The time there were mug shots

Posted June 7, 2015 by Stacee in Signings / 0 Comments

I think my head may have exploded when I saw that both legs of the Fierce Reads tour were coming to SoCal. Both dates immediately went on my calendar.

On the day of the LA event, we got up to The Last Bookstore just after 12:30. I tried to buy some books, but I was told it was way too early for the event to be set up and to come back later. So we headed outside of the store to wander around.

We found ourselves at a bar across the street where the decor was celebrity mug shots and there was even a spot to take your own mug shot photo. Annnnnd you know we took photos there.

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We got back to the bookstore and I had to check my bag because bags aren’t allowed in the store. I asked if I was allowed to have it back when the event happened so I wouldn’t have to carry loose books and was told that I could use a shopping basket. Bags aren’t allowed unless they’re purses or diaper bags.

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I went up to the register to pay for the book I needed and none of the books were in the system, so hubs had to stand by the register area while I got a seat. I ended up finding Nicole and we hovered for a minute while they put down the seats and we were able to get front row.

At 1:45, a few of the people who also had their bags checked were able to get them back. I went over to the counter and explained about needing my bag for the signing. The guy told me that the problem was that I was at a book signing with books they were selling so there’s no way they would be able to tell what was paid for. When I explained that my bag had arcs in it, I was allowed to have it.

We got bingo sheets and raffle tickets and then just settled in to wait the last few moments before the event started.

Around 2:15, the moderator thanked everyone for coming and the ladies were introduced. Each author then talked about their book.

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What character do you connect with?

C: Whatever I’m dealing with is something that they’re going to be dealing with also. Micheline’s journey is not something I’m comfortable taking about, but I can talk about my new book. In PITCH DARK the characters feel like they’re at the top of the world and even though it’s not on the same level, I feel the same way with this publishing journey.

A: I’m feeling really shy today. I hate this question because I have to admit that I’m like Arden. He’s the male version of me. A modern day psychiatrist would say I was a disturbed child. When I was 12 years old, I stole a car and drove across 3 state lines. It’s a true story, you can read it in U.S. today. All of the pranks that were in the book are things I’ve actually done.

E: As much as Sweet is a thrill ride, it’s an issue book. The cruise is a weight loss cruise, so the center of the story is two characters who have a healthy view of their body. I’m sort of a combination of Tom and Laurel.

J: Honestly, I can say that I connected with Rachel. My mom said my favorite word was why. I was very curious and I adored books and Rachel is the same way. I was raised in a religious household, but I was able to question everything. The best thing my parents gave me was the permission to read whatever I wanted.

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What inspired you to tell this story?

C: For Shutter, my dad was a police officer and I used to go on ride alongs with him. We’d be going 130 mph down the road. I lived in a high octane house hold. But we lived in an older house. {I didn’t get the rest of this answer. Something about being able to write monsters and beat them.}

J: I was researching before I was writing this book. I’ve read about 5 books on Jonestown. I like to read about cults. I had saw this show 19 KIDS AND COUNTING and I only have one kid and its too much sometimes. So it was curiosity at first. Then I found out that there was a religious aspect to it.

E: I am a sugar addict. Not in a funny way. About 3 years ago I gave it up. About a week after I gave it up, I felt like sugar was everywhere. It was in the pet store and the parking garage and I wanted to scream and tell people that they’re eating poison.

A: When I was a teenager I became a waitress to pay for some collateral damages and I worked with some undocumented workers. They told me their stories and how they were always concerned with their families. Then I thought about how it would be to be a teenager with the parents gone. A lot of people asked about my political stance on immigration. I don’t have a political stance, I have a people stance.

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Can you talk about your writing process?

J: I’m sort of neurotic about it. I make lists. I’m an English writer and I’m a mom, so I can’t wait for the muse to show up. I write at night. I get home and and do teacher stuff first, then mom and wife. Then I go to the dining room and work with the lights off. I try to set a goal, but let the characters talk to me.

E: I’m a plotter. I work from a detailed outline. I send it to my editors at Macmillan and they make notes. I will then revise the outline and they’ll give me notes again and then I’ll get to work. It allows me to know what I’m going to write the next day. The scene is working around in my mind while I’m going about my day. I rent my office and sometimes the words are just right there.

A: I’m completely the opposite. Have you ever gotten in the shower with your bra on? You know there’s something off, but you can’t put your finger on it? That’s how I feel about outlines.

C: Every time I try to write an outline, my characters laugh and say we’re going another way. You have to be able to sit down and put words on the paper. I’m completely at the mercy of my subconscious. There are things that can happen that the writer didn’t even know about.

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Favorite scene to write?

J: It’s hard to talk about favorite scenes without spoilers. There isn’t a set romance in this book. There’s a hopeful maybe promise of romance. Women in this setting are told to be demure and they’re supposed to keep the men from lusting. The women I talked to said that it made them uncomfortable to interact with men after they left. Mark is a fun character. He’s goofy and I loved writing all of the scenes with him.

A: My favorite scene is Arden trying to convince Carly to be his pranking partner.

What were your favorite books growing up?

J: The Outsiders. When I was in high school, looking back I can see that I was depressed. That book I read over and over again. Something about it made me happy. As an English teacher, I’ve been able to teach it and there’s something about it that resonates with everyone.

The piece of writing advice I’ve ever heard was from S. E. Hinton. She said that she wrote The Outsiders because she wanted to read it. I think that’s perfect.

E: My favorite series was the Little House on the Prairie books. Even now if I’m having a bad day, I’ll pick one up and read them.

A: My favorite is Anne of Green Gables. Anne was so feisty and Gilbert was so hot.

C: Growing up, I didn’t read YA. We didn’t have young adult in the house. I read Jurassic Park and I think I found Tolkien when I was 10. When I got to college, there was a mural in BYU and I realized that I had missed out on all of these characters.

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Best piece of advice?

E: Do not try to write and judge at the same time. It’s like driving with your foot on the gas and the brake too. Tree-ing from Tonya Harding. Take a deep breath and put your hand on something wood and then when you take a breathe out, give it that emotion.

A: I get asked a lot about solving writer’s block. I don’t believe it. I call it writer’s constipation because if you push hard enough, something will come out. And it might be crap. But if you can’t write, read your favorite book and it might loosen things up.

C: Trust your intuition. There’s always rejection in this industry. If you don’t get rejection from an agent, you’ll get it from a publisher. If you don’t get rejection from a publisher, you’ll get from Kirkus. If you survive Kirkus, someone on Goodreads will do it. There’s a perception that once you get the contract, you’ve made it. But there’s always something more. Early on, decide what is going to make you happy.

How do you develop your own style?

J: When you first start, I noticed that my voice would mimic authors that I loved. There’s a developmental time and I think it’s normal. Just play with it and practice.

E: In terms of craft, there’s a moment where you’ll consider the story and you’ll decide what tense it’ll be in. There are very technical questions you have to ask yourself.

A: It helps me to write scenes that will never be in the book. Like your character is eating cereal and he spills it all over himself and how does he react? You’ll learn your characters that way.

C: Every book is a different journey.

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What is your Hogwarts house?

E: Hufflepuff

A & J: We’ve never read Harry Potter

J: It’s not like I don’t want to, but my TBR list is forever long. As an English teacher, I love what she does for readers.

Do you write thinking it could be a movie or a tv show and if yes, how do you keep from it detracting from the novel?

E: I’m always thinking about that. My mom was one of the people created Nickelodeon. We always had the tv on. I have a degree in screenwriting and it’s very limited. Novels are a lot more liberating. You can write daydreams or flashbacks. I take the tools I learned and I’m liberated in my novel.

C: I don’t think about it at all. I see the scenes really cinematically, it’s really immersive. I know how difficult it is for them to be made into movies, so I just think about the best book for my reader.

A: I always think my books would be great movies.

J: If someone asked me about Rachel’s living room, I know exactly what it looks like. It would be something cool that would happen.

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How do you deal with people telling you that you can’t be a writer?

E: I bet we’re all feeling the same feeling: instant rage. Perhaps they’ll trying to protect you. All of them are afraid and they need to put that into the wood. They have no right telling you that. If someone was telling you that you couldn’t be an astronaut, okay maybe. But anyone with a pencil and a napkin can express themselves.

J: I didn’t publish my first novel until I was 37. I’m 38 now. I didn’t go to any workshops. I just loved to write. I wish someone would have told me not to hurry. Everyone is so caught up in instant success, like American idol. It took me 7 years from the time I decided to write YA to it being on the shelf. Hang in there.

A: My first instinct would be to tell them “yeah your moms not going to be a writer either”. Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team. He practiced and worked to do it and he was just magic on the court.

C: I watched something about how people are successful. It wasn’t charisma or good looks or wealth. It was grit. The people who become successful are the ones who never give up. It’s hard to query and agent. It’s hard to get a book on a shelf.

From there we were lined up for the signing. The line was pretty long, so they had us just go from author to author instead of staying in the line and going down the table.

I got to Jennifer first. She thanked me for coming and I thanked her for being there.

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From there, the publicist told me to go to Courtney. We said hi and Courtney asked I lived in LA. When I told her we drove up from San Diego, she was surprised that we drove that far. We chatted about her book and she liked my Alice in Wonderland/Doctor Who shirt. Then she started asking about my tattoos.

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Then I went to Emmy. She said it was nice to see me again and I babbled about how much I loved Sweet.

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Then I got to Anna. I had my copy of Degrees of Wrong to FINALLY get signed. When she saw it, she was so excited and said it was her favorite. I told her it was my favorite too, that it’s my go to book when I’m in a slump or I need a pick-me-up.

Then she paused and asked if she knew me on Twitter. I told her my Twitter name and she said that it was nice to finally meet me and that we had to get a photo.

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After she signed my things, I asked if she wanted to take a photo and she said that she should probably wait until the line was done, so could I stick around. I told her we were heading to Disneyland and couldn’t stay, so next time. She said no, that we needed one and we would just hold up the line for a bit.

From there, I chatted with Karen {publicist/handler/person who watched me lose my shit at Lisa McMann as well as countless other events} for a a few minutes before heading out.

As always, the Fierce Reads tour is always a lot of fun and this leg was no exception.  I always enjoy the ladies that are on tour together.

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