Book Event

Astoria Bookshop hosted a launch interview for Adrienne Tooley’s newest book Sofi and the Bone Song. This book is about a girl named Sofi who has trained very hard and is ready to inherit the title of music like her father has. In this world only certain people can play music and through years of training, Sofi found love in it and has made it a part of her identity, until she loses the title to a girl who had never played before.

Tooley said that the idea came to her from her want to know what it would be like in the life of a bard mixed with her life, since Tooley is big into music. Tooley even used to write music and music is how she met her wife.

Apparently, according to the interviewer Allison Saft, there are many really cool magick systems in this book. Tooley explained how one of the magick systems were created just to make Sofi angry. Sofi is a perfectionist much like the author who after writing the first draft of this book and sending it to her editor, didn’t like how many questions the editor had, so she started it all over and wrote it again.

It was cute hearing how this book is a rivals to lovers book between Sofi and the girl who took her title, and it was interesting to hear the author talk about why she chose to stay in one point of view for this book. The reasoning was because she wanted to focus on Sofi’s story and she thought that having the other girl’s point of view also would be too much of a distraction from what she was wanting to get across.

It was easy to tell in this interview how much work that Adrienne Tooley puts into her books. I hope that this book is enjoyed world-wide.

Book Event

Hosted on Facebook Live by Murder By The Book bookstore in Texas, Deanna Raybourn was interviewed about her newest book An Impossible Impostor from the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series coming in at book number seven.

Deanna Raybourn was such a great speaker! She didn’t seem nervous at all and was so welcoming. I loved how she brought up how great virtual events are because readers who can’t travel and who do not know about certain bookstores can join in. How many (like myself) may never have found out about how awesome Murder By The Book is. Tonight, there was a worldwide audience viewing all the way from other countries like New England and Australia.

Raybourn talked about how she loves to write in first person and why. It goes all the way back to when she was growing up. The books she read were first person and she fell in love with that style, especially reading Sherlock Holmes.

Interestingly in the first book she wrote in this series she had displayed a lot of one of her character’s past, but her editor told her that her doing that was for her and not for the reader so that she needed to take it out and lay it out throughout the series, which she thought was genius, so she was so happy that she did that.

The main character Veronica sounds like such an interesting character to write in the author’s point of view. She said that Veronica is not good with vulnerability even with the readers, so over the book series Veronica slowly reveals herself to the readers by being more and more honest with her past.

Awesomely, a viewer asked what the two main characters Veronica and Stoker’s astrological signs were, and the author said that she always knows the signs for each of her characters. Apparently, Stoker is a Taurus and Veronica is a Cancer, but it was really hard for her to pinpoint those for them.

Raybourn’s two characters Stoker and Veronica are very smart, and Veronica knows a lot about butterflies as a butterfly hunter. Raybourn said when asked that it is easier for her to do the research she needs to do because the books are set in the Victorian Era. If there is not a butterfly that had been named before that time, she cannot use it. She has created some butterflies for her books though, and she knows a decent amount about butterflies because she used to raise them. Interestingly butterflies apparently smell horrible when they are hatching from their cocoons! Ha-ha. But she still gets nervous when she gets calls from people who have butterfly collections but feels at ease when they tell her that she got it right.

It was so great getting to listen to and know Deanna Raybourn who was so fun and upbeat. She is on contract for nine books in this series. Thank you Murder By The Book for hosting this event!

Book Event

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!

Book Event

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.

Please support authors and independent bookstores.

Book Event

The streaming for this event didn’t start until 6:06 pm!! Which was such a relief. I am thankful they waited until more people logged on, since I came running from dance lessons and gymnastics, so I didn’t miss a thing.

To start off this book launch event with Kew & Willow Books for the book Weird Kid by Greg van Eekhout, they had the author Greg van Eekhout talking to another middle grade author Matt Wallace. It was such a fun, comical, and witty conversation between the two authors that felt very comfortable to listen to, like I should have been sitting in a big comfy leather chair by a fireplace during this event.

One of the topics that they talked about was how self-care before a book launch is very important to do. Which is such a good reminder that through all the stress to make sure you are looking to take care of yourself. Also, as supportive authors do, they commented on the fact that their books should not be bought off Amazon, although they can be. Individual bookstores’ support is so important to authors but apparently even more important for middle grade authors. That I was not aware of since I do not normally buy or read middle grade books.

Weird Kid is Greg van Eekhout’s 9th published book overall. It is about a kid who is an alien and came to earth as a blob who can shapeshift, but in puberty the alien named Jake starts to lose his ability to control his shapeshifting. There is also an interesting sounding subplot about a certain hum in the town he can hear, sinkholes, and other strange things. The book focuses on difficult transitions, empathy, and friendships. The author commented that when he had been asked if the dog on the cover lives, his answer was “Yes, the dog lives. I’m not a monster.”

Another interesting topic that was explored in this conversation was theme and how sometimes without noticing authors tend to fall into certain reoccurring themes. A few other people attending the event pointed out some Greg van Eekhout’s regular themes, but a big one that was brought up which seems to be a central theme for many of his books is isolation. He explained that he believes it is because he feels it is important to explore personhood through dogs, aliens, robots, and things that are not humans, so people can learn to love and accept others even if they are different and so readers can question and figure out what it means to be a person exactly.

A question that was asked was how to make a book funny. Matt Wallace brought up that not everyone is funny in real life and how tiring it is to see dialogue all the time that goes back and forth trying to force comedy. Being authentic to the character is the most important. If you have forced dialogue or forced humor, it can take the reader out of the reality of the book.

A piece of advice from Greg van Eekhout was that every book is a journey and sometimes writing a particular book is harder than it was writing others, but that doesn’t mean that it is the writer’s fault. When writing is difficult, you have to be kind to yourself and know that if you make it through and finish it, it builds your confidence as a writer. He stated this because this particular book he was launching was hard for him to write.

Another echo of wisdom from Eekhout was that every writer’s process and brain is different. The important part is making sure as a writer you are having fun since most of a writer’s life is at the keyboard, so a writer needs to make sure they find a way to make it enjoyable. Also be consistent. Greg van Eekhout stated that what gets him through to the end of his books is his consistency.

As can be seen from the paragraphs above, this author cares about children, humanity, bookstores, and other writers. I highly enjoyed listening into this conversation and I am excited for his book to get shipped so I can read it.

Book Event

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.