Saturday Last and Next

Last Saturday’s Teen Book Fest at the Central Library in Los Angeles was phenomenal.  I started the morning out chatting with Cornelia Funke in the green room (we had a green room!  And Cornelia Funke was in it!).  If you haven’t visited her website yet, please click her name and do it now.  It’s wonderful, clever, interesting– all a reflection of the woman herself.  From the green room it was on to my first panel, moderating a discussion on Historical Fiction with Patricia McCormick (SOLD, NEVER FALL DOWN) and Elizabeth Ross (BELLE EPOQUE).  What charming, intelligent ladies.  It felt like a day at a literary spa with girlfriends.  Patricia shared the fascinating true story behind the her novel, while Elizabeth delighted us with images of 19th century France and the birth-of-the-Eiffel-Tower-as-metaphor (trust me, it works). 

After our well attended (thank you everyone!) panel, I sat in the audience for the Middle Grade Book Panel, featuring Barbara Brauner and James Iver Mattson (The OH MY GODMOTHER series), Kristen Kittscher (THE WIG IN THE WINDOW), Jenn Reese (ABOVE WORLD), Ned Vizzini (HOUSE OF SECRETS) and Cecil Castellucci (LAST DAY ON EARTH).  This panel
made me want to write for middle grade.  I’m drawn to YA because I think those are the books that shape the adult you become, but the panelists all seemed to agree Middle Grade readers are at an age when magic is still possible and self-confidence has yet to be shaken.  That would explain SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS and how a bunch of kids can just sail off and live on a island for days on end without their parents calling the cops or anybody crying for no good reason.  I dig that! (And thus date myself beyond even my extensive years!)

The afternoon found me on the Other Worlds Panel, with Cecil Castellucci , Tom Leveen (SICK), Gretchen McNeil (3:59), Mary E. Pearson (THE ADORATION OF JENNA FOX), and Marlene Perez (DEAD IS JUST A DREAM).  It was like a mini-reunion of writers I’ve met this past year.  We had a blast talking about our books and the challenges of world-building.  All in all, the day was a success.  We’re hoping it becomes a regular event, so please do keep checking back here and I’ll let you know if we can do a repeat next year!

So, that was last Saturday.  NEXT Saturday you can find me at the Barnes and Noble in Manhattan Beach, CA from noon to 4pm for theInspiring Authors for Teen Girls Author Fair.  This event is a fundraiser in support of For Women Only whose education program, “Passport to Life: A College Bound Project” is an Education Program helps prepare young women aged18—24 to pursue their academic goals.  Come on down and say hello!