The time it was California Bookstore Day

Posted May 3, 2014 by Stacee in Signings / 2 Comments

When California Bookstore Day was announced, it was definitely something I wanted to go to [especially when Mysterious Galaxy announced Kimberly Derting, Margaret Stohl and Alyson Noel were signing], but again, with work, I wasn’t sure I would be able to go. By now, we all know that I’ve got an amazing job where I don’t have to work weekends!!

So, I got down to MG around 12:30. Rob told me that they had already sold out of all of the special items that were exclusive to the day. There were 40+ people standing outside before the doors opened and the Neil Gaiman book sold out of their 50 copies in less than an hour.

I picked up my books [while Maryelizabeth laughed that I had the #1 ticket for the Story Crush tour that I’m moderating] and then went with Rob to grab Starbucks and chat for a bit. We got back to the store around 1:20 and I quickly claimed my front row seat and started to wait.

Margaret and Alyson were a little late due to traffic. They got there just after 2 and Margie made everyone pose for a photo first.

I warn you now: nearly all of this was an in-conversation sort of thing.  There are lots of things I missed…stories and tangents and parts of answers and all sorts of giggly things. Keep that in mind.

Alyson and Margie talked about their drive and how they started debating how they would fare when the zombie apocalypse happens. They were Kimberly’s “ladies in waiting” since everyone was there to be part of Kimberly’s book birthday for The Taking.

Kimberly talked about getting ready to go on the Dark Days Tour and how she was heading right into tornado alley. That prompted Alyson to tell the story about how she had to give a presentation by candlelight. And Margie once had to give a presentation without a mic. She “walked into the crowd Oprah style” and started yelling  things like, “I can’t hear you.”

Kimberly started talking about The Taking. She gave the synopsis.

M: How did you end up with that idea?

K: I think our ideas come from everywhere. This one came from an image of a girl in the backseat of a car, driving home from some sort of an event. There’s a flash of light and then she’s gone. And where does it go from there? I love the idea of a character who has everything and then crushing her life and watching her build it back up.

A: How long did it take you to figure it out?

K: Probably about 6 months to flesh it out. Once I did that, it only took a couple of months to write. With The Body Finder series,  I knew where it was going to start and end, but nothing in between.

M: I’m always waiting to see your books on tv. You’re such a cinematic writer.

K: Are you not visual? Don’t you see it in your head?

A: It’s like I’m taking notes on the movie in my head.

M: I love books. I’m horrifically indifferent to movies. Everyone asks if we were excited about Beautiful Creatures becoming a movie and I was because we found new readers all over the world. A movie is like a quicky. I like binge watching. Or sitting down to 35 chapters.

K: Plus you’re a fast reader.

M: It’s like being a pyromaniac.

A: What?

M: You crave the fire and you burn everything you touch. Maybe that’s not the first thought I should have had.

Margie started talking about Icons and how it’s sort of like a memoir. She felt like she had to get it out. She talked about how each of the books in the series will take place in a different continent. The next book was written while she was in the jungle in Thailand. The last book will take place in Eastern Europe.

Alyson started talking about Horizon, which is the last book in her series. All of her books are mini autobiographies, she’s always putting things about herself in the books. She piles all of her problems and feelings on the characters and let’s them figure it out.

She had lost 3 people in 5 months {I’m not entirely sure these numbers are correct} and then found out her husband had leukemia and almost lost him too. She was spiraling through grief and victimhood and just dumped it all on Ever Bloom in The Immortals series.  As she healed, Alyson healed too.

What’s next for you all?

A: It’s called Unrivaled. Completely different, set in LA. It comes out in 2016.

M: I have the spin off from Beautiful Creatures, it’s called Dangerous Creatures. They’re putting together huge lollipops and pink streaks and there’s going to be a band for the tour.

K: The second book is done, I’m in revisions. The books will come out once a year.

M: Kami is revising the second Dangerous Creatures book. Kami is very action based and I’m like where is the banter, where are the jokes?

K: How many will there be?

M: We’re contracted for 2 books, but we’ll write as many as they want.

M: {To Kimberly} How many books is this for you?

K: 8

M: {To Alyson} And you’re at 30?

A: I always forget to mention that I’m writing a Christmas book. And it’s number 22.

M: And I’m at 7.

Do things about your writing still surprise you?

K: Don’t you feel like every book you write is different? I never used to outline and now I do. The ideas are coming to me differently. Every time I get a new editor I learn something new.

A: I still read books on craft.

M: I don’t ever do that.

K: I like to read other people’s books and seeing how they phrase things. I try not to read anything while I’m working on the first draft because I don’t want their words and phrases seeping in.

M: What’s the last thing you read for fun?

K: Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

M: Where’d you go Bernadette?

A: I read the new Mary Pearson. The Kiss of Deception. [This is where I started flailing all over Mary and how I’m going to stalk her so hard. Alyson said she was planning on stalking Mary too and they were friends.]

Somehow it went into a conversation about how Margie’s family is just a bunch of nerds. Her daughter is in Japan competing in a Pokemon tournament.  She has American cards and doesn’t speak a word of Japanese.

And then Margie said that she rated this presentation as a B- and did we have an questions, book or tv recommendations. Which spawned an epic conversation about tv shows.

M: {to Kimberly:} If you could have someone sitting with you other than us, who would it be?

K: My grandchild. {This prompted a tangent about how Kimberly’s kids and their reactions to the new baby}

A: {to Margaret:} Who would you chose?

M: Probably that baby.

A: Me too. The baby wins the round.

Are they going to come out with a Beautiful Creatures 2 movie?

M: I don’t know. It’s still in the pipeline.

How much say did you have on the movie?

M: None. Most writers besides maybe  JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins only get to chose who they sell it to. You don’t really think if it’s the right place for your work.

I do like it and I’m glad that I do because it’ll sit next to my books forever. I think of it as really expensive fanfiction. The actors were great and the director was great. I wouldn’t trade any of it.

A: I’ve had 15 books optioned and no movie yet. There’s been really good options and producers.

K: I’ve had The Body Finders optioned for MTV with Michael Bay attached, but it’s not going to get made. The option expires in a week. It’s interesting to see how people see it. One person is all action based and one is all about feelings and an emotional journey.

A: I still have 5 books under option. One has the screenplay written by the same person who wrote the screenplay for Bridget Jones’ Diary.

M: I really like the screenwriter for Icons. The script was done a few months ago.

I had to go back to work on my Ridley and Link after seeing Emmy Rossum and Thomas Mann. I had to put it all away so I didn’t use them.

How did you guys know that you were done with your book?

A: I thought I was done and just went to a publisher and they told me I wasn’t anywhere near being done. There was a year of rejections, but I’m so thankful because I had to learn. I didn’t know until someone else told me I was done.

M: I had 20 years of a hard life.

K: I was stuck on the same book for 15 years. I had all sorts of plot, but no arc. There was a monster living under the city and a ghost that would randomly appear and townspeople who were trying to sacrifice this girl and it was terrible.

You need a critique partner. Someone who isn’t your mom. My mom read it and she hugged me all the time and wanted to hang that giant thing on the fridge.

When I finally wrote The Body Finder, I went to a conference and pitched it in person. I wasn’t good at writing the query letter. I pitched to 7 agents and 6 of them said to send it to them. I only sent it to the one I wanted.

M: I think it’s important to only have one person. Too many people will make it confusing. Neil Gaiman said if someone tells you there’s a problem with your book, they’re probably right. If they tell you how to fix it, they’re probably wrong.

The difference between published writers and non-published writers is the ability to take criticism.

A: it’s harder to stay published than it is to get published and it’s hard to get published. So the criticism will prepare you for the industry.

K: Every first draft is bad.

They chatted about this topic for a bit longer and then decided to start signing.  I went up to Kimberly first and apologized for the amount of books I had.  As I was pulling books out, I was telling her who they were for and when it came to my stuff, she signed Tyler over to me so it was official.  I thanked her and said that it was always nice to see her.

aaaaa a aaaa

I had Dear Bully for Alyson to sign.  She told me that about 5 years ago, one of her bullies actually messaged her to apologize for how she treated Alyson. Alyson said that she had to forgive her because it took a lot of guts to have the courage to admit and acknowledge that you treated someone so horribly.

aa aaa

After almost 2 hours with these ladies, I packed up my things, said goodbye to Rob and headed home.  These three ladies were a lot of fun to see together.  And while I did miss out on sharing some of the things they said, maybe I gave you some motivation to go see them for yourself.

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2 Responses to “The time it was California Bookstore Day”

  1. Its so nice that you got the chance to chat with them! I think these authors went here too, but I had school so I couldn’t go. Hahaha! Glad that you had fun with them! :D

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