived pretty early so I could check out the selection in their amazing Teen'Scape space. Before we get to the recap I want to say hi to our friends at The Reader's Antidote, Consummate ReaderThe Windy Pages (aka co-blogger Kimberly) and Laura (who doesn't blog) who were also at the event.

This event boasted 5 fantastic authors (it was supposed to be 6 but Robin LaFevers had to cancel at the last minute). In attendance were Gretchen McNeil (Ten, 3:59), Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch, The Archived), Melissa de la Cruz (Bluebloods, Frozen), Anna Carey (Eve, Once), and Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures, Icons). 

The panel started off with the usual intros and such. Stohl admitted that she hates talking about her books and usually lets her friend and sometimes co-writer, Kami Garcia, do most of the talking if possible. Then the library's moderator (the lovely Mary) had some questions for the panel.

Mary: What comes first - the story or characters?

Melissa said that the story usually comes first. She is a plotter and an outliner. She also said that she tends to write stories about small, elite societies and focuses on and insider/outsider culture. 

Victoria said that she is somewhat unusual in that she will start with a setting for her stories and then starts to imagine what kind of characters would fill those settings, and that's how her stories usually begin.

Gretchen, who has a television background, said that she thinks her Hollywood background has had an effect on her writing because she usually starts with a great tagline and creates the story from there. For Ten she started with the tagline "John Hughes with a body count."

Anna Carey said that Eve was based totally on a character. Her series is about Eve's evolution from a naive young woman into someone who is almost unrecognizable at the end of the series. 

Mary: Who are some of your favorite secondary characters in your books? (awesome question because I love secondary characters)

Victoria said that Roland was originally supposed to be on only one page in The Archived and that she imagined him as David Tennant from Dr. Who. As the story went on though, he made many more appearances and Victoria was quite happy to think of him as David Tennant throughout the writing of the book

While she often loves her secondary characters, Gretchen admits that she usually kills them off in her books. In 3:59 though there is a character that she was supposed to kill, but just couldn't.

Melissa said Shakes from Frozen has the same nickname and is inspired by her brother-in-law.

Anna said that a friendship is like its own love story. Eve and Arden from her series are two halves of a whole.

Margaret said that she knew she was on to something when her kids (who were reading Beautiful Creatures as she wrote it) kept asking to see more of Link. 

Mary: What are some writing risks that you've taken?

Melissa said that spinoffs are pretty risky. Originally she wasn't sure if she wanted to do the adult spin-off to Bluebloods when her editors asked her to. But she thought about it and decided to go for it. Margi said that Melissa likes to live on the edge. 

When writing Ten, Gretchen suddenly realized that she had made a risky move with it because it all hinged on one singular important thing - that the audience not know who the killer was until she revealed it. If the audience was able to figure out the killer too early on, then the book would not work. Luckily, it seems to have all worked out. 

Anna said that she did a couple of risky things in the last Eve series book. There are two pretty big twists in the book that she knew needed to happen and seemed like a natural progression of the story. However, after writing it, she realized that the twists were pretty risky and could have backfired on her.

Then Mary asked the panel what the best piece of writing advice they had ever gotten.

One of the authors (sorry I missed who said it) said that her best advice came from author Alyson Noel, who said to be kind to yourself. 

Victoria said that you can't make something better until you have something, so just write and get it out. 

Anna said that her best advice was to write every day and to be patient.

Margaret talked about the benefits of working out (though she claims to hate people who work out). Exercise helps her get out of her head for a bit and she's good to write for a few hours after a good workout. 

Then there was a raffle (I didn't win The Ring & The Crown, dangit!) and books were signed. All of the authors were really fun and sweet and a little silly (as you can see from the photos above). I've only been to a few events at the LAPL Central branch but they always seem to run really smoothly. If you live in the Los Angeles area, please check out the Teen'Scape Facebook page for future events. If you're not local, check out your local library and see what they are doing.

Hope you guys enjoyed this recap. Happy reading!

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