(Lauren Zurchin) This week, while BEA is happening, New York City is alive with a plethora of other events all around town. One of them was the Teen Author Carnival, which took place in a SoHo branch of the New York City library. Twenty-five authors came to talk and autograph and generally visit with fans and supporters.
There were four different panels, so while Jackie (who is interested in martial arts) went to the kick-ass female character panel, I went across the hall to the panel titled Otherworldly Adventures, With a Bit of the Real World Thrown In.
The six authors on the panel were Leah Clifford (A Touch Mortal), Scott Tracey (Witch Eyes), Michael Northrop (Trapped), Nova Ren Suma (Imaginary Girls), E. Archer (Geek Fantasy Novel), and Carrie Jones (Need). They started off by talking briefly about their books, which I found interesting as I had only heard of half of them, and new even less about their books. The two moderators took turns with the questions, which were more interesting and creative than the typical panel questions. What was the last book they read? Put their characters in it and tell us what they’d do. If the Zombie Apocalypse happened and you had the chance to write one more book, what would it be called? What are your rituals? What would you say in a letter to your younger self? Answers ranged across the board, and there was definitely a lot of laughing to be had. Honestly, the topic veered off course for most of the time, but it was still interesting talking with the authors and hearing what they had to say.
The second panel was newbie authors talking about their books and the road to publication. They ranged from working on books for over seventeen years to lucking out after only a few months. But overall the story was the same: work hard and don’t give up.
At the end during the book signing we got the chance to chat with the authors and we have seven interviews lined up. We’ll go into this more in the future, but trust us, it’s going to be exciting.
(Jackie Krah) Oh man. I’m stuck in YA world. Seriously. I have nothing against the genre, it’s just not the thing that induces me into a nerd-swoon. But I have to say that the teen author carnival at the Mulberry Street Library, one of the NY City Library branches, was pretty darn cool.
I willingly went to support YA guru Lauren. (She tempted me into attendance by advertising that the one panel was titled “Kick Ass Females and Why it’s a Big Deal to Have Them.” Yeah, that’s more my style there.)
I’m always amazed by the equal amounts of adults and kids in attendance at these things. As I filed in, I was by far not the oldest person in the room. The panel authors took their seats and I was interested to see that they were all women and most of them were in their 20s. While this was not a specific fantasy and sci/fi genre event, most of the panel also had some sort of paranormal aspect to their novels. Let’s face it. Paranormal is hot right now, especially when coupled with that ever-so-popular romance genre.
Here’s the panel:
- Huntress – Malinda Lo
- Nightshade – Andrea Cremer
- Circle of Fire – Michelle Zink
- Angelfire – Courney Allison Moulton
- The Year We Were Famous – Carole Estby Dagg
- As I Wait – Elizabeth Scott
- The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin
- Like Mandarin – Kristen Hubbard
So what did they mean by “kick ass”… For some of these books, like Angelfire and Nightshade the term was very literal. Blood, gore, and weapons galore. Nightshade is, in short, about a female “alpha wolf” and Angelfire focuses on the “journey to kicking ass.” (As put by their authors)
Others, like Like Mandarin (not paranormal), the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and The Year we Were Famous (not paranormal) are more about women overcoming great obstacles, shoving aside others opinions of how they “should be” and being the version of themselves that makes them the most happy.” The panel impressively decided that no one is born kicking ass. Kicking ass happens through a progression of choices to recognize, yet overcome fear and do what is the best path for the character.
Interestingly, in such instances many of these authors didn’t stop to think about the fact that they were writing about kick ass women. As Kristen Hubbard said, these books are about girls becoming a little more certain of who they are and ready to take on the world.
The questions asked to this panel were insightful and thought provoking. So therefore let me leave you with one of the questions that I found the most interesting. (We will be doing this a lot as we go to these different panels this week and hear great debate-worthy questions.)
As I said, there were a lot of grown women in this room. One such adult audience member stood and addressed the panel. As a fan of YA herself, she wanted to know “What attracts adults to the Young Adult Genre?”
As an adult who is not particularly attracted to YA, I’d love to know the answer to that. The panel answered with responses such as “there is just a lot of great writing going on in YA right now” and “being kick ass is universal and not just for teenagers” but the response I liked the best was, “a good book is a good book.”
So what do YOU think?