Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Fierce Reads Event Recap by Sarah!

Sarah recently went to a Fierce Reads Event which featured Leigh Bardugo, Joesphine Angelini, Emma Mills and Leila Sales. They had some interesting things to say about writing/becoming an author, and Sarah was nice enough to write me a recap of the event!

A picture of all of the authors!

I attended a stop of the Fierce Reads Tour, at my local independent bookstore, Flyleaf Books. The tour featured four YA authors and their new releases; Leigh BardugoJosephine AngeliniLeila Sales and Emma Mills. A librarian who is in charge of the local teen engagement center moderated the discussion and Q&A.
Confession time: I have never been to an author signing event, and I only went for Leigh Bardugo. But, I am so excited I went because now I have found some great new (to me) authors and books.

This event was a blast. Leigh did dominate the discussion, and cracked many jokes, but I was ok with that :) As I looked around the room, I noticed it was a pretty diverse audience. It was probably 50% teenagers, and 50% adults. Some teenagers were there with their parents, and there were even a few boys (including the moderator). Once the Q&A got going, it was apparent most of the teenagers in attendance were there from the POV of a prospective author, and not just as a reader/fan.

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Fierce Reads Swag

The discussion opened up with an ice breaker, "What type of animal would your book be?"
Leigh laughed and said "obviously, mine is a bear." So then, they attempted to go down the line and answer, but it quickly turned into what the authors think vs. what Leigh thinks, as she would disagree and pick out a different animal. The funniest one was when Leila tried to say her was a dog, and Leigh said "no, a peacock, a peadog."

Next up, they discussed their individual writing processes. What parts did they like writing best, and how did they prepare to write their books such as outlining etc.?

Josephine-She is by far the most regimented of the group. She told us how before she writes her books, she has each and every character bio done, every chapter is outlined and she knows her beginning and endpoint. For her most recent book, Fire Walker, she had just given birth to her daughter. So she would wake up at 4am, and basically write as much as she could until her baby woke up. Interesting fact, she also said that she never reads her first draft, instead she has her husband or editor read it and tell her if it sucks or not.

Leila-Her story was interesting. Leila says that she will get an idea, and write in that direction as long as she can, then someone "picks her up" and places her in another direction, then she will write as long in that direction as she can. She further explained this by saying sometimes it is herself who sees that this is not the right path, and changes her course herself. Other times it is her editor who has to move her in another direction. At one point she had 3 different versions of her latest novel and had to pick which one worked the best.

Emma-Emma Mills is a debut author, and she talked about how she didn't really have a particular writing process. She started to write her newest book while she was in high school and wrote portions of it "chopped up" over 5 years in between school and working. She also describes her book, First & Then, as Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights.

Autographed poster
Autographed poster

Leigh-Leigh is hysterical. Basically from this point on she spoke the most of the four. Leigh said that she wrote the proposal for Six of Crows and turned it in to her publisher. She felt that this was the "golden ideal" of the story, and couldn't bring herself to actually write the book because nothing measured up to that proposal and she was always comparing herself. She described it as "the greatest movie trailer ever made."

Ok after this, I honestly stopped taking notes on the other three authors' answers, so I will just tell you what Leigh discussed.

Leigh Bardugo explained that prior to starting Six of Crows, she was away at a writer's retreat. Inspiration struck and she wrote the "zero draft" which was 30,000 words, in one week. For comparison, the final draft of Six of Crows is 130,000 words. Her favorite part to write are the dialgoues, particularly banter. Apparently her editor has to sometimes rein her in or else she will write 10 pages of banter. She also loved to write the relationship between Nina and Matthias in Six of Crows. The two have a love/hate relationship as Nina is a Grisha, and Matthias is a Grisha Hunter, but they have to work together for the heist. On the flip side, Leigh explained that she HATES having to describe gestures. She said "gestures are the bane of my existence!"

trying to make a gesture
Trying to make a gesture

One really interesting thing Leigh mentioned was the fact that when she initially writes her books, she has no idea what the overall theme will be. She gets the first draft completed, and then it is only when she goes back for revisions that the theme emerges and she fleshes it out. Also, what was most intriguing was the fact that in her first draft, she doesn't even include much world building or character descriptions. Which is crazy to me because she is known for her complex world building and magical systems. It seems that she just writes as much as she needs to get the first draft down and have the story complete, then she goes back to add in the good parts!
During the Q&A, one audience member asked the authors "I've heard when you are developing characters, you should think about whether they would react to a situation as fight or flight, and then write all of their actions using that, is that true?"

Joesphine Angelini took the lead on this one and said she doesn't believe there is any one way to write a character. Character development is so rich and complex, there is no right or wrong. Also, a character could start out one way, say timid, and that could be part of their character arc, that they learn to become more confident in their actions.
A picture of some of the books! 

Another question was directed at Leigh and asked "Do you have characters jump out at you and demand that you write their story, or is it more that the story jumps out and you then create the characters to drive the story?" I loved her answer to this. She made a metaphor that her brain is like a crock pot. She may have a character, or story, first, but she isn't ready to write about it, so she puts them back in the crock pot to marinade. And when she is ready, she takes them out of the crock pot, where they have had time to develop more until the right time pops up.

Ok so then I raised my hand to ask a question. I had seen on Leila's instagram she had gone for a walk around Chapel Hill and found a castle. She had also brought this up in the beginning saying she was enjoying this stop. So I was picked and I said "Leila, do you have any idea what that castle is?" "No, what is it?"

So I explained. The castle in the middle of Chapel Hill belongs to the Secret Order of the Ghimgoul. It is a society at UNC that picks male students to be a part of, and apparently they hold parties in the castle. However, there are also ghost stories told about it, one that includes a rock with blood stains on it outside the castle. Nobody really knows much about it, as no one ever says they are in the order, and nobody is ever seen at the castle. All four authors loved this and talked about writing a short story book about Tales of the Ghimgoul!

Then, the best part of the entire night. I got to meet the authors and get my books signed!
Be Too Much
Wtches Burn
Witches Burn

The Fire Rises
The Fire Rises

I had to purchase a new book for the signing line, and since I already own Six of Crows, I chose Fire Walker and Trial by Fire by Angelini. She was so nice! I talked to her about my love of anything to do with Salem and witches. She grew up outside Salem, Mass and knew she had to write a story about it.

meeting Leigh Bardugo
Meeting Leigh Bardugo!

Free buttons and a pen
Free buttons and a pen!

Leigh was awesome and gave me these buttons! I got her to sign my book and my poster, and I even took a picture with her. I admitted to her that I initially came for her, but I enjoyed the discussion and I would be doing a write up. She asked if she had met me before, I told her no but I do get that a lot, its weird. Before getting a pic I asked "Is it weird if I want to get a picture with you?" "No, what's weird is if you take a piece of my hair and pray to it every night." LOL.

I had such a good time. Since it was my first author event I wasn't sure what to expect. Next month the same bookstore is hosting Richelle Mead and I think I'll go to that too!


Thank you so much to Sarah for recapping this event for me, and allowing me to post it on my blog!

Did you like this recap? Let me know if you want to see more by commenting below! :) 

xoxo, Sheridan.

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