José and I drove like 400 miles from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, and it was so worth it. We arrived around 7 AM and it was very chilly; I had no idea if it was going to be inside or not, but fortunately there was so much to do that it didn't feel that cold. The event lasted until about 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
The last month or so I was corresponding with Crystal Perkins (Barnes & Noble) who oversaw the entire YA portion of the event. She did such a fantastic job! Everything ran smoothly, all of the topics and speakers were entertaining and I had such a great time. I was fortunate enough to announce Daisy Whitney who moderated the "Blending Realistic Fiction with Fantasy" panel. Some of the authors on the panel included: Jay Asher (The Future of Us), Cat Patrick (Forgotten) and Suzanne Young (A Need So Beautiful).
Now let me tell you about Suzanne Young...
I was ecstatic when I found out that I'd be escorting her for the day. She is the sweetest and funniest! Mary and I were lucky to meet her this past summer at a book event called YA in Bloom at Once Upon a Bookstore. Can you belive I got to gush about Harlin with the person who dreamed him up?!? Totally mind blowing. Trust me, if I had not met Suzanne before I would have been awestruck at the event and totally would have been a shy monster (OMG, I'll tell you who I was a shy monster with later)!
Suzanne's sequel, A Want So Wicked is slated for release on June 26, 2012. If you haven't read A Need So Beautiful yet, you should definitely read it, with a fan and a box of tissues. The book is fantastic and made me super emotional. Mary and I loved everything about it and couldn't wait til our other friends read it; they loved it by the way. My heart aches just thinking about, but it's a good ache. These are the books that I love reading, the ones that make you one with the main character... you know aside from the whole 'gold' thing.
So, I was able to help Suzanne out while she autographed books and SWAG for YA readers and fans. It was so much fun, if you ever have the opportunity to meet her, do not hesitate, she's so awesome and friendly and would probably give you two thumbs up!
Some of the other panels included "What's Hot for Teens in Fantasy and Paranormal Fiction" and "Contemporary Teen Fiction: The Dark and the Light". The panels included: Rachel Caine, James Dashner, Becca Fitzpatrick, Sophie Jordan, James Dashner, Lindsey Leavitt Bree Despain, Veronica Wolff, Tera Lynn Chils, Rachel Hawkins, Jay Asher and Lisa Shroeder.
It was Rachel Hawkins! I snuck over to her line and asked her to sign a copy of Demonglass. I casually told her that I loved her book and immediately read them one after the other and that I couldn't wait til March. I tried to keep my composure when all I really wanted to do was hug her, jump up and down, and tell her how much I loved Sophie and I knew that deep down in the bottom of my heart Sophie and Archer were going to be together forever and ever... and I love Cal but he's too shy and they (Cal and Sophie) need more book time for me to decide if he's right for her, but whatcouldIpossiblybethinking?!? Archer is the one for Sophie! ::sigh:: I would have said this and more, but I couldn't say more than a few words at a time. Maybe another time... maybe at next years festival... maybe I'll just save all my questions/comments/gushing till the release of Spell Bound ;)
My favorite moderator of the event was Lindsey Leavitt who cracked me up and had everyone laughing during her panel. She was also at the Orange County Book Festival this past Summer and, let me just say, she is consistently funny and entertaining.
Usually at events, authors have to remind the audience to be aware of spoilery questions or comments, but at this event I found the audience asking more questions about the writing process, inspiration and the ever most popular "how does one become published?" My favorite response to that is "finish your manuscript!" :)
I definitely look forward to participating and attending next year's event if they'll have me.
As far as ideas or thoughts about next year's event, maybe raffles/giveaways could be an option. I know I love participating in giveaways and it would be a way to get the audience a little more pumped.
Be sure to check out pictures for the event, you won't want to miss out next year!
**Also as an added bonus, I collected some cool bookmark SWAG from Cat Patrick, Suzanne Young and Veronica Wolff and the first person to leave a comment will get 3 bookmarks! Comment and e-mail us at jennreadsfiction AT gmail DOT com :)