The time it was worth the wait

Posted November 6, 2015 by Stacee in Signings / 1 Comment

When I saw the announcement that Jandy Nelson was coming to San Diego, I nearly lost my mind. I’ve been a fan of Jandy’s since I read The Sky is Everywhere and I didn’t get a chance to see her at this year’s LATFoB. Needless to say, I was going.

Unfortunately, Michelle and Keiko couldn’t make it, so I coerced Hubs into going with before he met up with some friends for a concert.

We got to the library around 4pm and I immediately went into the library shop to buy books. We headed over to Lolita’s for the best Mexican food ever and got back to the library after 5. Then we grabbed a table and just settled in to wait.

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We stayed outside playing games, waiting to be let inside. No one we asked seemed to know what time they would be letting people into the event space and around 6pm, we went into the small lobby to wait because I was freezing. We were let inside the space after 6 and were able to get front row.

The authors came out right after 7 and they were briefly introduced. The moderator introduced herself as a YouTuber {but I didn’t catch her name} and then said that she had some individual questions for each author.

{I apologize for the my short hand at some of these questions and answers.  Everything was so lengthy and detailed that I just couldn’t type fast enough to get it all.}

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Jam and DJ have a good relationship at the end of the book, what did they find in each other?

M: {Gives brief synopsis of book before answering} The roommate over time was jealous. She wanted to be in the class, but wasn’t allowed. The roommate has a secret — she’s gay — and maybe she doesn’t have a secret world, but she has something she wants to tell.

Specific losses?

M: There are a lot of different ways to have loss and I was trying to give a little tapestry. Writers use what’s in front of them, it’s like a soup. I was thinking about the things we hold so dear.

Was Belhzar the opposite of life?

M: It’s the idea that you can have the thing you want most, but it’s nothing new. They’re watching the same movie, they’re kissing the same away. They can’t make new tracks. There are no new neural pathways. They think they’re returning to what they want, but it’s a dream.

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Teenage dramatics?

M: They might be teenage dramatics, but that doesn’t mean they’re not real. There’s just the tragedy of everything in life. The thing about being a teenager, is that it’s the time of firsts. How can you not be dramatic when you’re doing something for the first time?

Ally was next and she talked about her books.

A: Atlantia is what I was working on while working on the last book in the Matched series. I like to have a back burner book that I work on when my main project is misbehaving. It took me 2 years to write and that’s the longest anything has taken me to write.

How did you come up with underwater world?

A: I wanted to do something with The Little Mermaid, but not with mermaids, so I had to create an underwater city. I spent days doing research and looking up welding. Venice was some of the inspiration.

Favorite part about writing Maire?

A: I didn’t know what side she was on until the end. She’s absolutely self interested and I didn’t know if that would change. The only common denominator was that she was out for herself. She’s sort of based on the sea witch.

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Point while writing where you thought about doing more in this world?

A: I knew the ending pretty early on. I thought about doing a generation earlier, but right now my editor isn’t super interested.

Point where you were exhausted for Rio?

A: She’s very restrained, she has a very powerful voice, so her whole life has been restrained. I have a 10 year old son who is autistic and you can see it in him. Holding it in and holding it in because that’s what’s expected.

Jandy then talked about her going to high school in San Diego and how classmates and her mother were in the audience. She then talked about her books.

J: I wrote my first book at a desk with the light streaming in. I wrote this book in the dark, with the curtains drawn and earplugs in. It took 3 1/2 years and it wasn’t until the end that I realized how odd it was.

Are you superstitious?

J: I am very superstitious, thanks to my mom. My grandmother used to gather four leaf clovers and read palms. With Jude, she was feeling so tenuous and there was nothing she could hold on to, it gave her hope.

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Fan of Clark Gable?

J: Grandmother calls God Clark Gable. I don’t think I’m a strong fan. The grandmother was.

Who did you understand more?

J: I’m always asked who I liked more and I feel like I need to cover the ears of the book. It was like I wrote 3 books. I wrote Noah’s story beginning to end and then Jude’s story beginning to end. I locked Jude’s file while I was working on Noah and locked Noah’s while I was working on Jude’s. I really enjoyed writing both of them.

Buttons for normalcy?

J: I feel stumped. It came from the grandmother and her way of thinking.

Breakfast with one fictional character?

A: Gilbert Blythe

M: Holden Caulfield. I don’t know if he would stay.

J: Heathcliff

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Character in the book you wouldn’t get along with?

J: I love that question. It’s hard. I think when you write a character, even if it’s a heinous serial killer, you grow to love them.

What advice would you give for young authors who start with fanfiction and then move to original fiction?

J: I didn’t start writing until I was 40. My teacher, the one who made me believe I could do it, told me to be myself. Everything you love, everything you hate, all of your passion and demons. If you can get that on the page, it will be original.  I love the idea of fanfiction. I love that people don’t want to leave the characters.

A: I think fanfiction is great. Reading and writing is great. Anything you find that you love is great. Being a writer, you will have to find things you love.

M: Both of those things are true. When I started writing, I had a mother who is a writer and she really encouraged me. If you have someone who can be a designated reader, show your work to someone who wishes you well.

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Young characters doing grown up things. Any thoughts about what you’re having them do?

J: I don’t have boundaries. I don’t think about my audience. I’m trying to stay authentic with my character. Obviously there are things we don’t put in the books.

A: I noticed it more with the middle grade novel I’m working on now. She’s 12 and that’s so different than the 16 year olds I’ve been writing. Her world is beautiful and pure. It was so easy to write.

M: I write adult fiction, I don’t ever think about what to write. You have to write the book you want to find on the shelf. My son brought me Looking for Alaska and said that I needed to read it. It made me realize that not only was my son thinking about these types of things, he needed to hear these things.

Why do the parents always have to be dead or gone?

A: In the Matched books, the parents are still alive and I get a lot of emails about it.

J: I think it’s so the kids can feel in control of the story. There was a time where you had to wipe out the parents, but I think it’s changing.

M: There was also the idea that you can’t have fun if the parents are around. The idea of getting rid of mothers who are always hanging around is important. {there was more to this}

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What do you think Noah’s art looks like?

J: Outrageously colorful and dreamy.

Still writing poetry?

J: Yes. I still love it, but I don’t do it as much.

M: I wrote a little when I was in college, but not since then. I’m just not a poet. You know how they use that poetry voice? What is that? Where did it come from?

A: I like poetry.

J: She was writing it on the plane.

A: I’m doing it for school and it’s so terrible.

Can you share a time where you were consumed with self doubt and how you came through it? How is it with social media and reviews everywhere?

J: Yesterday. I think authors are plagued with self doubt. It’s just part of it. The process is challenging and you think it’s terrible. With social media, it’s hard. I saw someone had said this book needed to go to the graveyard, never to rise again.

M: You learn to deal with it.

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A: I had written a book called Freshmen for President for a small publishing house and they got Kirkus to review it. It was a big deal. We got the review back and it was so bad. I only read it twice because I couldn’t see through the tears. It was pretty devastating. The next book I wrote was Matched and Kirkus gave it a started review.  And which writer am I? I’m both.

M: I think it’s just really hard to gauge your own work.

J: There’s a book called Rotten Rejections and it’s all of the huge books and the scathing reviews. It’s great.

What books should all readers read?

A: Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis. All really quirky and you’ll never read anything like it.

M: I would read The Bell Jar

J: For a classic, I would say The Outsiders. For YA A Monster Calls, Eleanor and Park, Speak.

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There were a few more questions, but I didn’t get them down. The signing started at 8 and while we lined up and got things flapped, Jandy mingled with people in the audience. When she got back to the table, we were able to go up on the stage.

We were behind a librarian and her students, so we were a bit delayed while they all got things signed and then took group photos.

When I was able to go to the authors, I told Ally and Meg that I loved their books, but I already had signed things from them. Jandy saw my stack of books and said that I had quite a collection. I said that I had been waiting a long time to meet her. When she signed my UK copy she said it was her favorite version of the book.

We chatted for a bit…she asked where I lived and if I was a blogger. When I told her my blog name, she said she had read it before. I almost died. Before my head exploded, I thanked her for coming and tried not to run away flailing.

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The three of these ladies were so charming together.  It was really fun seeing this group of authors {who have pretty different books} interact and discuss things.

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One Response to “The time it was worth the wait”

  1. Aw, yaaay :D Sounds like an amazing event. <3 So glad you were able to go. She seems like an awesome author :D YAY for personalized books. <3 That is always the best. So happy for you Stacee :) Thank you for sharing about this. <3

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