If you even semi-regularly read this blog, then you know how elusive Kimberly Derting has been for me. Jennifer has been beyond awesome and has always gotten things signed for me. So just imagine my excitement when I saw that Kimberly was going to be coming to SoCal. And to MGRB no less.
Don’t get me started on the other ladies, because the touring group is nothing short of amazing: Jessi Kirby, Sarah Ockler, Morgan Matson, Shannon Messenger [who has to be sick of me by now] and Suzanne Young.
Suzanne was also extremely exciting because I was unable to make the drive over to AZ for her launch party at Changing Hands. I had gotten an arc of The Program when we sat in the back room with Danny Marks. He raved about it [and Suzanne]. He was right, it’s phenomenal.
We got up to the store around 5:30. Thankfully, traffic wasn’t too bad. I had plenty of time to peruse the super secret back room [quick and dirty giveaway to come] and buy the books I needed for the signing and book club next month [The 5th Wave! Finally!].
The ladies got to table right at 7:30. Each author introduced themselves and gave a brief synopsis of their book.
When Shannon gave her introduction, she mentioned that Vane has hot abs as a selling point. It then became something that the other authors added. They decided the tour should be called “The Abs Tour”. Jessi said, “You can’t tell from the cover, but it is about abs and a dog.”
When talking about Jay, Kimberly mentioned that he was only supposed to be a minor character. Yet, the more that she wrote him, the more she loved him and he became a bigger character.
After the introductions, they told us that they had decided to play a game: two truths and a lie. Whoever guessed would get candy and it would [probably] be thrown badly.
Sz: Dogs are named after 80s characters, champion of forensics for debate [there was more to this, but I didn’t get it], took a picture of the cast of Growing Pains. [Actually was the cast of Family Matters].
Sh: Sat in the row for nominees at the Academy Awards, played a trivia game and failed horribly [there’s more to this], had a coherent conversation with Brad Pitt when he was shirtless. [Actually Rob Lowe.]
M: Was a cheerleader in high school, first concert at 9 or wrote first book at 16. [Book was written at 26.]
Sa: Skipped prom for New Kids on the Block, wore pjs to school for an entire year, couldn’t publish first book because it was a total rip off and would have been sued for copyright. [skipped prom for Grateful Dead]
J: Never ditched in school, drafting is favorite part of writing, 2 weeks ago Sarah Dessen gave her a bag of potato chips. [She hates drafting.]
K: Went 5 years without chocolate, was the fast pitch softball player of the week, in a house during a drive by shooting. [fast pitch player of the week.]
>After candy was thrown, they opened the floor to a Q&A.
Who inspired you?
Sz: Started writing in junior high. Wrote murder mysteries with her friends as the characters and killed them off one by one. Read a lot of Stephen King.
Sh: Started writing screen plays. Read something by Cameron Crowe and that was what she wanted to do. Wondered if she could write for kids. Read Ella Enchanted. Cinderella is favorite character and loved how she was stronger.
M: Worked in children’s department in an independent bookstore, they wanted her to read everything. Started reading a lot of YA. Loved Traveling Pants and Sarah Dessen books. Very inspiring and realized story doesn’t have to have magical things. Just abs and kissing.
Sa: ET [obviously, that’s what her copyright infringement book was based on.] Family member passed away and family had to have yard sales when she was a high schooler. Read Stephen King while hiding. In college, took a YA Lit course, had to read Sarah Dessen, Deb Colletti, Laurie Halse Anderson and Traveling Pants.
J: Decided when 8 wanted to be a writer because of Judy Blume. Wrote a bit in high school, mostly bad poetry about boys who didn’t like her. Didn’t try stories until teaching. Sarah Dessen had the first stories where it felt like she could tell a story like that. Started on 30th birthday.
K: Wasn’t any good YA while growing up. Went from Charlotte’s Web to Stephen King and John Saul. Likes to be afraid and thought it would be awesome to scare other people. Wrote a “horrible” book out of high school and worked on it for 10 years [got an agent with it] and learned how to revise.
Do you have any writing quirks? Something you have to have?
Sz: Candy corn, buys it year round. Wants tiny food. Pretzels. Cheese it’s.
M: Likes to have several drinks in front of her. Smoothie, latte, diet coke. Then there can’t be an excuse, “I can’t write right now because I don’t have a fruity drink.”
Sh: First two books, needed music. Then no music. For LtSF 2, listened to only one cd. Doesn’t snack. Forgets to eat.
Sa: Loves white cheddar popcorn. Then types with one hand while eating. Can write anywhere with pen and paper.
J: Needs quiet. No background noise at all. Caffeine and chocolate, preferable combined, like chocolate covered espresso beans.
K: A lot of caffeine. Has an entire drawer of nerds gum balls. Orders them from amazon and UPS guy has to believe she’s a shut in. He always sees her in the same clothes [even though they’re duplicate pairs of the same pants, one has a bleach stain] and probably thinks she peeks out the blinds, telling them to leave the package on the porch.
After that question, it was around 8:15. They had to be on the road by 9, so they decided to end the Q&A and start signing. I went to the end of the line because I had so many books.
I got up to Suzanne first. I had arcs and we talked about how they were the newer versions from the one that I had. She then showed me the cover of the finished copy… You guys. Have you taken your dust jackets off? Because I didn’t and I was floored.
We talked about how Danny gushed about the arc and that he was the reason that I took it.
We also talked about Doctor Who and how she loves my twitter avi [who doesn’t love David?]. She told me that her daughter refuses to watch the Matt Smith episodes because she wants David back. I then explained how I wanted to kidnap David when we saw him for MAAN. Suzanne was excited to meet John Barrowman at the Phoenix comic con to see if he was really made out of plastic.
Of course she signed my books and we also took some pictures. *sigh* I just love her.
While waiting for Suzanne, I said hi to Shannon. I explained that I had nothing for her to sign and she said she’d forgive me because she knows I’ve been buying multiple copies. I told her that I was building a room addition, just in copies of Let the Sky Fall. She gave me some awesome bookmarks. And I don’t think I thanked her. So, on the off chance she reads this, THANK YOU, SHANNON!!
I then went down to Kimberly. She was the first author I’ve actually gone up to and introduced myself. Annnnd, she knew who I was in the crowd. We talked about how awesome Jennifer is and how the internet/twitter can be the devil, but just as awesome as well.
She signed my books and we took a picture. And I may have made a damn fool of myself just gushing and fangirling all over her. She hugged me [squeeeee] and who knows what other gibberish I spewed out. I can’t explain how happy I am to have finally met her.
The last books I had were Jessi’s. I snuck in between the people at the table to hand her two copies. I thanked her for coming. She really is so sweet, I can’t wait to read her book!
Overall, the night was fantastic. There were laughs and candy and bad throwing and all sorts of mentions of dogs, abs and kissing. Oh! And I got one of these awesome lobby cards that each author had signed…