The time there was live music

Posted June 15, 2015 by Stacee in Signings / 1 Comment

Going to Tamara’s launch party for Every Last Word was a definite thing. Awesomeboss is super awesome, so I knew it wouldn’t be a problem taking time off if I needed to. Turns out the launch ended up being on a Sunday and we were able to make a weekend trip.

We had plans to leave Friday and then see a concert, but everything sort of fell through. We ended up seeing our NOH8 family on Saturday and working LA Pride for the day.

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We started on the road to SF around 4 and immediately hit traffic due to a brush fire on the side of the freeway. What should have taken us about 15 minutes, took us well over an hour.

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Traffic finally cleared up and we finished the drive. We stopped just outside of the city and got a hotel room. Sunday morning we woke up and went into downtown to do some touristy things. We went to Fisherman’s Wharf to look for an amazing restaurant we ate at last time we were in SF, but neither of us could remember exactly where it was or what it was called.

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We headed over to Lombard Street and then to Gilman Street before heading toward Lafayette, which is where the event was taking place.

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Turns out the library was only about 20 minutes from where we were, so we went to the movies to kill some time. We got back got the library around 2 and at 2:30, headed in to see where everything was taking place.

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I ended up running into the Hyperion publicist in the bathroom and I may or may not have verbally accosted her. I very awkwardly explained that I saw Tamara RT the photo of her saying that she was on her way to the launch party. I’m pretty sure I didn’t properly explain that my stalker-like tendencies are not in the creepy KH way. (And clearly I cannot be left unsupervised.}

Around 2:45, we headed into the space where the event was taking place. I ended up seeing Tamara and we chatted for a minute and hugged a couple of times and she thanked us for coming up. They were still setting up, so we left them to finish.

I ran into Veronica when I bought my book and chatted with her for a second. Then went to the on site coffee shop to settle in and wait. They let us in right at 4pm. It seemed that sound check took a little longer than they expected. There was a guy on the stage playing guitar and singing.

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There was even a wall set up like Poet’s Corner with all sorts of poetry tacked to it. They had loose paper and a variety of pens so you could add your own words to the wall.

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Veronica came out at 4:25 and introduced Tamara. While Tamara was adding her mic, Veronica talked about the poetry wall. They wanted 3 words that matter to each person. The winner for the gift basket would be chosen from the wall.

Tamara had a list of people she wanted to thank before the event started, so she did that first. Then she talked about the book.

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It’s about a girl named Samantha and from the outside she looks perfect, but on the inside she’s broken.

While I was writing this, it seemed like I was running into all of these talented teens. I was sitting with my book club and we were out to dinner and there was a band. It turned out to be a local teen and I was so impressed with how talented he is.

She introduced Henry and he came up onstage to play the John Mayer song “Say”.

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V: I had the honor of reading this book several months ago. Then she sent me a copy in preparation of this and I just have to say I couldn’t love it more. What was the inspiration, the first spark for this book?

T: Poet’s corner was a real place to me. I love the idea of somewhere to go. In high school I wish I had somewhere to go that made me feel safe. It was mostly inspired by a close family friend who was diagnosed with OCD at 12. I felt so bad for all of the things that she was going through. I wanted to write the story for her and for other special minds. We tend to think that mental health has a stigma and I hope we can get rid of it.

V: I have to say that the relationship between the main character and her therapist is fantastic.

T: It’s based on their relationship. They found a great therapist that she could really confide it and it’s beautiful.

V: I’ve read a lot of fantasy and such amazing world building, but nothing has ever felt more real than poet’s corner. Was poetry your entry into it?

T: I don’t think I’m a poet, but I love to write. If something was bothering me, I had my notebooks and my pen and I would just write and write and write. When I was in middle school and we moved a lot. I was the new kid 8 times. I didn’t have friends, I had words.

The idea of these kids meeting on Mondays and Thursday to read poetry to each other was perfect.

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V: Tell us about your relationship to music

T: I always listen to music. For this I listened to a lot of acoustic guitar. I can’t listen to music with words when I write because the words will battle with the words in my head.

V: Do you have a playlist?

T: There are 4 total. We’ve revealed 2. There’s my playlist. And Sam’s that she made for AJ. There will be one for Caroline and there will be one made by the girl who inspired the book. That one is my favorite.

V: I was these characters to be real.

T: I do too.

V: Tell me AJ is here.

T: *shrugs*

V: Tell us about your research.

T: I was terrified to tackle this subject. I wanted to make sure I got OCD right. I read a lot of blogs from teens who were dealing with it and shared their words. I talked to 4 different therapists. I spent a lot of time with the girl who inspired it.

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V: Let’s talk about the poetry. It seems so different from writing a novel and there’s poetry from different characters. What was that like?

T: Definitely challenging at first. I didn’t want to write the poetry. I told my editor that we could crowd source the poems from real teens. I had so much fun once I got brave and decided to do it.

Once I had Emily in my head, I knew that her home issues would be what she would write about. Since they aren’t on the page that much, I tried to make it easy to get to know each character through their words.

V: What’s your writing process? What does it look like to be a writer?

T: Not like this. I’m never this clean. I did a lot of outlining for this one. Much more than other books. I knew a lot of the beginning, middle and end. I wrote an extensive synopsis and outline and stuck to it.

V: I remember seeing you an one author thing and you had such a glow. It seemed like it was joyful to write.

T: It was. When it doesn’t feel joyful, it’s sad because you love writing. Some books aren’t easy.

V: I think it’s a great representation of high school. You did such a good job of showing the amazing relationships.

T: I wanted her long term friends to evolve. They don’t always, but at least one did.

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V: What do you think makes a good book? An emotional journey?

T: I like books that change me, change the world and the way I see things. I love that we as authors can put words down and make people do that.

Tamara then introduced Claire and she came up and sang Colbie Caillat “Try”.

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After that, it was opened up to the audience questions.

Do you think this book is relevant in helping the stigma?

T: I hope so. It’s a positive look at medication and a therapist relationship. I purposely made her a swimmer because there’s the idea that people just have to exercise more and that’s just a myth.

Will you talk about your high school experience with Oak Leaf?

We had a school newspaper and by senior year I was editor in chief. It was the place I went when I was having problems with my friends or if a boy dumped me. I just thought about it when I did a blog post about it.

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What would you say to someone who is struggling with mental health?

It’s great that you’re saying you’re struggling. Go get help. Find something that works for you, whether it’s medication or talk therapy or cognitive behavior therapy. There’s a lot of great people who want to help.

V: This beautiful novel is going to open minds. It’s because of stories like this that we can talk about it.

T: We talk about physical health all the time. It’s part of our body. They all work differently and it’s great. I play with the words normal and crazy. I’m not normal and it’s great. I like my brand of crazy.

With social media, how do you become a better friend?

T: There’s a social media event that happens in the book. It’s easy for people to forget that we’re talking to real people. It doesn’t matter if its someone you’re going to see in a hour. It’s a tough world for our kids.

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After that, Tamara had a surprise for us, but we weren’t allowed to share anything about it. Just know that it was awesome and lovely.

Tamara then thanked everyone for coming and for reading her words before telling us to head downstairs for the reception.

I quickly grabbed Veronica and asked her to sign my book. I explained that we were both working in the morning and I was trying to sneak in. She said absolutely. {Disregard the fact that the photo doesn’t really match what I just said. I realized I didn’t get a photo of Veronica, so I took one later.}

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I sort of left Veronica with Hubs while I took my books over to Tamara. I also explained that we were getting ready to leave and asked if she would quickly sign my books. As she was signing, she asked how I liked the surprise and I said I loved it. {It’s really amazing and I can’t wait for it to be released.}

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She asked if we were coming down to the reception and when I hesitated for a second, she said I really should. That she had something for me and it was down there. So of course I said yes.

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We got down there and they had a photo booth so Katie {who I got to meet, YAY!!} and I did a Charlie’s Angels pose, complete with explosion in the background.

Tamara came down shortly afterwards and made her way to the signing table. I waited with Katie and after she got her books signed, I told Tamara that I just wanted to hug her before leaving. We ended up taking a couple of photos and she announced to everyone that I drove up from San Diego. She told me that she would work on writing a fourth book so I had another launch party to attend.

As always, Tamara is lovely and both her Veronica are some of my favorite people. They definitely make it worth any drive.

If you haven’t gotten your greedy hands on Every Last Word, you definitely need to do it ASAP.

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One Response to “The time there was live music”

  1. I love love love this recap Stacee. <3 Thank you so much for sharing about your trip :) I adore seeing your love for Tamara on twitter. You guys are adorable :) So happy you were able to drive over for this launch party. <3 But damn, that is a lot of driving o.O Yet worth it, I'm sure :) Sounds like such a fun time! And I aaaadore Veronica. Wishing I could have been there, meeting them both too :) Thank you for sharing this stunning post sweetie. <3 You are the luckiest. And I'm so happy for you, that you got to go, and got such gorgeous signed books :)

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