Last night I went to the Chicago area Fierce Reads stop and it was a complete blast! I met up with Heidi from YA Bibliophile, Lynn from Bringing the Epic, and Monica for dinner at what is quite possibly the best pizza place ever, Lou Malnati’s (also known as I have been deprived of good Chicago style pizza since I’ve been in Boston for the past year).
Then we headed over to Anderson’s for the event and Heidi and I chit chatted with the authors a bit before the event which was SO cool. We also discovered a few funky hats and some puppets. I was particularly amused at the fact they had an opossum puppet – I don’t know what kid would be like MOM. I WANT THE OPOSSUM PUPPET, but to each their own I suppose :)
Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14), Jennifer Bosworth (Struck), Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), and Anna Banks (Of Poseidon) were all super lovely. They started out the night showing the authors book trailers and then each talked about their books afterwards. And I just have to say, all of these ladies have some awesome looking trailers, I especially love Jennifer Bosworth’s trailer.
Like how epic is that?
Emmy Laybourne started out the night by talking about how Monument 14 is a thrill ride and dark, but at its core its about central humanity and how humans take care of each other. Jennifer Bosworth talked a bit about how Struck came to be – She first had the idea of a human lightning rod, but it turned into a human lightning addict after she read about the guy with the most lightning strikes in the Guiness Book of World Records and thought maybe lightning turned into more of an addiction for him. Anna Banks acted out and read her query letter that got her her agent, which was great. Leigh Bardugo had the idea to turn something metaphorical real with Shadow and Bone. That’s how the the Shadow Fold came to be. She took the dark and turned it real. She got this idea when she was out in the country and was alone in a cabin because everyone else had gone into town. It was “country dark” like the kind where you can’t even see your hand in front of you.
It is also official that if the apocalypse comes, I want to be near Emmy Laybourne. She was telling us about a game she used to play with an ex boyfriend (and how this is probably why he’s an ex, ha) where it was you had 6 hours to get to safety, what do you bring? and her big thing was a salt lick. You bring a salt lick and the deer come to lick the salt lick and then you have food. Clearly, she is pretty much a genius :)
The authors then shared a bit about their inspiration and their writing process. Emmy Laybourne is very rhythmic in her writing process. Anna Banks wakes up at 4:30 and writes, then writes more at night. With coffee in the morning and wine at night. She tried switching these, but it didn’t work out too well :) Jennifer Bosworth started her writing process by listening to Steven King and writing 2000 words a day, but she realized that she would only get about 1000 good words with this. Her writing process really turned a corner for her with screen writing. She now writes about 1000 words a day. Leigh Bardugo tricked herself into writing Shadow and Bone in a sense. She just plowed through it, saying she’s the only one who is going to read it and it didn’t matter how great it was in the first draft. She also when writing never wants to lose momentum, so she writes down questions she has to come back and answer later or writes things like “insert epic scene here” so she can keep moving forward. Leigh chose Tsarrist Russia as an inspiration for her world, since it was something that wasn’t just medieval England.
Emmy Laybourne wanted to start her book right in the action. Leigh Bardugo was working as a makeup artist and special effects artist when writing Shadow and Bone, and it played a role in Shadow and Bone. She wanted to look at looks and beauty in the book. Alina, her main character, is not beautiful, she’s not even really average. There was a sense of beauty is tied to embracing who you really are. Genya, another character, is absolutely gorgeous, but then she has also had a very hard life, so it’s not beauty being everything.
It was such a great night! I was laughing for quite a bit of it.
Then we got a bit silly, gazing off
Now, thanks to the lovely folks at Macmillan I have a signed set of the Fierce Reads book and a signed Fierce Reads poster. US only (Sorry!) and ends June 30.