Monday, February 10, 2014

Fight for the Future Tour @ Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting not one, or two, or three but four fantastic authors — Marie Lu, author of the Legend series; Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman, authors of These Broken Stars; and Margaret Stohl, author of Icons and the Beautiful Creatures novels.

Let me first start off by saying how amazing the event was due to the chemistry of these ladies. It was evident that they were all friends and fans of each others’ work. It was great to hear them do one-lined pitches of each others’ books - even those that have yet to be published!

Some really interesting questions came up in the Q&A portion. I’ll share what I can remember:

Marie Lu:

When you write, where do you start from? What influences you:
Marie said a big influence for her is writing about child prodigies; that she loves young people who do extraordinary things. She shared this hilarious story about a 14 year old boy who would collect plutonium in the desert with his dad and then built a fully-functional nuclear reactor in his basement to impress girls.

She also said she likes writing about girls who are not nice — and don't care they are not — but become a nicer version of themselves in the end.

Which of your characters do you most identify with, or are closest to?
Marie answered Kaede mostly because she’s a wish fulfillment character. Marie wanted to be a fighter pilot as a kid, but her mother reminded her that it would be highly unlikely because she has horrible vision. She’s pretty much agreeing saying she’s legally blind.

Margaret Stohl:

When you write, where do you start from? What influences you:
Margaret said that she’s an emotions-based writer, and for her, it’s all about the feelings. She said she spends a lot of time in her characters' POV and delves deep into the core of them. She said that a lot of time, the entire idea of story stems from what she's feeling. With Beautiful Creatures, for her, it started with Ethan Wate’s dreams about a girl he couldn’t save and how that affected him. Furthermore, with Icons, she said she wrote that from a very dark place while saying in a horrible hotel in France. The way she told it was funnier that I can try to think up, so I won’t go into detail. She said locked herself in her hotel “cell” and wrote, exploring feelings and emotions that are so strong that they end up destroy the physical world. WOW — having not read Icons yet, that’s a easy sell for me.

Why do you like writing YA? How do you write from that perspective now that your no longer that age?
Margaret said she actually started writing Beautiful Creatures as a dare, because her teenage daughter didn’t think she could.

Meagan agreed with this perspective, saying she bets a lot of writers finish their books out of revenge , to prove people wrong. She explained that there’s so many people saying you can’t do it because of all the obstacles you’re going to encounter, to which you you say to hell with that and do!

Margaret went on to explain that television and fandom also help bridge the gap. That everyone, on a global scale, has seen that episode of Doctor Who or Sherlock, which I think was absolutely true!

Do you ever encounter differences when co-writing?
Yes. As stated before, Margaret comes from a emotions-based state of mind. She said that, Kami Garcia writes from more of an action-driven state of mind, thinking “go, go, go!". When they collaborate, Margaret feels she writes best. She’s influenced by Kami’s writing style and perspective, and the story gets the best of both worlds. “As readers, you get her chocolate mixed with my peanut butter.”

Which of your characters do you most identify with, or are closest to?
Dol, because of who he is.

Meagan Spooner & Amy Kaufman:

When you write, where do you start from? What influences you:
So far, Meagan & Amy said they both enjoy writing about people from different worlds and exploring their differences. Specifically, Meagan shared a quote that illustrates that thought: "The things that divide us are the things that unite us.”

Why do you like writing YA? How do you write from that perspective now that your no longer that age?
Meagan said what draws her to YA is how much change and growth teenagers go through. She also said that when your a teen, everything that happens to you feels like the most important thing in the world, and that that’s a fun perspective to write from and explore. Amie joked that internally she’s about 17 and she’s just waiting for someone to revoke her “adult status.”

Do they ever encounter differences when co-writing?
Yes, of course. They’re close friends who met online and at one point lived together, so they feel like they have a sisterly bond. There’s no bloody brawls when they encounter difficulties and that it mostly works itself out. Their formula: If Meagan wants A and Amie wants B, the answer is C (otherwise known as the "secret plot line that has yet to be written", LOL). Meagan said that also there writing styles differ - Amie is a plotter (with outlines and such) and Meagan is a pants-er (writing “by the seat of her pants).

Which of your characters do you most identify with, or are closest to?
Meagan and Amie said that it’s hard to answer because in their story they kill all but two characters. But because of their personalities and upbringings, Meagan writes the female leads and Amie writes the male leads (Amie grew up around boys and was on a sailing/rowing team two which composed of 16 boys and her). Meagan said, “I’m such a girl. If I got lost in the woods, I’d be in trouble but Amie would be fine. I’d probably sit on a rock, cry and die in 15 minutes.” To, which is a sinister voice, Amie answered, “and then I’d eat her!"

There was a lot more discussed, but that’s what stuck out at me the most. I would recommend to anyone to meet these wonderful women! Interesting perspectives, awesome witting advice and fantastic personalities all around!

What made the even more enjoyable was all the swag. Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman gave everyone in attendance bookmarks, postcards and an amazing poster of the gorgeous cover. Three lucky ladies also went home with one-of-a-kind necklaces, a character’s dog tags to be specific. Margaret Stohl also gave a very lucky reader an ARC of Idols, the next book in her Icons series. She said there are only 5 in existence .. lucky lady!

Thank you, Mysterious Galaxy Redondo Beach, for another fantastic event!

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