The time it was about YallWest {3}

Posted May 2, 2017 by Stacee in Signings / 6 Comments

Michelle and I have gone to YallWest since it started, so it’s sort of a given that we’ll go.  This year, instead of being an evening event and two full days, it was only Friday night and Saturday.  We were a bit wary, but had tickets for Friday and our books flapped and ready to go.

On Friday, Keiko, Michelle, and I headed up towards LA around 10am.  We ended up making several stops: Target, Starbucks, Downtown Disney…you know, normal stops.

We made it up to Culver City and headed over to The Ripped Bodice.  Annnnnd, I wasn’t even remotely prepared for how gorgeous that bookstore is.

After touching everything spending some time in the store, we headed to lunch before going over to the Santa Monica library for Fierce Friday.

While the line up for the event was pretty stellar, none of us had anything to get signed.  We decided to go and hang out and be social. We got in the mega line and then found out that it was only for wristbands, so we quickly got out.  We saw a few friends, chatted with the lovelies from Mysterious Galaxy, and perused the library store before leaving.  We were only there for about 20 minutes.

It was just too gorgeous outside to go inside, so we got ourselves a little lost and ended up at the Venice canals.  I was especially excited because I had never seen them.

We found another Target {seriously, we love Target} and eventually made it to the hotel to settle in.  We went through the mini paper that Epic Reads put together…and found that there was a lot a lot a lot to do. The three of us pretty much scrapped our entire plan and schedule to just have a relaxing day squeezing authors.

Saturday morning had us up and out the door around 6:40 because of course we needed a Starbucks run before lining up at the gate for the event to start.

Michelle’s unicorn for the day was getting an arc of Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo.  We got to the gate around 7:30 and there was already a good line.  We had heard that the people in the front lined up at 4am.

As time went by, I found someone who was working the event and asked about checking in for press because I had an early morning interview.  I was told to go to the front of the gate at 8:30 {the event started at 9}, tell them I was press and that I needed to be let in to be sure I had enough time to get my credentials. Well, 8:30 came and when I made my way to the front, I found several other ladies {and friends!} waiting.  They were told that they weren’t allowed in yet.

I saw the woman I had talked to and asked her about it.  She said that the time changed.  At 8:45, someone would escort us to the press area.  She then had us all stand in the shade, inside the gate.  Well, 8:45 came and no one showed.  I asked a different woman who was manning the entry gate if she could call someone about it and she told me that she had no idea what was going on.  At 8:50,  a another woman showed up and asked us why we were all standing there waiting when we were supposed to be checked in already. So, we basically all power walked to the press tent.

By the time I was done checking in, there was a line for the Leigh arc ticket.  I sent a text to our chat and Michelle and Keiko were still outside the gate.  I was able to get a ticket for Leigh, then went to check in for my interview with Sandhya Menon.

I think everyone knows just how much I love When Dimple Met Rishi.  When I signed up to be press, the publicist handling everything said she would be able to set up interviews with Sandhya as well as a few other authors.  Every time I got an email from the publicist, I responded that I was interested, but I never heard anything back.  Eventually, I was told that all of the spots were taken.  I was disappointed, but understood.  I took to twitter to let Sandhya know that I wasn’t able to secure a spot, but that I would definitely find her during the day.

Annnnnnd then I got an email from the publicist stating that it was important to Sandhya to meet with me and they squeezed me into the schedule.  My fangirl heart almost exploded, but I digress.

When it came time for the interview, Sandhya came out and I flailed.  We hugged and chatted…I may or may not have gushed about how much I loved her book before starting a short, very informal interview.

Please give the elevator pitch for When Dimple Met Rishi.

I’m really bad at elevator pitches, so I’m going to steal my editor’s. She says it’s “Eleanor and Park meets Bollywood.” It’s basically two Indian American teens whose parents arranged their marriage and only one of them knows about it. They’re opposites in every way, so you can imagine how that goes.

Why do you love Dimple and Rishi and why should we root for them?

I love them because I think their story is very universal. You don’t have to be an Indian American teen of immigrant parents to connect with them. You are or you know someone who is super passionate and a firecracker in every way. Or you are or know somebody who is sweet and soft and super traditional and artistic. I hope that’s why people will root for them.

What is easier for you to write: kissing scenes or banter?

Definitely banter. I am super awkward, so when I think that people are going to be reading this…my mother in law is going to be reading this, it makes me totally lock up. Banter is easy. I’m naturally a little sarcastic, so it comes easy for me.

What sparked the idea to get you to start writing?

Generally or Dimple and Rishi?

Ohh, both! Two part question.

Generally, I don’t think there was a spark. As soon as I knew words and could form sentences, I started writing. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing. When it comes to Dimple, it was actually my editor who came up with the kernel of the idea for two Indian American teens and the arranged marriage aspect. She loves Indian culture and has a lot of Indian friends. She really wanted an Indian American author who could do justice to the culture and get the nuances that you might not know of if you’re not part of the culture. It sort of landed in my lap.

Are you an pantser or a plotter?

Definitely a plotter. I have to have a scene by scene outline. I do a full synopsis before I start.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you take with you?

Oh my gosh. I did not prepare for this question. A notebook and a pen. Wait, do those count as one thing?

Sure, it’s one thing.

Okay. Then a notebook and pen, a book to read, and water. Because I have to be practical.

You can only read one book for the rest your life. What is it?

Either Alice in Wonderland or The Handmaiden’s Tale.

What was your last five star read?

Ramona Blue. It was so good. Right now I’m reading The Upside of Unrequited and I’m sure it’s going to be five stars too. I love Becky and I love her books and I want to be in her brain.

You wake up and find that you are Bell in Twilight. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question}

I would stop being so dang clumsy. I mean I love Twilight, I reread it every year, but I cannot stand the clumsy thing.

What’s next for you? What are you working on?

I have a book contracted to come out next summer, probably around the same time frame as Dimple. It is also a light, YA contemporary and it follows an Indian American teen filmmaker. It’s sort of told in letters that she writes to her favorite female filmmakers.

What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

That everything is super slow. You might have exciting news, but you may have to wait for months to announce it.

After I was done asking questions, I asked if she would sign my arc and she was lovely to say yes. We hugged again, I may or may not have flailed a bit more, and then we parted ways.  {Seriously, if you haven’t pre-ordered Dimple yet, do it.}

After I was done, I sent another text and Michelle and Keiko were finally in.  They said they weren’t let in until after 9:20.  They were in line for totes at The Novl {which I’m so jealous I didn’t get} and I headed over to get in line for Kasie West.  While I was in line, Kasie walked by and she stopped to hug me and say hi before going to her table.

It didn’t take too long for me to get to her.  We chatted for a minute before I left {someone write this down: I didn’t hog up the line} and…

…totally crashed the line of Renée Ahdieh who was at the next table. As she was finished with one fan, but before the next fan walked up, I tapped her on the arm and said hi and hugged her.  Line crashing would be my MO for the entire day.

By the time I was done, it was time to line up for the Leigh signing.  As I was walking up to the line, I saw Leigh.  We hugged and said hi before she went to the tent.  While we were waiting for things to get set up at Random House, Michelle saw Jennifer Niven about to walk by.  So of course I had to stop her.

We hugged and hugged and she gave me two new foreign editions of ATBP, this time Japan and Turkey. Jennifer introduced me to her friends and officially introduced me to her BFF Angelo.  I apologized for always stopping her group and everyone laughed.  We chatted for a few minutes, then hugged again before I had to get back in line for Leigh.

While I was with Jennifer, someone from RH came by and handed out post-its for personalization and a friend had them write my name.  Which seemed legit. It wasn’t until I got right up to Leigh that I realized the arc wasn’t for me.  As the line progressed, we were asked what size shirt we wanted and they took our ticket.  I asked if I could keep it for a bookmark and the woman working the booth said it wasn’t a problem and wrote her initials on the back. {Thank you, KK!}

As always, Leigh is lovely.  She laughed when she saw my scratched out post-it and said “who are you?” I told her who the arc was for and she drew some hearts in the inscription.

After seeing Leigh, Michelle and I ran back down to the autograph area to say hi to Zac Brewer.  We got to chat with him for a few minutes before a reader came up with an entire rolling cart filled with Zac’s books.

We grabbed Keiko and headed back over by the super secret press area to sit in the shade.  Which ended up being sort of a jackpot of authors.  We ran into Tamara Ireland Stone, Heidi Heilig, and Kiersten White.  All three ladies stopped to talk with us.  Tamara gave me a foreign copy of Every Last Word {which I forgot to take a photo of} and we chatted for a few minutes.

Around 12:20 or so, we lined up for the arc drop of When Dimple Met Rishi.  This was Keiko’s unicorn. It was sort of a hot mess because Riveted had several arc drops going at the same time, so at first, it was just one line.  After a bit of time, they made a designated line for Dimple and handed out numbered post-its. While we were waiting, I stopped and hugged Kasie again.  I also saw Roshani Chokshi across the way, who waved me over to introduce me to Adam Silvera and another man whose name I didn’t catch. There were brief hugs before she had to get going.

After the Dimple signing {which started on time, moved quickly, and had a delightfully charming Sandhya}, Keiko headed to an arc drop and Michelle and I hovered by Penguin for the arc drop of There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins.  This was my unicorn.

We got in line for the Jane, Unlimited arc drop at 2 and then we were told that we could officially unofficially line up again. As the time got closer, we saw them set up a wheel and put out cookies.

When the Penguin people started stacking up the arcs, we noticed that it was a very thin book; however we were excited. And this is where is goes to shit. When it came time for the drop, you spun the wheel and grabbed a cookie that corresponded to the wheel.  Then you got the arc.  That’s when we found out that they were just partial arcs.

Now, to be clear: I am not at all opposed to partials or samplers.  I mean, they’re not for me, but I get the appeal.  What makes me crazy is that Penguin did not say they were partials.  The drop was advertised that “everyone would walk away with an arc” — to me that means a full copy.

Okay, so maybe an advertising mistake, it happens, right? No. When I had asked one of the women in the booth earlier in the day, she did not say it was a partial/sampler.  She said full copy. Needless to say, I wouldn’t have waited well over 90 minutes for a partial.

After that, all three of us were sort of over it. It was hot and we were all tired.  I had books I needed to get signed at 5, but I was ready to go.  We went to the 3pm signing and line crashed Tamara and Jennifer to hug and say goodbye.

Overall, it was definitely fun.  I got to see a lot of friends and squeeze a lot of people.  I did like having a less stressful schedule, so this idea of just hanging out might continue.

And if you actually made it this far…you get a cookie.  Or a hug.  Or something.

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6 Responses to “The time it was about YallWest {3}”

  1. Danielle

    Love the write-up! Sounds like a fun event that I should try to get to sometime. But I totally understand the disappointment about a partial Perkins arc! That would be tough, feeling like all that time was wasted…

  2. As always, such a stunning recap Stacee :D Thank you for sharing about all that you did. <3 Hugs. So glad you got to go to this amazing event :) So jealous of you. <3 So so many awesome authors :D I'm thrilled you had an amazing time sweet girl. <3

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  3. Leah

    I was SO UPSET about the partial ARC for Stephanie’s book, too. It said an ARC on the schedule. :/ Oh well, Yallwest was still tons of fun though.

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