Last night, Elizabeth and I had an absolute blast meeting the ladies of the Fierce Reads Fall Tour!
We drove three hours to Linden Tree Books in Los Altos, California- a cute little children’s book store in an adorable neighborhood. Sweet treats and drinks were served outside as we waited for the illustrious authors to arrive. (This almost killed me. RED VELVET CUPCAKES. With cute little Fierce Reads banners. And I’m only halfway through my Whole30 nutrition experiment. I may have cried a little. I wanted one SOOOOO badly!)
At the Sarah J. Maas event we attended last time, we connected with a new bookish friend, Kim, who recently moved to The Bay. When we pulled up at the bookshop, we geeked out because she was there, too!! YAY FOR BOOKISH FRIENDS! Since we had RSVP’ed ahead of time, we managed to snag decent seats for the moderated discussion panel and Q & A session. (Also, SWAG. We scored cool bookmarks, a poster, and a super spiffy Fierce Reads book bag. SWEET!)
First off, y’all need to understand that these chicks are HYSTERICAL! I laughed so hard, I snorted on a couple of occasions (which earned me curious looks from the tweenagers seated in front of us, but whatevs. I can’t help it!). The moderator actually asked excellent, relevant questions (even if she did ramble a bit), and I found myself jotting down notes and quotes as quickly as possible.
The featured authors on this stop of the Fierce Reads Fall Tour 2014 were Marissa Meyer (Lunar Chronicles), Gennifer Albin (Crewel World), Jessica Brody (Unremembered), and Nikki Kelly (The Styclar Saga). Beautiful, brilliant, and snarky, the experiences and advice they shared with the crowd were both fascinating and funny.
The opening remarks were focused on summaries of their books. Marissa Meyer explained that her series is about cyborgs, techy gadgets, and sci-fi fairy tale retellings. Gennifer Albin shared that her stories were about a girl who wove the very fabric of life and had the power to pluck your thread out of existence. Jessica Brody said that her book focused on the mysterious circumstance of a girl who survived a plane crash only to wake up without any memory of who she is or why she was there. At this point, the other gals teased her, saying that the REAL reason the main character survived was because she actually listened to the annoying airline stewardess who goes through the safety protocols at the beginning of the flight.
“Spoiler alert! My book is actually a PSA for airline safety, sponsored by American Airlines.” – Jessica Brody
Nikki Kelly explained in her sweet, British accent that her debut novel was about angels, demons, and a twist on what we traditionally think of as heaven, earth, and hell.
“There is lots of culture in the book, but mainly there are boys.” – Nikki Kelly
One intriguing tid-bit from the evening that sparked much discussion on our car ride home, was the topic of inspiration. Marissa Meyer was obsessing over fairy tale retellings when she had a dream about Cinderella. Only instead of losing a glass slipper as she ran away, her foot fell off. VIOLA! Cinder was born! Nikki Kelly also had a dream. She was quite caught up in the Twilight and True Bloods craze when she had a dream about a dark man in an abandoned building. Only what really caught her attention wasn’t the hunky guy, but rather the mysterious girl with fierce red eyes who was with him. Enter Lailah!
Gennifer Albin was inspired by Remedios Varo’s painting, Embroidering the Earth’s Mantle. She couldn’t get the painting out of her head, and after a series of “What if?” questions, the Crewel World came to be.
Jessica Brody’s inspiration came from a newspaper article that her dad left on her desk. It was about a fourteen year old girl who survived a plane crash. She, too, had a plethora of “What if?” questions that eventually culminated in Unremembered.
At one point, one audience member asked if they had to do any research for their books. This question was met by the authors with laughter and a slightly crazed look in their eyes. Gennifer Albin pointed out that her old science teachers from school would have been shocked at all of the books on quantum mechanics and whatnot that she was forced to read in order to write her stories. Nikki also insisted that “Google is your friend.” (Insert Kim’s sqee of excitement here. Lol!)
“My husband asks why there are posters of Alex Pettyfer on my wall, and all I do is say it’s all for research.” – Nikki Kelly
Sometimes readers like to point out the scientific inaccuracies or impossibilities of the story content. Jessica Brody claims that her best defense for the haters are two precious words: “CREATIVE LIBERTIES!” Nikki agreed, saying that yes, her book may have been rooted in myths, but that her imagination does a lot of the world building.
“Note that the quote on my book is not from the Bible, but from the Dark Knight.” – Nikki Kelly
Perhaps the best part of the night was when the ladies discussed their writing processes. (Yes, I’m a nerd, just go with it!) Nikki Kelly actually nabbed a book deal because of her success on Wattpad. She had so many readers and comments, and several press articles about her success, that it garnered the attention of a literary house who offered her a contract. She said without the encouragement and feedback she gathered through her Wattpad experience, she wouldn’t be where she is today.
Reading Unremembered feels like a movie, one audience member said. Jessica Brody claims that this is because she writes her stories like a screenplay. Her writing method is molded around the Save the Cat concept. Apparently, the entire book/screenplay can be broken down into fifteen “beats.” I’ll admit, I have no idea what this means. I only know that now I really want to buy the book and check out this writing method!
Marissa Meyer says that she uses Dan Wells’ plot structure for all of her books. As an obsessive planner and plotter, she outlines and coordinates, but she insists that each and every time she follows this writing method, and blocks out her entire story this way. Once again, I must confess my ignorance on this subject, but I totally intend to watch the YouTube videos to find out what she’s talking about!
The author discussion time seemed to FLY by! We were actually bummed when it was over, despite the late hour and the impending long drive home. We ended up being the last in line for the book signing (we were determined to stick it out so we could grab a copy of Crewel for Gennifer to sign!), which worked out because we walked home with even MORE swag! (Buttons and bookmarks and playing cards, Oh My!)
This very well could have been my favorite book event so far! Thank you Fierce Reads for making Northern California one of your stops on the Fierce Reads Fall Tour 2014! Also, a HUGE shout out and thank you to Linden Tree Books in Los Altos for submitting the winning video that earned the event, and for hosting such an incredible evening! The Chick Lit Chickadees feel like rock stars being able to attend such awesome book events and meeting such delightful authors!