Beth Revis, Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, Megan Shepherd, Victoria Schwab, and Carrie Ryan – All In One Place. Oh, and I was there, too.

April 12, 2013 Book Signing 28

This was one of the coolest events I’ve seen promoted in quite some time.  Five amazing authors: Beth Revis, Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, Megan Shepherd, and Victoria Schwab held a contest, and the city receiving the most votes would get a visit from this Fab Five.  I threw in a vote for Charlotte and then didn’t think much more of it.  But then I saw a tweet from Beth that Shelby, NC would get a visit.  Shelby is about an hour away, so…SCORE!

Yesterday afternoon, I hit the road in my formerly dark blue car, now green, courtesy of the North Carolina pollen.  I got there an hour early and hung out in the parking lot for a while.  I watched as people wandered around the old school building, searching for an entrance.   I was also desperately trying to get my iPhone working since I’d dropped it – HARD – on my wood floor just as I was getting ready to leave my house.  I had been unable to find my camera, so I was in a bit of a panic thinking I wouldn’t get photos of this great event.  Twenty minutes later, I got it working, and the doors were finally open.

I got a seat in the front row and met Felicia (@FSJourneyToMars).  We’d shared a few tweets in the parking lot: “Is this place open?”  “How do we get in?” “I think it’s open!”  Then the authors began to file in.  Do you get a little overwhelmed in the presence of authors?  I know I do.  You read and love their books, you get a general idea of the kind of person they might be, maybe you share some tweets or e-mails, and then they’re standing right in front of you.  They’re like rock stars to me, so I try to stay cool and collected, even as I snap pics like a paparazzo.

The authors chatting shortly before the event started: Megan and Marie with their backs to us, and Carrie, Marissa, Victoria, and Beth

Beth kicked off the event by asking each author to ask a question of the others.  Marie asked to which Hogwarts house each author and her main characters would belong.  Gotta give my disclaimer here: I took notes as best as I could, but I’m sorry if I got anything wrong!  Marie said she would be in Ravenclaw, while Day would be in Gryffindor and June in Slytherin.  Sounds right to me!  Marissa said she would want to be in Ravenclaw, but she knows she would actually be Hufflepuff.  Cinder is Ravenclaw, and Scarlet is Gryffindor.  Victoria is the only self-professed Slytherin in the group, and Beth would want to be in Gryffindor since they have the most fun.

The authors next discussed the inspirations for their characters.
  • Wesley from The Princess Bride was the inspiration for Victoria’s Wesley in The Archived.
  • Megan’s Balthazar was inspired by…Chewbacca!
  • Marie told us that she based Day and June on Jean Valjean and Javert from Les Miserables.  But wait – those are both men!  Marie originally imagined her two main characters as boys.  We can thank her boyfriend for suggesting that June should be a girl.  I remembered reading that before, but what I did NOT know is that Elector Primo is named after her boyfriend.  This worked out quite well for Marie, because Primo sounds kind of sinister.  But I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if her boyfriend was named Herbie or Wilfred.  Hmmm – not quite the same feel, is it?
  • Cinder is based on Sailor Jupiter from the Sailor Moon series.  Marissa asked if anyone in the audience had heard of Sailor Moon.  A few hands were raised, but mine was not one of them.
  • Beth talked a LITTLE bit about her new book.  All we got out of her is that it has ties to Dr. Who, the main characters are Jack and Rose, and someone makes a sacrifice.  (I assume The Titanic resemblance is completely coincidental.)  Beth also said that when she wrote Across the Universe, she had no idea that it would become so popular, so she had no problem naming a doomed character after one of her troublesome former students.  She was worried when she met up with that student later, but he was thrilled that his namesake was killed off.
The authors discussed their writing techniques and their favorite writing spots.
  • Marissa wrote Sailor Moon fan fiction for ten years until she got the idea for Cinder, and she wrote a first draft in two weeks.  She had a favorite coffee shop near Seattle that is now closed, and she writes now from her house.
  • Unlike other authors, Beth does not plan or outline, and she needs to write in sequential order.  She doesn’t know what’s going to happen until she writes it.  Beth originally intended for Across the Universe to be a standalone that would end on a cliff-hanger, but her agent convinced her to write a trilogy.  Beth’s husband hand-built a desk for her, but she prefers to fight with her dog for writing space on the sofa.
  • Marie said she’s bad at outlining.  She used to be a video game artist, so she makes detailed sketches of her characters (check out her awesome work here), then writes a character profile.  She said she can’t write on planes, but loves to write on trains.  (No word on automobiles.)  All of the authors seemed to share her love of trains.
  • Megan’s writing is inspired by actors, and she keeps their photos pinned to a board on her wall.  She views her stories as a puzzle, and her task is to make the pieces fit.  Similar to Beth’s experience, The Madman’s Daughter was originally intended as a standalone, but her agent also encouraged her to write a trilogy.  Megan writes at home or at a lounge (I think she said it was a chocolate lounge, and if so, that is a place I do NOT need to visit) near her home.
  • Victoria plots out her books as a series of five to ten dots, and then she works to connect them. She decided to move to England to write The Archived.  This sounded very glamorous, but then she told us that she shared a not-so-great house with a bunch of other people.  You’ll notice in the photo below that she’s holding a copy of her yet-to-be released book, Vicious.  Recently, she tweeted a fascinating look at the process for creating cover art for Vicious.  If you’re a book geek like me, you will want to read this.  I saw her walk in with a stack of the books, and I was secretly hoping that she would accidentally drop one.  Then I wondered if I could yell, “Fire!” to distract her so I could grab a copy.  Instead, I asked her to pose holding it, and she kindly obliged.
During the audience Q&A, I asked if they could share any fun or scandalous stories from the tour.  Beth told us that she was driving the group and narrowly avoided t-boning another car.  Fortunately, all humans and automobiles were unscathed.  Oh, and I won a copy of Shards & Ashes, an anthology co-written by Beth and Carrie, for asking the question. 🙂  Another audience member asked what they do when they get stuck on a particular plot point.  They said they follow Carrie’s lead, and they think of the worst possible thing that could happen to a character.  And then they do it.
Now, for the REALLY fun part – buying books, getting them signed, and chatting with the authors.  I PROMISED myself I would not go crazy.  Earlier that day, I wrote a healthy check to an AC repairman, with an even more expensive repair looming.  And my washing machine is on the verge of breaking.  But I somehow forgot about all of that.  What is it about being in the presence of authors and their books that makes all sense of fiscal propriety fly out the window?  Fireside Books and Gifts was on scene, and I made three trips to their table to buy more and more books.  I already owned Cinder and Shades of Earth, but I bought the rest of these books to get signed.  You’ll notice two copies of Legend – giveaway alert!!
Do you guys get nervous chatting with authors?  I always feel a little tongue-tied, and there are a million things I’d like to ask, but I’m always afraid of overstaying my welcome.  Of course, they’re always so gracious.  Victoria and Megan both recognized me from Twitter (I was thrilled – I’ll admit it!)

You might notice that I mentioned Carrie Ryan above, but I haven’t discussed her yet.  She attended as an audience member, and I took the opportunity to introduce myself at the end of the event.  We discussed our love of zombies, and I think the highlight of my night was when I asked her if she’d seen the British miniseries, Dead Set.  And she said YES!  This is the best zombie show I’ve ever seen (my review is here), and Carrie is the first person I’ve met who has heard of it.  So, I was thrilled.  She signed three of my books, and when I told her that I’d seen a zombie sketch that she made for @Kris10Williams at her blog, My Friends Are Fiction, I requested (or demanded?) my own sketch.  Carrie kindly obliged.

Thank you to all of these amazing ladies for holding this event in support of their readers!  Hope to see you all on tour again!


28 Responses to “Beth Revis, Marie Lu, Marissa Meyer, Megan Shepherd, Victoria Schwab, and Carrie Ryan – All In One Place. Oh, and I was there, too.”

  1. Kristen Williams

    Yay! I’m so happy you got to go to this! Looks like it was a blast. I get so star-struck with the authors. I pretty much either stand in front of them sweating silently or I mumble some nonsense. I try to think what I’ll say while in line but I always forget! I am so pumped you got the zombie sketch! Isn’t it wonderful? Seriously wish my book had been chewed on. Next time 😀

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      The Carrie Ryan chewed-on book sounds like it’s going to be a popular request. It would be funny if people start asking her to pose eating their books, and she’s like, “Whaaaat?” 🙂

      I make myself ask a question from the audience to warm me up. But still, when I get in front of them, I feel awkward. I think they’re used to it because they are so sweet – they must get weird reactions all the time. I just want to do it more and more so it gets easier!


  2. Robyn Jones

    You’re a wonderful fan. You made their day for sure. I loved the whole write up. Thank goodness you got your phone working. I laughed when I saw your haul after you just mentioned how you weren’t going to lose control. Man, this event is so cool. Even though I’d like to think I’d be cool with my favorite author, I’m pretty sure I’d resemble a deer in the headlights, a painfully shy deer. You rock for taking those notes and sharing your experience with us!

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      You’re sweet, Robyn. Thank you! And yes – such a cool event. Every city/town had a chance to vie for this. The fact that small towns, and not big cities, won tells me that the whole towns must have pulled together to get this. And I’m happy for them. And yes, I’m very happy that it happened in a nearby town!

      You can tell that they try very hard to make everyone feel comfortable, and that makes me like them even more.


  3. Holly Bryan

    Oh. My. God. I think I’m going to be sick to my stomach. Seriously. How did I NOT KNOW this was happening in Shelby?!?! I’d been following this whole campaign and voted for the Triangle area, but what I saw when they released the list of places they were visiting did NOT have Shelby on it!!! I’m just over in Durham, and yes it would’ve been a drive but OMG it would’ve been so worth it!!! Waaaahhhhhhhh!!! God I am so painfully out of the loop it’s not funny!!

    I’m super thrilled for you that you got to go – no really, I am!! – and think it’s so cool that you got to meet Carrie Ryan, GAH!! I LOVE Forest of Hands and Teeth and I have an affection for her because she’s also a non-practicing lawyer like myself! I can’t believe she drew you a zombie sketch AND chewed on your book…you lucky dog!!!! Gosh, you must still be on cloud 9!! I’d be dizzy with excitement and high on adrenaline! Ahh, what I would’ve given to meet any ONE of these amazing women, much less ALL of them in one place!!

    I’ll be smiling on your behalf for the rest of the evening now. Right after I go throw up and then curl up in a ball on my bathroom floor bawling at the hideous unfairness of life… 😉

    Thanks for the recap post and great pics so I can live vicariously, and at least be happy for YOU!

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      Oh no, Holly!!!! I almost wish you hadn’t seen my post! I have no doubt you would have made the drive. I recently drove through hellacious traffic from Charlotte to Chapel Hill to see Maureen Johnson and Stephanie Perkins, and once my blood pressure decreased, it was so worth it.

      You’re right that Shelby was initially out of it. They came in third, but since it’s a close distance to the winning location, they drove over the following day. I must have gotten lucky and saw a Tweet about Shelby, because it was on my radar after that.

      And, oohh, I’m seriously tearing up a little on your behalf, because I know I would feel the same way!! I hope that I at least gave you a tiny bit of the experience of being there, even though I know it in no way compares. The good thing is you KNOW these authors will be in the area again, so there will be plenty of other opportunities!

      Let’s make a pact to keep each other posted on NC events! Now clean up the vomit, get off the bath mat, and treat yourself to something tasty. Or just a good book. 🙂


  4. rivie bleu

    That is so cool! So many comments to everything you said lol I don’t know where to start. I’m a little tired right now, so I don’t know how much I’ll forget before writing it down. Oh yeah, you don’t know sailor moon? Really? Why not? I thought it was really popular back, I don’t know when, 2000? 1998? I wasn’t a fan but my friend really liked it. Glad your camera worked! Thanks for thinking of us with the giveaway! Looks like so much fun! Didn’t know that about Day and June, interesting. I’m glad her boyfriend decided to make June a girl lol, what did she have in the picture? they look like cupcakes. Yeah, I don’t think I’d act cool near an author, they are like rock stars!

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      I think I may have heard the term Sailor Moon? But I could never have told you what it is. It wasn’t just knowing that Marie’s boyfriend had an impact on the book, but it also tells us a little bit about the writing process in general, etc. This is the stuff my inner book geek loves.


  5. Trish Hannon

    Sounds like great fun and of course you had to shop, it was the polite thing to do so no guilt allowed! Thanks for such a lengthy review, as it would have been a LITTLE far for me to travel, love that I could get to experience it through you 🙂 Well done on asking a question too, I know I would have been tongue tied!

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      Yes, just a BIT out of the way for you. 🙂 And yes, I’m all about politeness in the form of spending a lot of money on books! 🙂

      You wouldn’t have been afraid. Just have your question in mind, and as soon as they as, get your hand up! There are no bad questions. Just maybe questions they’ve all answered a million times. 🙂


  6. bookblogbake

    That is one room full of impressive authors! It must have been so much fun getting to listen to all of them/meet them/HAVE THEM SIGN BOOKS!! I love hearing about the Harry Potter houses too–I think it’s interesting Marissa Meyer said Cinder would be a Ravenclaw though(then again, she should know her characters better than me!). I don’t think I would have thought of that. Your pile of books looks AWESOME.

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      It was seriously great. Of course, it never lasts as long as we want. If I could spend as much time as I want talking one on one with them, I’d probably still be there now.

      Of my pile, the only ones I’ve read are Marie’, so I have a long way to go.


  7. Scott Pilgrim

    I probably would have had a heartattack if I was at this event! I do not lie. I have read and loved books by all of these authors (except Megan Shepard, I plan on reading The Madman’s Daughter ASAP!). I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE Carrie Ryan’s books and would have loved to meet her.

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      Would it be due to any author in particular, or just all of them in one place? Carrie was so COOL. I chatted with her the longest; we both live in Charlotte. And of course, we discussed our mutual zombie love.


  8. Florentine van Doornmalen

    Ahh, I can’t believe how lucky you are to have been present for this event! Unfortunately being momentarily stuck in ‘lil old Holland won’t get me anywhere near such an event. But thanks so much for your thorough detailed recap of the event, it really made me feel like I was going through it with you (you’re such a great writer!!:)

    Thanks a lot again and also for the fabulous giveaway!

    Florentine @ Readiculously Peachy

    • Go Flash Go - Read, Rinse, Repeat

      First, thank you for the lovely compliment, Ms. Peach! That is so sweet. I wanted to write it in a way that people felt like they were there, so I’m glad you felt that.

      What’s this about Holland? I thought you were in UK?


  9. Amanda

    I love the recap. I wish I had been there though I have only read Legend. Most of the other authors books are on my to be read list. It was interesting to learn the characters in June were based on Les Mis. I also draw a blank when talking to someone famous I admire. I have taken part in online chats and it takes me forever to come up with a comment.

  10. RIN

    Ahh! This sounds like so much fun! I love the Harry Potter houses question. It’s always so fun to see what people would say about that. I’d always thought I was either Hufflepuff or Gryffindor, but according to Pottermore, I’m a Slytherin! Which… I’ve started to take a liking to.

  11. Suz

    This sounds like a great event! You met some of my favorite authors! I would be nervous around authors because I think they’re like rock stars too! Thanks for sharing the great pics and so much detail! I almost felt like I was there…(sigh)

    Suz Reads

  12. Darlene

    I’ve never been to an author event (unfortunately, they don’t often come to our city), but it sure sounds and looks like a lot of fun!!

  13. Christina

    I’m so incredibly jealous right now. I LOVE LOVE LOVE author events. I’m lucky to have Antony John (author of Five Flavors of Dumb and Elemental) and Fiona Paul (author of Venom) as two very good author friends in town, but I definitely go to every event that I can go to.

    I totally know what you mean by having money fly out of the window once you see these authors. I get very star struck as well. So I try to plan ahead and if I haven’t read the books, I buy them all ahead on Amazon to try to save my wallet a little bit ahead of time (because if I already have them then I can’t get sucked in… right?????) Maybe. 😉

    There is an event coming up to my town hosting Antony John, Lauren Oliver, Lenore Appelhans, and Tamara Ireland Stone, and I CANNOT WAIT!!!

    Christina @ Ensconced in YA

  14. Jolene and Family

    I get super nervous when chatting with authors. I have only met 2 so far, Marissa Meyers being one and I am sure she thought I was mute when I clamed up and didn’t say a word when she asked me a question 🙂

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