I had planned on going to Kasie’s launch party for Split Second in Fresno. Alas, when the date came up life just wouldn’t cooperate. So when the date with Shannon and Kiersten was announced, it was a definite thing.
I got to the bookstore early, as usual. I went to the counter to ask about the books for sale [last time they were behind the counter]. The woman asked if I was one of the authors. I said no, that I was attending the event. She asked another employee who was near where the event was being held and where the books were.
After finding the spot, I purchased the books I needed, bought a Starbucks and settled in to wait for the signing the start.
Kasie and Shannon came in just after 5 and Kasie invited me to go sit in the cafe with them and visit. I must have gotten a look on my face because Shannon started laughing and said that I would be giving up my seat. I laughed and said, “no offense.” Kasie said I was being rude, but laughed. And they continued to laugh about my dilemma as they walked away.
The employee who was handling the event [who was so amazing, I wish I would have gotten her name], started handing out bookmarks with numbers on them to sort the line up order. She handed me number 1 and said that since she knew that I had been there for so long, I definitely deserved to be number one. I asked if she needed the bookmark back or had to prove what number we were because I didn’t want to throw it somewhere and not be able to find it. She laughed and said she was pretty sure she would remember I was first.
People started steaming in and the event started at 6:15. Shannon decided that since it was her launch, she would talk about Kasie and Kiersten.
Kasie is known as the “supermodel of YA”. We call her Kasie “legs” West, but sometimes she feels objectified. The Distance Between Us is for the people who like John Hughes, Pretty in Pink type movies, but without 80’s hair and the ugly prom dress. Pivot Point is like Sliding Doors but with an X-Men twist. She answers the question of “how can we make sliding doors better?”
Kiersten is someone who I’m proud to say that I met her by creepily stalking her. She had booked a lot of San Diego events and I decided to go to all of them and I think I bought 11 copies of Paranormalcy. By the 3rd event, she started talking to me. By the 5th event, we started going to dinner together.
Paranormalcy is like Men in Black [there was more to that…]. Evie is snarky and awesome. That’s like the light side of Kiersten. And the Mind Games series is dark and what makes me text her and ask if I should be scared of her.
[There was more about Kiersten’s other books, but I was taking photos and texting people and just not paying attention. Sorry.]
Shannon then started talking about her books…
I had been reading a lot of paranormal YA and not to say that I wasn’t liking it, but I wanted more. I decided that instead of having the girl be helpless and the boy being powerful, I would switch it. [There was more to this too, see the above excuse for my lameness.]
Not to be indelicate, but my favorite part of writing Let the Storm Break is that I found out there is an actual storm called haboobs. I was able to make this snarky teenage boy comment about it. And Kirkus is known for being mean to authors, but they actually said that they liked my haboobs. One day I’m going to get a shirt made that says “Kirkus likes my haboobs”.
Then it was opened up to Q&A.
What made you want to write Keeper?
S: It actually started as a short story. Which proves that I’m epic fail at writing a short story. I learned in my writing class that if you get stuck, you should write about a side character and see where it goes. Somehow, I wasn’t happy with where the ending was going.
I have a tiny obsession with Legolas. I wanted to write a story with elves, but I wanted to take it to a world where I wanted to go, a place with things like bathrooms. Middle Earth didn’t look very fun.
Ki: How many words is Keeper 3
S: 130k words.
Ki: Keep in mind that you don’t get paid more for more words.
Ka: Do you want to answer that same question and tell you where you came up with the idea for your story?
Ki: Here’s a funny story. I wrote Mind Games in 9 days. But going into that was years of daydreaming and 2 novels that will never see the light of day. I had a date night and we went to see Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. There was one scene with the mermaid that looked so fragile and delicate, but you know if she got in the water, she could kill everyone. That’s where the idea of Fia came from.
S: The only reason I don’t completely hate Kiersten is because she completely wrote Perfect Lies and then had to rewrite it.
Ki: Yes. I had a deadline and I contacted my editor and told them that I had a full novel, but I wasn’t sending it.
S: What about you, Kasie?
Ka: I loved Sliding Door, but I wanted to know what would happen if she could control it.
How did you come up with the names of your characters? Because my name is Evie and it’s pronounced the same way
Ki: With her, I wanted a name that was classic and traditional, but with a fun nickname. The rest, usually my names don’t have meaning.
Ka: I have the hardest time with names. I have 4 kids and 3 of them are girls and they took my favorite names. Usually I just called them all “X” until I think of what their names will be. Oh, are you guys going to tweet that now?
Ki: Have you ever noticed how all of your side character names all start with the same letter?
Ka: Yes! They were all J names at one point.
S: Since I write fantasy, I want all of my names to mean something. I bought a new age baby name book and yes, they asked if I was pregnant. Which was awesome. For Vane, obviously weather vane. People think that I got that right away, but I didn’t.
When did you decide that you wanted to be a writer?
Ki: how old are you?
Questions asker: 11
Ki: Before that. We did an exercise in school where we had to cut out the photos of what we wanted to be. All of the girls cut out nurses with the hats and all of the boys cut out firefighters. So, I didn’t have the hat on mine. I wanted to be a mom and a writer, so when I had my first child, I was like “okay, time to write.” But, I loved reading and writing. I didn’t really start writing until after college. In high school I wrote stunning poetry about my ex-boyfriend.
S: I was side tracked by art. I wanted to be a Disney animator, but quickly realized that you have to be good at drawing the same thing over and over again. Also, I’m not good at drawing from my head. This was before Google and I would have to spend hours looking up source material.
I signed up for a class that seemed like I would get college credit for watching movies. On the last page of one of my papers, professor left a note saying to see her after class instead of a grade. I was expecting to fail, instead she gave me film school brochures. She saw the potential in my writing.
Ka: I’m not like these girls. I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer until I was 30. I was always an avid reader. I had an idea and told my husband about it and he said I should write it. I thought it was awesome and it was really bad. I wrote 3 other books and they were all really bad. And then I wrote Pivot Point.
I went to school to be a teacher and wanted to be an elementary teacher. I should have known because I liked writing essays.
So you said that you call all of your characters X, is that how you came up with the name Xander?
Ki: You should say yes. She’s giving you a reason.
Pantser or plotter?
Ka: I usually know the climax points. I know the beginning and the end and the fun is getting there.
Ki: With the first book in a series, I usually don’t. When you work in a series, you have to know where it’s going and build off the first book. I like to know what’s going to happen in the next chapter. I like to be able to at least know that bit.
I have a book coming out next month and I was working with an artist, so I had to outline it really well. And then I sat back and thought I didn’t really have to write anything. I like the discovery of writing.
S: I call that connecting the dots. I’m trying to become more of a plotter. Book 2 was not a fun process. I found that I was telling the wrong story and I had to throw out everything I was planning. So when I went I to book 3, I made a detailed outline. I think it was 23 pages. I very much believe in trusting the characters. As much as you want to think you’re in control, you’re not. I’m trying to figure out this magical thing where people outline.
Ki: there’s no right way to write a book. And not every process works for each books.
S: Sequels are the worst. It’s like writing your own fanfiction. You have to introduce something again and you realize that you used the really good metaphor in the first one.
There was a little bit of chatter after that last questions and then they had us start lining up. That awesome BN employee told me that I could get started and everyone up through 10 could get behind me.
Kiersten was first and she said hi, that it was always good to see me. I had several books, so I started passing them out to everyone at the same time. I briefly chatted with Shannon while she was signing my books and we talked about where I lived. She thought I lived closer to MGRB, since I was up there all the time.
And then I got to Kasie. I started pulling out books and I told her that I would say sorry, but that I really wasn’t. She asked pulled out Nancy’s copy of The Distance Between Us and asked if I really needed more copies of that book signed since I had 7 of them in Vegas. I laughed and said that it wasn’t my fault that people sent me things to get signed.
I started apologizing to the entire line because I was holding everyone up. Kasie laughed and said it was mainly her fault because she writes full pages as inscriptions. I won’t complain about this, because I love what she wrote in my books.
After Kasie was done, I said thank you to all three of the ladies, apologized again to everyone in line and then found the BN employee to thank her for being awesome. As always, these three ladies are extraordinary. I can’t recommend them or their books enough.