Monday, September 13, 2010


What’s better than spending a weekend reading books? Getting the chance to meet and greet the minds behind the stories, of course. I’m happy to report that I got my fair share of such delightfulness this weekend at the annual Brooklyn Book Festival, where 200+ authors gathered to promote their books, answer questions and meet their fans. There were a lot—and I really mean A LOT—of really popular and wonderful writers present, but I’ll skip over mentioning the ones that I didn’t get the chance to see, because what I really want to talk about are the other ones: the chosen few I did get the opportunity to meet and talk to.
Me, enjoying the awesome day
First on my 2010 Brooklyn Book Festival itinerary was the Young Adult program called "Happily Ever After", which included authors Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall), Jenny Han (It’s Not Summer Without You), and Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars). The discussion was lead by Kirsten Miller (author of The Eternal Ones) and focused on the writing inspiration and techniques. Here are some of the things the three authors shared:
• Jenny Han creates her “evil” characters by endowing them with the negative aspects of her own personality
• Lauren Oliver draws writing inspiration from her own experiences because it’s the most effective way to make her stories authentic and lifelike
• Sara Shepard planned Pretty Little Liars as a single, stand-alone book, and yet somehow it's a series of eight already!
(from left to right) Kirsten Miller, Jenny Han, Sara Shepard, & Lauren Oliver

My second stop for the day was at the "Romancing the Novel." This was a discussion between the two romance writers Sarah MacLean (Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake) and Donna Hill (Private Lessons). I'm not a big fan of the romance genre (for a few reasons I won’t go into here), but I was recently convinced to try Sarah MacLean’s The Season and Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. My reviews of them are pending, but as you can guess, I liked them enough to go see Ms.MacLean in person this weekend. She is very funny and personable and I enjoyed our chit-chat as she autographed my copy of her work. She is just great
Donna Hill impressed me quite a bit as well, and I'm considering breaking my no-romance policy…at least for a while.

The third program I attended was the one I was most excited about. It was called "Being is Scary" and included readings by the two amazing writers Per Petterson and Scott Spencer. I excited about this program because Spencer’s novel Endless Love has intermittently been my favorite book for the past five years (rivaled only by Heart of Darkness and Written on the Body) and I really wanted to meet this man who could write so poignantly about love and obsession at least once in my life. Mission accomplished! What’s more, I introduced to the equally enthralling Per Petterson. Everything Per Petterson said, including the excerpt he read from I Curse the River of Time, left me flabbergast, and the fact that I’ve never read any of his books before is truly criminal.

Tiger Beat (from left to right) Daniel Ehrenhaft, Libba Bray, Barnabas Miller, & Natalie Standiford
The last event I attended at the festival was a performance by the band Tiger Beat. If you’ve never heard of Tiger Beat and you love YA literature, you’d be delighted to find out that this band’s members are some pretty prominent YA authors: Libba Bray (vocals), Daniel Ehrenhaft (guitar), Natalie Standiford (bass) and Barnabas Miller (drums and vocals). Yes indeed, not only are these guys good at writing books, but they know how to sing, play instruments and rock it out in style too! Tiger Beat's performance was fun and lively and their adaptation of Prince’s "Purple Rain” was the perfect ending to a really great day!

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