When the Dark Days tour was posted, I had “leg 1” authors taken care of and Jennifer had “leg 2” taken care of and then we swapped. Thankfully, before she went to her tour stop, Mysterious Galaxy announced a date with Debra. With Shannon Messenger, Robin Benway and Chris Howard.
So of course I was going.
Michelle wasn’t able to come out and play, so I forced Hubs to come with me. We got there early, as always. I ended up chatting with some of the employees about how to pick a perfect book. And then I sat down to start flapping.
Robin introduced herself as the moderator and then she gave a short introduction to each author. Each author then gave a short synopsis of their book.
Talk about your book:
S: Broke a lot of her own rules, because she wrote for herself. Vane is attractive and there are lots of hot abs.
D: Will say there are hot abs, even if there’s not. There is one of her dogs in there. A bit of a Where’s Waldo scene that you have to find.
C: There are no dogs or hot abs. Well, there could be, depending on how you interpret it.
What kind of research?
C: Background is forest ecology. Certain decisions were made just because of the background knowledge. Did more thinking it through to make sure it made sense within that world. Not ours.
D: Fair amount of research, but not a lot used. Too many details and it will bog down the story. Felt it was important to know the background. Found a blog speculating about the year 2029 and didn’t want to do any more research.
S: Googled a lot of hot abs. Didn’t have to do a lot of research because it’s set where she grew up. Did some for the 4 winds, to make sure that she did something different.
Found an article about weird weather. Haboob is a type of storm. And with a 17 yo boy, there will be a definite joke in book 2. And Chris said, “Let the haboobs fall”
It’s a myth about sitting down, writing a book and sending it off. What is process like?
C: Worked on something else for 3 years. Wrote Rootless quickly, a couple of months. Edited with his agent. Short time writing, lengthy editing.
D: 3 months to write. 10 months to edit.
S: Wrote Let the Sky Fall just for fun. Would work on it when her editor was working on the revisions for Keeper.
What is daily writing routine?
S: Best time at night. 7-8pm and then an hour to get in the zone, and write until 2. Some all nighters during deadlines. Often does word wars against Kiersten White and that gets her going into the creative zone.
D: Late at night. Take the kids to school and spends all the time on social media. Doesn’t do well with schedules.
C: Gets started and if it’s flowing, keeps going.
All of the books are trilogies. How do you build up climax?
S: Sequels suck to write. The free flowing in book 1 doesn’t happen. Have to pay attention to things, can’t break anything. Always knew it would be a trilogy, because there was too big of a villain to defeat in one book. Almost like Harry defeating Voldemort in book 1.
She used the timeline of 7 days and within the looming date, added obstacles.
D: Hard to do because it has to be a huge arc, but each book has to be its own arc.
C: If it’s a trilogy, you already have established the stakes and built the world.
Someone mentioned that coming back to the characters is like returning to summer camp and seeing your friends again. Everyone agreed.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
S: Didn’t know until 17. Liked writing, but wanted to draw. Enrolled in art classes in college and found they could draw from their head, she needed to see the subject before she could draw it. Enrolled in broadcast writing, sounded like fun. Ended up with film school brochures.
D: Late to writing. Always had stories in her head while swimming. Quit swimming and eventually started writing things down. Wrote horrible Harlequin romance.
C: Wrote a lot. Short stories and poetry and songs. It wasn’t until 6 years ago when great idea happened.
What has lived up to expectations when it comes to writing?
S: Reality hit when agent did an intervention and asked if she could handle 2 books a year. Didn’t realize all of the overlap. Thought it was 6 months on one book, 6 months on another.
D: How infrequently writers to bathe. How many hours of revisions, etc. How many things you have to give up to work.
C: Didn’t have a vision of what it would be like. What he loved is meeting so many people who love books. Thought it would be more of a hermit type thing.
Rejection. What have you faced?
S: Not much on Let the Sky Fall. There were 20 drafts with her MG series.
D: Harlequin romance was rejected. Wrote a YA set in college that wasn’t very good either. Wrote NA before NA was around. Another book, that got her agent. Mila is book number 4 1/2.
C: Hardest part is the idea that you spent so much time with characters. Getting rejected is like those characters got killed.
What advise do you give to aspiring writers?
D: Never give up. Keep reading and writing.
S: From Ellen Hopkins: never treat anything as “this is it”. This is the book that gets me the agent. Or gets me a best seller. It’s just a set up for disappointment.
C: Don’t let the number of people who connect with your book determine your success. Think about the journey instead of the destination.
After about 45 minutes, they opened it up to Q&A. And then the signing started. They had one person go up to the table at a time, which was nice.
As I was waiting for my turn, I was talking to Rob about Chris. We both agreed that he was absolutely charming and so much fun to hear talk [he has a fantastic accent]. I mentioned to Rob that I had just donated my arc of Rootless to ARCycling. And somehow he convinced me to go buy it.
It was my turn to go up to the table and I had seven books. I sort of dropped them on the table and apologized for being a hot mess. Then I started distributing the books to everyone.
Chris opened his book first and commented on the spelling of my name. He told me that his sister in law is Emilee [spelling it out] and that he wrote my name really slow because he couldn’t stop staring at it.
Debra asked if I was “book junkee Stacee”. I started laughing and said yes, that I never tell anyone who I am from Twitter. And [I think it was Debra] said that the spelling of my name made it obvious, that if I didn’t want to be recognized, I should start getting books signed for Stacy instead.
Robin was just finishing signing Jaime’s book when I went to take a picture. She looked up and said that I couldn’t take it just then because of girl code. I said that I needed a picture of her signing the book and posed in a fun, sarcastic manner. I started laughing and said that I wanted that picture exactly. So, she posed again. When I mentioned that I was going to post it on the blog, she asked the name of my blog. I told her and she said that she saw me tweeting about waiting at the bookstore.
I promised that I would put an asterisk or something on the posed photo to make sure everyone knows it’s a joke. :D
I picked up some bookmarks and treats [from a huge bowl of candy], thanked everyone for coming and went to pay for my copy of Rootless. I did get something signed from Shannon, but it was for Jaime. I already have my signed copy of Let the Sky Fall.
The four authors work really well together. They laugh together and all interrupt each other to make jokes and interject different things. I highly suggest meeting any of them, if you get a chance.