Mysterious Galaxy hosted an event with Brandie June to discuss Curse Undone, which is the sequel to Gold Spun. This duology is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin with the main girl character being a con artist and Rumpelstiltskin being a hot fairy boy. She made it that way to make it different, distinct, and to be able to think about the characters in a different way who are normally flat.
June explained how in order to not get stuck, she writes a note to make an epic battle or anything else she needs to add and then moves on. She actually has to write an entire really bad first draft before she goes back and edits. For these two books, in the later drafts, she had to figure out how good or bad she wanted Rumpelstiltskin to be as a whole and in parts. One of the scenes she remarked seeing very clearly was the golden ball.
To answer a question asking about why she likes retellings, she said that she loves how retellings customize their own worlds. One of her favorite Rumpelstiltskin retellings was Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik.
June thought that these books would be a trilogy at first. She knew that not everything would fit in one book, but then it was decided, based on her arc, that a duology would be better and make sense. She had a huge rough draft for the trilogy and had to cut in half and make an ending for her deadline.
June explained how she went through a lot of rejections and how her first book did not sell. But without that happening, she never would have written Gold Spun. Now, she is re-querying again with a new project because she had to part ways with her agent. What she finds works with the stress of querying is to keep working on other projects. Continually working is something she can control and manage and writing more helps her become a better writer.
Brandie June was so nice, easy to listen to, and very insightful. I enjoyed the event carried on by the awesome staff at Mysterious Galaxy and June’s great personality.
Tonight, I got to listen into an awesome book event between three authors hosted by Book People for Pride Month! The authors were Jason June presenting his book Out of the Blue, Brian D. Kennedy presenting A Little Bit Country (a debut), and Lyla Lee presenting her book Flip the Script.
The authors were dressed for pride! So that was cute! And the first question to them was how they like to spend Pride. Some of the answers were with parades, family, friends, and sunscreen!! Hahaha.
I thought it was interesting and so heart-warming how Brian D. Kennedy wrote his book set in the south, while making sure that he did not have the main character viewing the south as a bad place. He wanted to show how it can be different coming out in different places, especially someplace that is not as ready to accept it, but he wanted to show that there are ways to still live authentically even if you live in one of those places or come from one of those places.
Lyla Lee set her book in South Korea where there are no gay rights. Her book is set in a big city where it can be dangerous to be at Pride. She wanted to write two queer teens falling in love in that context because she needed that as a teen growing up, but she made sure she didn’t make it too idealistic.
In Jason June’s book, he had two settings, but in the Blue, everyone loves who they love and who they are. It is very intriguing how all their settings are so different from one another and was very interesting listening to them talk about it!
Jason June brought up the fact that in the books that Lee and Kennedy wrote, the main characters are public figures being watched as they are trying to explore their identity. Which would be so hard! That led into favorite queer and gay icons. Layla Lee’s favorites are Halsey and Lady Gaga.
It was really cool listening to Kennedy’s passion with this being his debut. His passion lies in country music. He talked about how he loved diving into country music and getting to nerd out about it while building his own world.
They all would love to see more diverse voices because they believe that people need that. When they were growing up, they NEEDED that to feel less alone and less confused. They would also love to see more queer rom-coms to bring about more fun and happy reads to queer books. I could not agree more!
I got to listen V.E. Schwab talk with Melissa Albert about her newest book Gallant hosted by Kepler’s Literary Foundation! It was such an interesting conversation to listen to because V.E. Schwab is such an interesting person who is very self-aware.
A few really cool things about the book Gallant before getting into V.E. Schwab is that it apparently has Coraline vibes according to Melissa Albert. The main character is nonverbal. It is also partly told in illustrations that we were shown during the interview also, which look very interesting! The chat was very active during this interview and someone had said that when the purpose behind the illustrations become clear that it gives the reader goosebumps. Also, the book is for younger children, teens, and adults. Meaning it can be experienced in a variety of different ways depending on the reader’s age! She wanted to write an ageless book where each age can come away with something different. But this book did take her five years to write because she could not figure out what was beyond the wall in the novel.
This amazing person, meaning V.E. Schwab, gave us a look into her life. When writing novels, she has so many ideas, but they need time to seep. Some of her books have taken 10-15 years to seep in her mind while she slowly adds ideas to them throughout the years. When she writes, the first character she makes is usually the setting.
Interestingly, the reason why she is so obsessed with death is because she is an only child who was so scared to lose her parents because her dad was diabetic. It made her feel powerless toward death and become overwhelmingly aware of it. Since she still scares easily, she likes to write scary stories because she is the god of those worlds and won’t be caught unaware of what will happen or what is going on.
Also, although she is very well known and has found success in many areas now, it was not like that at first. She published her first novel in 2011 called The Near Witch but it went out of print 18 months later. It wasn’t until 6 years after that, that it was brought back out again and became a bestseller. So, she was not an instant best seller. She had many small successes and many down times at the beginning, but then worked her way up.
Thank you so much Kepler’s Literary Foundation for this insightful event!
Macmillan Publishers gave readers an awesome event with Marissa Meyer for her newest book Gilded hosted on Crowdcast. This event was very involved with polls, questions, and interactions in the chat box. It also had a great timeline to keep the conversation flowing with various avenues of interviewing.
Gilded is a novel based off of Rumpelstiltskin, which sparks interest in many readers. I find it so interesting how many people love that fairy tale, including myself. Marissa Meyer said that what drew her to it was how whimsical, weird, and interesting the story is, but most importantly the mystery of it. In my opinion that is why everyone loves that fairy tale. There is so much left to the mind and left unsaid in that story, like why did Rumpelstiltskin want that child? Another opinion of Marissa Meyer’s in that original story is that the King was the bad guy. I thought that was an interesting take.
From what Marissa Meyer was describing of Gilded, her main character is a liar. I am so very interested to see how she gets readers to feel sympathetic for this character and gets them to like her. Another interesting thing about her newest book is that it sounds like the character who represents Rumpelstiltskin is a poltergeist!!! A very interesting concept!
For a very special treat, Marissa Meyer had brought on two very special guests. The first one was Rebecca Soler who has done Meyer’s audiobooks since Cinder. It was very cool to get to hear from an audiobooks reader’s experience and what she does to prepare. Rebecca Soler apparently is a huge fan of Marissa Meyer, so her dream job has been fulfilled in getting to be the strong women that Marissa Meyer writes. To prepare for a read, she first reads the book as a fan to get to live in Meyer’s world and then she jots down names, settings, and places that she needs to googles the origins of and pronunciations. Her favorite character that Meyer’s created is Cath from Heartless. Listening to her describe that character and book had me putting that book down on my wish list. Then before Soler left, she read us a small part of Gilded where the main character first meets the king, which was really cool to experience!
The last guest that Meyer had on was Anna-Marie McLemore. In an anthropology that Marissa Meyer is editing and that is coming out in January, they are one of the authors in it. The anthropology is called Serendipity and it is a collection of ten short stories that are based on different romance tropes. Anna-Marie McLemore is a YA author who has written many romances already so Meyer wanted to hand-select them to work with her on this anthropology with a few other authors.
Marissa Meyer was a great speaker in this event and I loved how she came dressed in tainted gold that I thought was perfect for the launching of Gilded. Near the end of this event, we got to listen to Meyer tell the story of Rumpelstiltskin that many know and then lay out the different endings that there are out there. An interesting fact that she gave about herself is that she usually doesn’t write in her writing studio but more so in her reading chair. And a word of advice that she gave us viewers was find joy wherever you are in your writing journey. She explained how she was so focused on getting published when she was younger that she would bring herself to tears about it because she was so worried about it instead of just enjoying the process. She wishes that she would have just let herself enjoy those years she could have been writing and growing instead of stressing so much.
This event was very enlightening and entertaining. I loved the set-up with all the different things that had happened in the hour and thought it was very well planed out and organized. I had already pre-ordered Gilded, so I cannot wait to get it and read it, and I am currently working my way through Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I actually just finished Scarlet a couple of hours before this event took place. It was so nice getting to see and listen to Marissa Meyer and I am so thankful to Macmillan for setting up this event on her launch tour.
Tonight I got to listen to a new author for me during an event with Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse as they interviewed Heather M. Herrman for her book launch of The Corpse Queen. It was an interesting interview and I enjoyed hearing Herrman’s journey in writing The Corpse Queen.
One of my favorite parts of writing as an unpublished author is all the research, and I love to hear other authors say that it is also their favorite part. Apparently Herrman had to do a lot of research for this book since she wrote this book not knowing the jobs or the places that she was writing about. It makes me very curious to see later how she pulled all her research into her story and if she was able to make it believable. I am also very very interested to read about grave-robbers since from the interview it sounded like a portion of the book will be centered around some historical facts about grave-robbing.
They also talked about characters in general. Herrman stated that her main character Molly was one that she always pictured being the main character, but who kept blocking her from really getting to know her as a character in the writing process. I thought that was very interesting, relatable, and may even show how stubborn Molly is in the heart of her character. Herrman also had said that many of her characters ended up taking different paths than she had expected, which is something I have heard many authors go through. The interviewer also brought up the fact that one of Herrman’s bad guys was a very great character because they were not just bad to be bad but had motive. Those are my favorite types of characters, so I found that to be such a great compliment to Herrman!
From the thoughts and discussions about editing, it sounds like it is always a bitter sweet gift for published authors when they have professional editors to give them an expert’s advice on making their books closer to perfect. Authors discussing parts of their editing process always calms my nerves and I appreciate hearing how much a manuscript can change. Herrman apparently had to change a decent part of her manuscript because she had a lot of focus on Molly and what had happened to her before the story, but the editors wanted her to focus more on the grave-robbing and autonomy aspects of the story. I cannot wait to see if, for myself as a reader, focusing on those aspects more so in the story works to draw me in more.
I loved hearing Heather M. Herrman’s passion when it came to death and how beautiful it is to her. She made very great points that death should be honored and that it is just a way of life. She was stating that at a time death was more talkable and approachable in a sense, but that now it feels untouchable and uncomfortable to talk or think about with many people. She said that her book is definitely scary and about death, but that it is focused more on life and living to claim your life. To Herrman horror is hopeful. She says she wants to find the meaning of life, what makes humans tick, and wants to get the point across that a body is just a body. There is more to death than sadness and a beauty to the spirit.
The interviewer ended the interview with a cute game of Would You Rather with Heather M. Herrman about her book. It is always interesting to hear an interview like this one tonight and how the writing process was for the author. After hearing all of this I am excited to see how it all came together. I can’t wait to read it!
This event started with a great and warm welcoming from the host! Right away I felt calm and then excited. Thank you BookPeople. I enjoyed the experience that your bookstore provided with Lauren Tarshis and Alan Gratz.
First off, I have to say that the reason why I joined this event was because my oldest daughter is in love with the I Survived books. When I came across this event, I couldn’t pass it up because I was interested to get to hear from the author. I was so pleasantly surprised by how inspirational Lauren Tarshis is and how great of a role model she is also. She talked with so much love and inspiration. As an aspiring author myself, I loved to hear that I Survived The Galveston Hurricane, 1900 is the 21st book she has wrote in the main series, that she also writes graphic novels, and oversees a magazine. Not only all of that, but she also has four kids and is able to travel and does so much research for her books to give her readers truth in the experience. It also made me happy to learn that she listens to her readers, if she hears from them that she should write something, then she goes and writes it, which was how I Survived The Galveston Hurricane, 1900 was written.
I learned so much about the Galveston hurricane from this conversation. I had not known about it at all and that there was a city in Texas right on the water that was on track to being the 3rd largest city in Texas until it was hit and ruined. It was so interesting to know that the hurricane was one of the deadliest natural disasters for America in history and that it isn’t that well known outside of Texas. It is crazy to think how something like what had happened changed the history of Texas. That even after Galveston was hit, it didn’t fully recover and Houston took its place for growing the faster and largest. It is terrifying to think about how back before technology not many knew about natural disasters and that it was harder to know hurricanes or anything were coming to be able to warn people. Even after it had happened, it is even crazier to think on how they couldn’t let the world know that it had happened because there was no good way to communicate the way we do now. Lauren Tarshis talked about so many facts flawlessly. She definitely does her research. It is amazing to me how historical fiction writers can put history in a great personal format. One of her examples to focus further on times back in the 1900s and how many reacted in certain areas, she brought up that Galveston had always flooded, so when it started doing it again, to the kids it was cool and exciting and an adventure, until it went too far. That focus helps put the reader further into the minds of the characters and how they use to live and how their thoughts were shaped about the oncoming disaster.
I found through this conversation how important historical fiction is for children because it helps them grow to be empathetic by giving statistics a face. These authors are really doing the world a favor by bringing history to life for children outside of textbooks and helping them see how much things can change after an event and showing how things can get better. It also helps children learn in a way not to repeat history and helps the tragedies that the world and many have felt never be forgotten and the impact the events had in the change of history always be recognized.
Now for the conversation! It was so brilliant of BookPeople to bring two historical fiction writers together. The conversation between Lauren Tarshis and Alan Gratz was so wholesome. They talked and laughed about their struggles and their enjoyment they find in their research and writing processes. One of the things I could relate to was having a character or thing they really wanted to plug into their plot, but trying to find room or space for that character or thing without it feeling forced. It was interesting how much harder it is for them as historical fiction writers to do this because they have to make sure they match up two timelines. They also discussed how hard it becomes to make sure their characters are not flat when they have so many characters to flesh out over all their books. My favorite part of the conversation was Alan Gratz’s gushing over the way Lauren Tarshis uses sound effects because he does the same thing and they even had favorites that the other used in each of their books and asked each other to borrow them for future books. It was so cute and such a heartwarming exchange between the two authors. You could feel the respect and understanding they each had for each other. I am happy they have each other to really talk to and dive in deep about writing historical fiction.
I highly enjoyed listening into this launch event! I have the book coming for my daughter, so I am excited for her to get to read it. I am also excited to have another author to suggest to her that she may like. I loved really getting to see how inspirational these authors are and I loved the feeling of happiness I got knowing that my daughter is reading books from an author who is kind and cares about her fans. This was such a great and insightful event and I couldn’t be thankful enough for finding it. Thank you again BookPeople for putting it on for us, especially on Zoom so many more could attend.
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Last night I attended a virtual book launch event with Book People, which is a bookstore all the way out in Austin Texas, for Heather Walter the author of her debut novel Malice. Launching a book is always an exciting experience, but just being in the presence of this author even over a screen had my heart soaring for her with the excitement and passion I could tell she held for this day. Coming dressed in costume to represent her book, Heather Walter explained to us which parts of her outfit represented certain characters in her book. It was a great visual for readers who have not read her book yet! She had a book cake made that looked just like her book, and not only that, she talked about a playlist she had for the book, which opened up the world even more for her readers. One of the things that got me hooked, was that she talked about her book like it was a child of her own calling it a she. That made me love her even more as a person and an author. Then she led into discussing all the layers and reasons she had for writing the book. I could tell that Heather Walter really loves to dive into human emotions and how passionate she is for characters to have justice in the way of storytelling. She believes that it is hard for children when shows, media, and books confuse them on what true love really is and she wants to correct that. I personally love authors who want to put justice to old stories.
Book People did an amazing job hosting the event. It was very well organized with discussion and questions answered. They did an amazing job in helping us get to meet and know the author more.
My favorite part about this event was seeing Heather Walter’s passion. It was amazing to get to enjoy her excitement and to get to see this author’s heart and her goals. I found that it is a lot easier to get excited for someone when you get to see their personality and she proudly wore hers for all of us to see and experience. I have no doubt that she will end up being loved by many. I also believe that many will enjoy the plans she may have for the future, which she discussed. Meeting this author made me even more excited to read this book once it arrives in the mail. I am excited to follow this author and her work. I really hope the book is fantastic, but even if it isn’t, I want to see her grow. After this event I believe in more than just her work. I believe in her passion also.