Another successful day of author stalking!
I was not able to meet Veronica Roth. The room didn’t open until just before the panel began, and then she was ushered out by an armed guard the second it was over. In fact, some people went to try to talk to her, and the RT employees acted as human barriers. So this is the closest anyone could get to her.
She presented herself as an intelligent, well-spoken woman. The chat was entertaining, but the moderator questions were pretty typical—what faction would you put yourself in, what was it like having a cameo in the movie, etc. And safe—the questions definitely played it safe. The audience was not permitted to ask questions.
Another panel I went to today featured several of my favorite authors: Chloe Neill, Angie Fox, Darynda Jones, and Charlaine Harris. CHARLAINE HARRIS! How cool is that? (Yes, I’m a book nerd fangirl. I own it.)
The panel was basically a Q & A about the authors’ writing processes, the perfect panel for me. As a writing teacher, I’m interested in and teach about the writing process. As a fiction writer, I’m fascinated by how authors write.
Chloe Neill (picture posted yesterday) has a full time day job and puts about 2.5 books a year. She consistently writes 1k each weekday and 3k each weekend day to meet her deadlines. So there is hope for those of us holding down a day job!
Darynda Jones (a NYT bestselling author with a distinctly humorous voice) mentioned that she recently joined a “500 club,” which means she’s committed herself to writing 500 words per day, no excuses. That means writing on Christmas and birthdays. Eek! She is an extensive outliner, her outlines sometimes reaching sixty pages. She jumps all over the place when she writes, often writing chapters in non-sequential order. She also mentioned that the fastest she’s written a book from start to finish is two weeks. For people who don’t know, Darynda’s novel First Grave on the Right won the RITA for best first book in 2012. Not a bad way to begin a career!
Angie Fox is the NYT bestselling author of the Accidental Demon Slayer series and the Monster Mash series. She stressed the importance of critique partners and beta readers. Her writing process sounds a lot like mine—she gets an idea for a great opening, then once she has that down and figures things out, she plots the rest of the book. Can’t say I mind my process being similar to that of a NYT bestselling author!
Charlaine Harris has the looks of a sweet southern lady, but behind those fiery curls is a quick and witty sense of humor. She writes about 6-8 pages a day. When she gets stuck while writing, she kills off a character in the most gruesome way possible to move the plot forward. Now how can I translate this into YA romance? Hmmm….. Maybe not. I really enjoyed meeting Charlaine. She’s about as high profile as they come for “big name authors,” and she was as nice and gracious as could be. Her books are fabulous regardless, but it makes it much sweeter to read them knowing the author behind them is just as fabulous.
P.S.—On the advice of my writer friend who acts as my Pollyanna, I’m happy to share I had two successful pitch sessions today. (If you send positivity into the universe, it will come back to you—or so my Pollyanna guru says.) So now I’m off to bite my nails and triple check my MS before hitting the submit button. Wish me luck! (Luck is when preparation meets opportunity—I’m so ready.)