GUYS! So I went to the Boston Teen Author Festival this past Saturday, and basically it was one of the best days ever so I just want to share a bit about it.
First of all, two of my best friends came along with me, who are awesome and indulge me in all of my bookish whimsies and for that I am very grateful. We also made a new friend, a girl who had shown up by herself and stopped to ask us if she was in the right place, and we asked her to join us because book festivals are much more fun with people than alone. I gave her the name of my blog so if she’s reading this, hi Kelsey!! I should have taken a photo of the four of us but I was On a Mission to see all the authors and I didn’t think of it.
Anyway the festival started off with a panel of ALL THE AUTHORS.
So YEAH that’s Leigh Bardugo in the front, Adam Silvera and Benjamin Alire Saenz in the back, and Mackenzi Lee in the middle, just to name a few of my favorites. Here’s the full lineup if you’re curious.
The moderator asked them some silly questions like “what would your main character’s high school superlative be?” and the one that stood out to me most was Benjamin Alire Saenz’s answer “two Latino boys who are least likely to fall in love with a girl.” IT WAS PRECIOUS. He’s the only author I would have liked to meet that I didn’t get a chance 😦 😦 But at least I got to hear him speak! 🙂 🙂 Sandhya Menon also said Dimple from When Dimple Met Rishi would take Simon from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda to the prom and that was…….the most adorable answer.
Then we high tailed it to our first panel about retellings, which of course Leigh Bardugo was in (our Top Priority), and it was my favorite panel of the day, and very much the most entertaining.
The other authors in this panel were Jason Reynolds who wrote Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Ashley Poston author of Geekerella, and Kerri Moniscalco author of Stalking Jack the Ripper. They were all super delightful and hilarious.
The next panel was in the same room, so we battled our way against the tide to the second row as the room cleared out to get a better view. The second panel was about writing from multiple points of view, a topic I was very interesting in hearing professional authors discuss. Authors in this one were Cinda Williams Chima author of Shadowcaster, Tara Sim who wrote Timekeeper, Lisa Maxwell author of The Last Magician, and Victoria Aveyard author of the Red Queen series. I still don’t really know what the Red Queen books are about and don’t really have any urge to read them, but Victoria Aveyard was delightful and I want to be her friend. And Cinda Williams Chima was very funny.
THEN we went to our final panel, which was about historical fiction. There I saw Shannon Parker author of The Rattled Bones, Mitali Perkins author of You Bring the Distant Near, Katherine Locke author of The Girl with the Red Balloon, and Mackenzi Lee author of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. I really loved this panel, and it was lovely to listen to these women be so passionate about history and writing and how difficult it can be. And as always they were very funny.
One thing that really struck me was just how much these authors SOUND like their books. They way they spoke and the cadences of their voices reminded me of their writing styles, and how they acted, their mannerisms and the words they chose was like getting glimpses of their characters in the flesh. Mackenzie Lee in particular had SO much Monty from Gentleman’s Guide in her. Benjamin Alire Saenz was as gentle as his books. Ashley Poston was perhaps even more exuberant than Geekerella. It’s not surprising, really, but just so fascinating to see how books are truly the brain children of their authors. After hearing Mitali Perkins speak and then going home to read her her book, I was expecting her writing to be just as fluid and pleasant as the way she spoke, and it was.
Then…..THE BOOK SIGNINGS.
My friends and I waited in the line outside for a bit before they opened the doors to the hall, so we got right inside and RIGHT into Leigh Bardugo’s line because I did not haul by copy of Crooked Kingdom around all day for nothing. Her line was MASSIVE and my friends are wonderful and saved my spot (they’re not quite as bookish as I am so didn’t feel the need to run around like I did) while I hopped into the lines of other authors to meet them and have them sign some of the books I’d bought while I was there.
First I met Shannon Parker and Mitali Perkins (both in that history panel) and I told them how I loved listening to them speak about history and they were SO extremely nice. Then I met Jason Reynolds and told him how he’s the first person in the history of the world who made me want to read a superhero book because of all the culture he put into it, and he signed my copy of his Miles Morales Spider-Man book and wrote “Steph, this one is for you” and he was also SO NICE. I also shook Karen M. McManus’ hand (author of One of Us is Lying) even though I didn’t have her book with me. I actually shook all their hands, is that strange??? I work in HR I felt it was only polite, and also I just wanted to shake all their hands and thank them for their great books.
Then I waited in Adam Silvera’s line for a bit, and when it was finally my turn I told him I loved his books and thanked him for accepting my friend request on Goodreads (like Facebook, but it’s about books so it’s better, we agreed). Then he asked me if I wrote, and I said yes, and he asked about what, so I had no choice but to tell him about my atrocious mermaid novel I completed a few months ago, and he said, “I feel like mermaids need to happen. Like, someone needs to make them happen.” Then he drew a mermaid wrote “make mermaids happen” in my book, so I have no choice but to make them happen now.
THEN. Leigh Bardugo. It says a lot that I was able to do all of this and still go back and wait in her line for another 15-20 minutes until I met with her.
I had two things planned that I wanted to say to her. 1) That I had watched an interview of her in which she said, “Just finish. You’ll learn more from a complete, dreadful first draft than you’ll ever learn from a thousand perfect first chapters.” And I taped this quote to my computer to make myself finish that mermaid book I had talked about with Adam Silvera, and it was the driving force in getting me to finish when it was like pulling out teeth to get there. I wanted to thank her for that, and the inspiration (I did actually enjoy writing that story, it’s true). And 2) That I love Wylan.
She signed my book, and I must say that as I was telling her my first point she gave me her COMPLETE ATTENTION, complete eye contact, like what I was saying was the most important thing she’d heard all day. Even afterward, my friend who was watching was like, WOW she really knows how to devote attention to her readers. Then she high fived me and told me to put her in my acknowledgements. Which, OKAY SHE CAN GO RIGHT WITH ADAM. I got a picture and I told her I loved Wylan and she was like ME TOO and it was truly the best five minutes of that entire day (and it was a pretty good day).
Then my friends wanted to get their Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue books signed, so we waited in Mackenzi Lee’s line for a while, and it was worth it to be able to tell her how much I adore Monty, even though I had no book with me for her to sign. She was super nice and happy, though, and gave me this great pin.
Then, the wonderful day was over, we said goodbye to our new friend Kelsey, I dropped one of my friends off at the train station, and then my final friend and I went and got dinner ASAP because we took no food breaks because who needs food when there are authors and books to be seen and talked about. So yeah I ate a bagel at 8 am and didn’t eat till around 6pm that night. Worth it though.
My first book festival was a roaring success, I’d say (and it was my favorite price…FREE). I definitely need to go to more of these. And look how nice the weather was!!
Cambridge, MA is a lovely place.
So…yeah! It was great! Just wanted to share that with you all 😀 Were any of you there and we missed each other?? That would be sad and amazing.
Let me know about any of your own favorite festival/meet and greet experiences!! Have you gotten to meet your favorite authors? Did you shake as much as I did afterward?? I want to know!