The time I got Josh

Posted September 9, 2014 by Stacee in Signings / 0 Comments

When I saw Kiersten White announce her launch party for Illusions of Fate, it immediately went on the calendar. And then I actually opened my eyes and saw that Stephanie Perkins and Natalie Whipple were going to be there, it was a definite thing.

We got to the store just after 5. The small event area was already set up and the first two rows were already taken. {Oh! The horror!} I bought my books and settled in to wait.

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Around 5:30, one of the employees came over and said that they weren’t expecting such an early crowd. They decided to pass out tickets to make it a numbered line up. And then we also had to get papers to indicate the amount of books we brought with us.

The crowd kept growing and they eventually added another row {making it 20 seats total} so some of the SRO people could sit.

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{Be warned.  There are a lot of conversational bits that I didn’t catch.  I was enthralled in their answers and just couldn’t keep up.}

The ladies came out at 7. Kiersten started talking about how it was the first time all three of them were in the same place.  She said that she wouldn’t have been the writer she was without Stephanie and Natalie.  There was a lot of gushing and love between them, it was sort of adorable.  After all of that, Kiersten started talking about her book.

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She wanted to write something opposite of The Chosen One in a fantasy novel, but with a main character who was so awesome that she could still save the world. She then gave the synopsis.  Wrote in 7 days, but edited it for months. Was working on something else and just started writing.

Kiersten said she fell in love with Natalie’s book from the first paragraph. When Natalie said she didn’t want to read it out loud, Kiersten did.

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Natalie gave the synopsis of House of Ivy and Sorrow and where she got the ideas. Her grandmother died when she was 8 and decided to write her as a witch to spend some time with her.

Stephanie said that she didn’t know how to talk about her own book. Isla was a minor character with a different name. The day before the arc was printed, the editor told her that if she wanted the name to be on the third book, it needed to be changed.

They swapped lists back and forth and couldn’t agree to anything. She actually took a list of names to a bar that her husband was playing at and polled random people. Then while texting with Kiersten at around 4 am, Kiersten came up with Isla. Sent the book off. A week later, got a call asking how to pronounce it.

Wanted to challenge herself by not giving Isla the traditional relationship arc. Completely influenced by what was going on in her own life. Anna = making a serious go of an author. Publishing is scary. It’s all about bravery and growing. Lola = creativity and embracing what makes you you. Really thought no one would read first book. Started to question what she was writing. Isla = all of the doubts became magnified. Lost self confidence. Had to self destruct it and rebuild up.

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S: You’re both so prolific. Are you always that way?

K: There’s always a reason for what I wrote when I did. If I tried to write Paranormalcy now, who knows what it would be. Every book has a reason. I was in the middle of writing Perfect Lies and it’s really dark and violent. There was a gun scare at my children’s school and I just couldn’t touch that book for a while. I needed something magical. I sat in the sunshine and listened to rain. I needed a positive siphon for the energy.

N: I don’t write as fast as people think I do. Relax, I’m a Ninja was written in 2008 and it’s out now. Some of my books were written a while ago. There was a lot of trial and error in publishing. I wrote Fiona because I felt invisible and I wanted to be seen so bad.

House was written in 2011. I was thinking a lot about grief. It was the 20th year of my grandmother’s death and there’s times where the memories can bring me to my knees. Jo is really confident and and it made me confident.

K: When I was writing Chaos, my editor made a comment about Isadora being really bitter about pregnancy and babies. It had been a reflection of the years of infertility we went through. After a book is published, it becomes a product. It’s a business. You have to become an active part of it and be okay with people commenting or tweeting you their bad reviews.

S: And that’s not easy. It takes years to get used to it, but like any job, it normalizes. There is this two book curse out there. The freak outs we’re taking about are real. You need writer friends because no one else will understand.

During one of my freak outs, I was texting Kiersten all the time. I didn’t know I didn’t have unlimited texting. One month I sent her something like 700 texts.

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What’s your advice to rejection?

K: Send another one. You need a literary agent. I wrote 50 query letters before my first book was bought.

N: I was on query 200 before I got interest.

S: I feel bad.

K: She got her dream agent with her first finished book.

S: Lola was technically the first book I wrote. I started it when I was 18. In 8 years, I had 70 pages written. I put it aside and wrote Anna. I dedicated 40 hours to it on top of my 40 hour job as a librarian.  You accept the rejection as a badge of honor. Trying is a really hard and scary thing.

N: Realize that the keep trying doesn’t end when you get an agent. Or sell a book. I’ve had 4 books that didn’t sell. I’m a published author and I didn’t sell a book.

How you got the idea for Josh to write a graphic memoir?

S: I really like writing about prodigies. Lola is full of them. I love people with really defined futures. I had a lot of fun creating him. I read a lot of graphic novels. I didn’t find comic shops very welcoming to girls. It wasn’t until Blankets came out and a lot of my librarian friends told me to read it. Finally enough people told me to read it and it changed my life. It opened up this whole new world to me.

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Anything you wished you could have put in Illusions of Fate?

K: Originally, I wanted to add more politics and post colonialism. I briefly considered rewriting it for adults to get more. I wanted to get more about the magic into it. I do have an idea for a companion novel from Eleanor’s POV. Eleanor was going to be a mean girl and she wouldn’t let me do that.

What’s next for you?

K: Epic historical fiction. Gender swapping Vlad the Impaler. It’s called Daughter of the Dragon and it’ll be out in July 2016.

N: I don’t even know what my next book it. Fish Out of Water is coming out in the UK in February. It’s my first YA contemporary.

S: I have a second book coming out this year. I edited 12 holiday stories and it’s called My True Love Gave to Me. And then my next book will be horror. There’s something satisfying about promoting these fun, romantic books by day and then killing people at night. It’s sleezy, B-movie grade, horror with no value at all. It’s amazing.

The signing started just after 8pm and we were called up 5 at a time. When I got to Stephanie, she commented on my Edgar Allan Poe tattoo. I then apologized for the inscriptions that were about to happen. Kiersten heard that and said that she needed to see what was good to happen and Stephanie said that she was down for anything.

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When she was done signing {did you see that I have Josh now?}, I thanked her for coming and she stood up to give me a hug and thanked me.

When I had fangirled all over Kiersten after finishing IOF, I asked if it was weird that Sir Bird was my favorite character. We had an entire conversation about it and somehow I got her to agree to draw him in my book. I gave her the books while I was still with Stephanie.

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When Stephanie finished signing {and Kiersten was drawing}, the 3 of us talked about Sir Bird. We both loved Eleanor and she’s fantastic, but Sir Bird. The end.  I even went so far to tell Kiersten about how I traded signed pretties to get the arc because I needed all of the copies.

Hubs had taken my books for Natalie and handed them to her while I was still with Kiersten. I didn’t get to chat with her the way I wanted to, but I did thank her for being there. She said I looked familiar and asked if we had met before. I said that I met her briefly at the signing in Poway with Kasie West and Kiersten. And then acknowledged how stalkerish it sounded.

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As always, Kiersten and Stephanie were amazing and it was great to hear Natalie talk about her books.  If you haven’t read these books, you’re missing out.

The most important thing is that Josh is mine. I have proof.

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