Monday, April 11, 2016

Marie Rutkoski and Kristin Cashore signing

This week was quite a week with signings of some of my favorite authors!
On Friday, Harvard Bookstore had Marie Rutkoski and Kristin Cashore!

Kristin adds that Marie is now an NY best seller and everyone clapped. We were also very relieved that Marie could make it. Last year it snowed so she got stuck in NY. It was very sad. 

They rock paper scissors to find out who gets to read an exert of their books first.
Marie Wins!

While Marie reads, she mentions that, thematically, all the books deal with the clashing of honesty and religions. And in this particular part, they're being completely honest for the first time.

She also mentions that Arin is very religious and  Kestrel is an atheist

Kristen asks Marie: Craft question- You use beautiful imagery to show characters feelings.You have a way of showing things through dialogue. In a scene were Roshar and Kestrel argue and she demands her apology. Then later he does apologize when she doesn't say anything. There's no fill in of feelings. Just words for the reader to get the sense of how they feel and what they look like. When you're writing, is that how your first draft is. Or do you write in the feelings and then strip them out?
M: Well you would know, Kristen, you read my first drafts! (laugh)
There have been times Kristin has said to cut things out. But that particular scene stayed the same. 
The book isn't just words on a page. But the absences. Not just text. But Subtext. (I love this!)

Marie asks Kristin: It's striking how you put personal trauma along with social trauma of the whole country together in your book. How do you balance the individual hurt and country's hurt?
K: I didn't notice the dynamic at the time while writing it. 
It helped that her protagonist's mind was personally attacked and she was the queen. It also took her three years to write and one to revise. Bitterblue was supposed to be her happy bright book. In which Bitterblue can solve fun puzzle! Then it turned into...what it is.

Inspiration on making characters:
Kestrel and Marie both like games so much that its almost annoying for the people around them. Like thinking of relationships while playing games. Marie Love characters who are clever and felt there wasn't as many female YA characters that were strategists.

Kristin was influence by Tamora Pierce. There wasn't many kick ass girls that she could read about so she wrote one. She switched gender roles with Po and Katsa, who both came to mind fully formed.

The games bite and sting and borderlands:
Bite and Sting is Poker meets Mahjon
Borderlands is more like Chess.
Significance is to help gesture towards two cultures. Borderlands is east. Bite sting is imperial.

Why does Kestrel plays piano?
 Strategic choice. Not portable. If it was portable it wouldn't be in the way so much. Road block between her and her father.

Talk about battle scenes:
Marie's researched involved how battles were fought in industrial times. What cannons and guns can do. Wikipedia was her friend. Her husband was in military. Hes french and was super into it. So he was really helpful with battles too.

The dynamic between Arin and Kestrel are constantly opposites in the first two books. Did you also mean for their friendships to be that way too? Like how Arin's friendship with Roshar grow and Kestrels with Jess diminishes?

It was important for Arin to have a friend. He very much wants a friend and he's trusting and Marie really wanted him to have a trustworthy friend.

Kestel's friendship with Jess was more to show that sometimes friendships just don't last. And they probably will never get back together ever again lol.

Katsa and Bitterblue talking about sex was the best and most fun relationship to write for Kristin. Kind of like a big little sister dynamic.

The topic of diversity. Has there been issues with how you write the characters and how the market does?
M: her story is about colonialism.  Colonizing in the middle east. 
There are three different cultures. Who look different. It was important for her main character to be white because of the colonizing story. 
Its definitely an inter racial story.

K: If I could go back I would be a lot more thoughtful and explicit. I feel like its my fault that i wasn't explicit enough.

M: sometimes you can be explicit and it still doesn't do anything like in the better know series hunger games with Rue. She hopes it changes in the industry more. Grateful for the we need diverse books reach.

How did you create these interesting different worlds:
K: With Graceling. I never wrote a fantasy and was flying by the seat of my pants. After when she wrote fire she really made a point to sit down and figure it all out. She put in a forest and a mountain because they were getting to a place too quickly.
Then in bitter blue she needed people to move quickly but there were mountains! So she added tunnels. Wanted to give landscape a mood while writing.

M: i wanted to write a fantasy that felt real. High fantasy with no magic. Politics and social dynamics that would feel real. Wanted magic feeling where reader would know that its fantasy. Masker moths were convenient to plot. Dreams get echoed. Wanted to have plausible deniability about the gods. Even when Arin is conversing with the god of death.

What writing next?
K: always asked editor what shes allowed to say. On fifth draft. A book about grief. An orphan invited to a house. Wanders around the house and meets the people and notices something is off. The story breaks off in 5 different stories and different genres. They're all going on at the same time and you can see the other stories going on at the same time.
M: Says she's read it and its brilliant.  She doesn't know what shes writing next. But could write something in the same world as The Winner's Curse (I can only hope!) 

Got my picture with Marie!

And here is my haul! Marie was giving out The Winner's Kiss Lip gloss and buttons, and Harvard Bookstore had some cool posters with the Winner's Curse map on one side and a quite on the other. I got mine signed since I stayed later :)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Jodi Meadows and Erin Bowman Signing

So last night I went to an amazing book signing with Jodi Meadows and Erin Bowman at the Brookline booksmith bookshop
Here is a SUPER LONG recap of everything the talked about!

Jodi and Erin were pros on the panel. they took over the conversation and just jumped right into discussing various topics they frequently were asked about. Erin also gave out cover prints to anyone who asked a question. (Great incentive!)

They described their books, and when Jodi started talking about The Mirror King she kept saying that everyone hated her after they read it! Even her editor and agent. Erin told her hes not pitching her book well so Jodi said there was kissing and it was fine.

Erin read Jodi's blurb off the back of her book. So cute!
On Inspiration: 
Erin's inspiration for each book is always different. Usually voice came first. But vengeance road is written because of the legend of the gold in the mountains in Arizona. lost Dutchman. Muse explosion!

Jodi's inspiration for Orphan Queen came when she was watching super hero cartoons. A minor scene of a girl saving a boy from her own people turned into when Tobias and Wil were kids.
Then thought about magic and destruction! 

Cover talk:
 Jodi said she added the characters in cloaks in the second book because the cover of Orphan Queen and Mirror King  had cloaks. So she felt she should. 
For her first series, Asunder, she told them not to put a face on the cover... and... they did anyway.
For Orphan queen. They asked what she'd like and she said maybe a girl with a weapon? In a pretty dress because Harper likes pretty dresses? And surprise! They did! Then they asked if she wanted a boy on MK's cover and they did! She was pleasantly surprised.

Erin had a pinterest board she shared with her Eritor and they came across this illustration styled card that they both loved.
They both said it was really cool when you see someones vision of your work. The ultimate fan art.

Research for books:
Jodi looked into calligraphy and forgery. (For fiction strictly. Of course.)  Several hundred dollars later she ended up with a hobby in calligraphy.
Erin had to do a lot of research on the legend of the Dutchman's treasure and historical references of Arizona. She also traveled to Arizona.... in June...while pregnant! So she has lots of respect for the characters who couldn't go back to a hotel room at noon like she did.

Maps. Do you sketch them and give them to an artists?
Jodi traced Virginia over her computer monitor! She loves the valley and really wanted it in there. So she was also really picky about how high they were on the drafts.
Erin also gave them a rough sketch that she scanned in. Its historical so Erin was really picky about placements of things. She was a web designer too, so she would pull it into Photoshop and mark it up and send it back! lol

If your book was a Taylor swift song which?
Erin: Maybe Trouble.

Jodi: I also pick trouble!
Erin: Or maybe red for blood
Jodi: I also pick that one!

Jodi wrote the novellas so people wouldn't hate her so much after Mirror King
She had told her editor: I have an idea for a novella.
Editor: How many are you willing to write?
Jodi: How many are you willing to give?

Editor: Lemme get back to you. Four.
Jodi: Then I will write four.

Jodi was asked about Lady Jane. She talked about the giant nerd and awesome-sauce book girl and emphasized that in their book she does NOT lose her head.
Writing the book with the other authors was so easy for Jodi.
For a week they'd write a chap a day and then read it together and wouldn't want to disappoint each bother.

If their characters were animals:
Wil would be an osprey of course
Black knife a black cat? Maybe? (I agree with this and I almost said it out loud!)

Erin said that maybe Kate would be a pig and couldn't think of her other characters

What they're working on now:
Erin is working on retribution road and a short story in an anthology.The second A Tyranny of Petticoats Anthology.
Jodi is working on cell story with illegal dragon trafficking. And with the Jannies other book.

On Character inspiration:
Jodi's characters always come fully formed.
Sometimes her characters are like her friends so shell think "what would --do?"

Erin's characters gray and brother are inspired by her and her sister. And how they interact.

They don't dream cast their books. They like it when readers do though.
Jodi: can we just make Jennifer Lawrence all the characters?? Lol

Jodi inspired someone to knit a sock on the plane on her way here.

Do you write in bursts?
Jodi: It's different for every book. I will drop everything for those bursts. (Reward them for good behavior.) OQ was that and MK was the opposite.
Erin has a structured schedule. Because of her baby. Has a nanny and does the bulk of her writing then. She hates writing middles! She always has a good flow in the beginning and end. But middle is a muddy desert of badness.

Whats harder, perfect first lines or last lines?
Jodi: I cheat. My first lines and last lines are similar. (everyone grabbed their Jodi Meadows books and exclaimed at the awesomeness of it all!) Orphan Queen's first line she loved but it didn't work and she had to fix it.
Erin has an easier time with beginnings than ending. Very first line of vengeance road never changed.

Erin said there was a scene in frozen that her editor told her to get rid of that she loved. Erin left it in and completely ignored her editor. And her editor noticed and told her again. And she finally pulled it out the in the very last revision when her editor didn't comment on it for the first time.She knew it was better for it. But it's so hard to kill the darlings!

Jodi says when they draft is like ruts and it it feels solid and hard to delete or change. It hurts the soul to change things.

Jodi's favorite tropes is masks and identities (no surprise :P )
Erin love villains to friends to lovers.

Then the signing!
I was so happy and surprised that Erin Bowman remembered me from her Ladies Living Dangerously Signing  back in September. Erin and Jodi are so incredibly nice and fun and funny. I love them on panel together.
Jodi Brought the cloak she made off of the cloak on The Orphan Queen cover and let everyone put it on and take pictures!
Of course I had to try it on!
I tried not to geek out too hard because I am such a big fan. I told her how the Orphan Queen was a comp title in my query that got my agent, and I had also won a character named after me in one of her books  which hasn't sold yet. And she's just so cool. Thanks Janella for taking the picture and putting up with my constant obsession the whole time we hung out. And I snuck a picture of you with the cloak from the back because it looks so bad ass ;)
 And Finally my signed book haul! <3 Aaaah I love it so much. I wish I had an ARC of Orphan Queen to complete it. Maybe in the future :)