Sunday, May 17, 2015

Rochester Teen Book Festival!


I'm pretty sure I talked about this a lot, but on Saturday (technically today since I'm scheduling the post), I attended the Rochester Teen Book Festival, and it was a lot of fun despite my nerves! Plus, this is technically my first book event, major or not, but seeing that BEA is just around the corner, I felt like this was my warm up for the real thing.

I'm going to start off by saying that I don't show my excitement outright, but instead keep everything inside. In other words, I tend to seem like a very calm person when it comes to fangirling, and it's true, I am very calm. I don't like to shout or scream or talk loudly with anyone about interests unless 1) I am very excited about something and 2) I know the person very, very well. This is kind of why I am dreading BEA a little, because I'm afraid that I will be overwhelmed by everyone's excitement, but because I attended this festival, I think I am more prepared.

With that said, I do want to recap what happened! The event took place from 9am - 5pm (8 hours how did I do this), and it was divided up between the opening, four author panel sessions, and an autographing session. Basically, I could choose 4 panels to go to, and that meant choosing authors. Luckily, but also unfortunately, I really was only there to see Jennifer Niven, since Sarah J. Maas hurt her ankle and couldn't attend (Sadness). But I also went to see the authors of the books that I read. (Sarah Dessan, Ally Condie, and Ellen Hopkins were guests as well, but those lines were so long that there was no way I was going to dedicate my time to them since I haven't even read their books!)

I brought along my journal to take notes, so here are some fun things I learned about today! Most of it has to do with writing!


  • She used to write adult fiction, and also went to school to become a screenwriter
  • Because she was so interested in the Arctic, she took a trip there and also wrote about it so much that people referred to her as "Arctic Girl"
  • Her writing led her to write adult historical fiction, but then after her agent passed away, she poured her heart and soul into a YA, All The Bright Places.
  • Finch was inspired by a real boy she knew. (His uncle was actually at the panel)
  • All The Bright Places only took six weeks to write!
  • All the places in the book exist except for the bookmobile, sadly, which is why someone MUST come up with it.
  • There is a movie deal, and Elle Fanning is playing Violet!

(The questions were all directed to all the authors, and weren't specific, sadly)
  • For writing a book, scenes help create a character. A character lives in your head!
  • Writer's Block: The inability to cut yourself a break. Most people think that it's because they have run out of ideas or just can't write anymore, when it really is because we tend to think our writing HAS to be perfect throughout the first draft. The first draft is only the bare bones of the novel.
  • There are many different writing processes. Neal Shusterman can only write linearly, from the beginning to the end, while Jonathan Maberry writes the end, and then aims for that. 
  • It's important to remember that there are real world consequences to any of the rules you create in your world. If you want to write about everyone disappearing on Earth except for these two characters, think about all the planes! They would come crashing down!
  • Neal Shusterman goes through four edits before moving on to another chapter. And he always writes down the first draft by hand!

  • Grimalkin in Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey series was actually inspired by an Irish mythical cat/fey, rather than Cheshire cat.
  • Katie McGarry actually has repressed memory, and she transferred that to her character in Pushing the Limits, Echo.
  • She actually spent weeks trying to figure out a name for Echo, who originally was supposed to be named Sarah.
  • Katie was also a reluctant reader. It wasn't until she read The Outsiders when she became more invested in books.
  • Originally Julie Kagawa had (spoilers for The Iron Queen, highlight to read) Ash and Megan separate rather than together in the end, but her editor made her write another book and continue the series in order to bring them back together.
  • Katie's new series Nowhere But Here will feature three sequels, and she hung out with a legitimate biker gang for six months to write the novel!


Overall, I got EVERYTHING I wanted and more. I also sat in Cinda Williams Chima's panel, but I didn't take any notes because I haven't read any of her books. I also got a couple of books signed for my friends and myself. And even though I felt a tiny bit out of place during the opening ceremony because of ALL THE TEENAGERS from schools, I saw more adults at the panels and at the autographing sessions. I know the event placed an emphasis on teenagers, but you know, adults read YA too!