So I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Festival of Books for the first time. You would think, having lived near Nashville for years, I would have attended the festival sooner. But no.
And I don't know why I waited so long!
There were so many people, so many authors and awesome panels, that I had difficulty choosing which ones to attend. In the end, I attended three panels and got tons of books signed over the course of two days.
Day 1: 10/12/2012
I couldn't attend the first day of the festival, but I did go to the Author/Blogger dinner with awesome people like Kat Zhang, Bethany Griffin, Ruta Sepetys, Amanda Havard, Lauren @ The Housework Can Wait, Shalena, Hannah Courtney, and more! There were 20 PEOPLE in attendance.
Day 2: 10/13/2012
I went with my cousin. Our mission: to attend the panel with Sarah J. Maas.
Two months ago, when Sarah told me she was coming to the Southern Festival of Books, I FREAKED OUT. I had long given up any hope of meeting Sarah in person, and now she was actually coming to Nashville. Of all places.
My cousin and I arrived a little early, so I had to wait outside the panel room. There was another panel going on.
Then I looked up and saw Sarah Maas, CJ Redwine, and Kat Zhang.
I didn't think. I got up and hugged Sarah (which seems awkward now that I think back on it, since Sarah's hands were full). And when it was time for the panel to start, I snagged a front-row seat.
The panel was super awesome and informative. All three talked about why they wrote fantasy, how rules are important to any fantasy world, and how fantasy is very much about the main character's journey. Star Wars was brought up a lot, and the argument was made by all three panelists that it was more fantasy than sci-fi. Which makes sense, now that I think about it. Each also talked about finding their place in the world of publication, and the struggles they deal with as authors. All three gushed about their favorite fantasy works, and how fantasy is starting to become an "in" thing, thanks to Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones.
After an hour and a half, the panel was over and I went to the singing collandade to get my books signed. Here is a picture of me, my cousin, and the lovely Sarah:
Once I got my books signed, I headed back to attend the Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian panel. It was late, but I was there long enough to hear the two talk about bullying, and their writing process (specifically, how they balanced co-writing and writing their own books). After the panel, I stood in line to get my books signed.
Originally, I planned to see Bethany Griffin and Amanda Havard, but I was hungry. My cousin and I met up with Sarah Maas at one of the street venders and we hand lunch together, with Kat Zhang and Lauren @ The Housework Can Wait. It was the highlight of my day, spending quality time with two authors I admire.
Then all five of us bumped into Ruta Sepetys, and we talked with Sharon Cameron. Both are super nice, and super encouraging.
Unfortunately, I had to cut my day short when I got news that my mother was in the hospital. She was in car accident (not her fault), but she's okay. Just hurting. The CT scan was negative, and she was eventually discharged that afternoon.
Thank you Sarah, Kat, and Lauren for your concern. It meant a lot.
And here are two pictures of Sharon Creech, author of some of my favorite childhood books:
Day 3: 10/14/2012
Guys. I met Catherynne Valente! She's the author of the Fairyland books, and if you haven't read them, do it! Now! Her books are magical, whimsical, and full of meaning. All three on the panel talked about their favorite childhood books, and how sometimes those books lose charm when you read them as adults. It was also interesting how everyone agreed that reading aloud to kids was powerful. In addition, they also discussed differences in their writing process for children. And all three talked about their book's illustrations. It was super fun and informative!
And here I am with Catherynne!
And, I didn't have time to attend the panel, but here I am with Kami Garcia and Margaret Sthol:
It was such a fun weekend. And yes, my mother's car wreck dampened my mood slightly, but I can't deny that it was fun meeting all these authors. I'm hoping next year's festival will be even more awesome.