Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Michigan Author Event Recap + Giveaway

So guys, on the 14th I was able to attend the Michigan Author Event in Saginaw! This isn't the first author signing I've gone to, as I've attended all of my mom's and other self-published local authors around the area. But this is the first event I've attended where there were traditionally published authors from BIG houses: one of them who has written a popular YA Greek mythology series and the other a newly published author whose debut novel came out on June 10th.

This is Michigan, and this rarely happens. Unless I've been living like a hermit and not paying attention over the years, which could very well be the problem. But as it happens, our state is not a popular one, so we never get authors from big publishing houses. Marissa Meyer, of The Lunar Chronicles, was here in February for her Cress tour. And I could swear there have been a few more, but honestly, it's all slipped my mind. Anyway, I've been paying close attention the last year, and there haven't been many author signings. And if I do hear of one, like Marissa Meyer's, I'm unable to attend. Either because of school, because it's too far away, or because I have no one to go with. 

I've also been paying close attention to the authors themselves! I get super excited when I learn that a traditionally published author is from Michigan. I'm not tearing down self-published and local authors at all! As my mom is one, they all make me realize that, even if I never get signed, I can take matters into my own hands and make my dreams come true. That failure in the traditional way wouldn't be the end of the world. But, as an aspiring author, it's inspirational to hear of people in my own state making it. Ya know? Even if their publishing houses aren't as big as others, or not as many people have heard of them, it still inspires me to keep writing. To keep trying. To not hold myself back from making this dream come true.

So when I first learned that Bethany Neal, author of My Last Kiss, was a Michigan native, I figured she would have some signings around the state. And she did! I've been tracking this book since I first heard of it, and I've been eager to read it. When I asked mom if Saginaw's Barnes and Noble would be a fairly easy drive to make (considering it's an hour and forty-five minutes away), she agreed to go with me! I was definitely not going to drive there on my own, especially since I've never been to the city. It was a long drive, but so worth it! I want to attend more events like this! :) 


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Authors who attended:
Bethany Neal, author of  My Last Kiss 
Wally Miars, author of Alone Together
Robin Devereaux-Nelson, author of In Violet's Wake
Jim Rule, author of Letting Go of Forever

Unfortunately Aimee Carter, author of the Goddess Test and The Blackcoat Rebellion series, was unable to attend the event due to a family emergency. 

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The first author I met was Bethany Neal! She was the sweetest person ever! She took the time to get to know everyone and take pictures. She personalized everyone's copy as if they were her best friends. Haha, and she calls her books her babies because they take her about 9 months to complete. :)

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The rest of the time, my mom and I chilled in the little coffee shop area, waiting for Aimee Carter, who had yet to arrive. I wandered around and found a ton of books to buy, of course. But I told myself I couldn't, at least not until I knew whether Aimee was still going to sign her books. Mom wandered over to the other authors and checked out their books. None of them interested me, but I'm glad they had a nice turnout as well. As it stands, my mom and I spent an hour hanging around before we asked the people at B&N about her, and they told us she had a family emergency and wouldn't be attending. Other than not being told about the cancellation, the event was run smoothly and was very casual.

I was sad that I didn't get to meet Aimee, but I had SO MUCH FUN! I got to meet Bethany Neal, and even though I haven't read her book, I still fangirled. Which made me socially awkward (not that I am already) and I totally forgot all the questions I wanted to ask her. Guys, authors are like my rock stars. I don't go to author events (especially ones like this), ever, so I wasn't sure how this one would go. And I'm also a pretty shy person who finds it hard to make small talk. So, I asked Bethany on Twitter if I could ask her some questions about her book for my recap, and she agreed!

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Interview!

Hi Bethany! Welcome to Part of that World, and thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy life to answer some questions. :)
No problem! It was so wonderful to meet you and to hear about your own writing. I love talking about writing with writers, obviously.

Can you describe My Last Kiss in a tweet?
MY LAST KISS follows ghost-teen Cassidy as she struggles to uncover the mystery surrounding her death & which of her friends is responsible.

Can you describe Cassidy in a tweet?
Cassidy is a ghost with amnesia who seemingly had the perfect life, but her death forces her to face the consequences of one flawed decision

Where did the idea for this story come from?
I got the idea for MY LAST KISS from a Metric sing called ‘Help I’m Alive’. The idea of being alive as a problem, something you need help for, got the cogs in my crazy head turning.

My Last Kiss is a little on the darker side. In my experience, most young adult novels tend to stray from the more sensitive subjects and grittier material (or they have warning labels because of the content). Do you think it’s still important to write these stories, even if they are heavier and even if the audience consists of young readers? (I’m curious about this because I know a lot of people who have differing opinions on what content is appropriate for this age group).
I absolutely think it’s important to publish books that push the limits of what we, as a society, are comfortable with. Especially making them available to teens—teen girls in particular is vital. I feel like a lot of the hoopla about “banned books” and all that is centered around the fact that most YA readers are female, and society unfortunately still holds the stigma that girls are fragile and can’t handle tough subject matter or, worse, shouldn't be allowed to. Can we please move into the 21st century!
Books are a safe place to explore scary topics like death and substance abuse or self-harm and broken homes and sex. If we raise our kids to ignore these topics or avoid reading about them, they’ll never learn what to do when they’re faced with them in the real world. Fiction is like a practice round to prepare yourself for what you would do if this terrible thing happened to you. Without it, kids and teens are thrown into the ring with no training whatsoever. Okay, getting down from my soapbox now.

Are you the type of author who plans everything out and follows an outline? Or do you let your characters take you where you need to go?
I don’t outline before I start writing. Part of the fun of writing for me is listening to the characters and experiencing the journey along with them. That being said, once I complete a first draft I go back and outline off the draft to make sure the pace of the story and the character arcs are behaving the way they should. I move/add scenes in a second draft once I pinpoint any problems that the outline reveals. Then I revise one more time before editing and sending the manuscript to my agent. Sometimes she asks me to revise as well. Writing is rewriting!

What are you currently working on?
A really spooky YA novel that I wish I could share more details about! Hopefully soon I will be able to.

Fun one: Michigan or Michigan State? Choose wisely! ;)
I’m probably the only Michigander ever to not have an opinion on the Michigan vs. State debate, but I honestly hold no allegiance to either university because I went to college out of state.

Thank you again for letting me interview you for my blog! It was so nice meeting you, and I’m really excited to read your book. :)
Thanks, Holly! You’re such a sweetheart for coming out to see me and supporting MY LAST KISS. I hope to see you at future signings. Good luck with your own writing! 

Excellent answers, and such a safe one when it came to the Michigan vs. State debate. ;) I love how she answered my content and YA question. I think pushing the limits is what should be done. And hey, I started reading adult novels, like Nora Roberts, in high school. So, I guess I'm more on the side that says teens are able to handle these sensitive subjects. We don't give them nearly enough credit. 

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I'm glad my mom and I stayed for as long as we did, even though Aimee never showed up. It was such a laid back, casual atmosphere. People wandered the bookstore, went to the back and met the authors, stood around talking or sharing a snack and coffee in the cafe. Reading, sitting at their laptops. I even saw one guy sketching. Mom and I got to sit around and just chat, which we don't do nearly enough. And she knows a lot more about what I do as a blogger because of it. I don't share Part of that World with anyone, except you guys! Even though I don't really talk about myself on here, it's still personal because I'm writing about my thoughts and feelings. But it's nice having someone, like my mom, know about it. I also picked up the complete collection of Edgar Allan Poe's works for only $8. It was such a steal, I couldn't resist. And oh my gosh, you should have seen the look on my mom's face when I bought it! But hey, I love his stories and poems. I love reading stuff a little on the darker side. ;)

And because I was so excited about My Last Kiss, I decided to grab another copy to give to someone who like their stories just a little bit darker too. :)

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***GIVEAWAY!!!***

HAPPY GIVEAWAY!!! :)

The Fine Print:
  • You must be 16 years or older to enter.
  • If you cheat on any entry, all entries will be deleted. The last giveaway I had, quite a few people had their entries deleted. I'd like to think they didn't cheat on purpose, SO PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR ENTRIES!
  • There will be ONE winner! Winner will be chosen randomly through rafflecopter and emailed on July 6th.
  • Winner will have 72 hours to respond to email, or new winner will be chosen.
  • But alas, because this is a hardcover, this is a US ONLY giveaway! So, so sorry international followers! I hate excluding you guys because of where you live. :( But the winner must have a US address.
  • As always, have fun and good luck! :)

37 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had a good time! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  2. It was so great meeting you, Holly. Thanks for driving all that way just to see me and my babies--er, I mean books. :)

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    1. I've said this a lot, but it was so nice meeting you. And the drive was definitely worth it! :)

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  3. Authors are my rock stars too. I don't go to events like this very often, but it's always cool when I do. It's great that you got to meet Bethany! And even though Aimee wasn't able to make it, I'm glad you had a great time. I can't wait to check out My Last Kiss. :)

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    1. I had such a great time! I so hope to attend more events like these in the future. :)

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  4. AWESOME HOLLY!!!! I live in Ohio and not too many author events come through here either (though more and more seem to come each year which makes me crazy happy), so I get absurdly excited when I hear of a event I can actually make it too. And lucky you to get to meet Bethany! I adored My Last Kiss:) Thanks so much for sharing the recap and interview!!!

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    1. It seems that a lot of the Midwest states don't get authors, like yours and mine. That's awesome that more authors are coming to OH! I hope you're able to go to more events. And yay, that makes me even more excited to read it! :)

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  5. This sounds like it was a lot of fun and I am so excited for you that you were able to attend!

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  6. oooh lucky!! This looks like so much fun :) Glad you enjoyed it! "My Last Kiss" sounds really good.

    New GFC follower :D

    Rachel @A Perfection Called Books

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    1. Doesn't it? I can't wait to read it! And thanks for following. :)

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  7. Bethany seems like such a sweet person! I'm so happy for you that you got to attend this event and meet her. :D Also, I completely feel you. Although I live in California, which is where you'd *think* all the cool bookish events would be, the events are usually 2 hours + away from my house, and considering the fact that I don't drive yet, it's reaaally hard to convince someone to take me "just to see an author" (muggles these days ;)). Anyway, I'm so jelly and glad that you got to see so many amazing authors!

    P.S. I totally agree with what you said ->>> "teens are able to handle these sensitive subjects." ^_^

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    1. Heh, just saw your Rafflecopter question. I have to say it was when I met LAINI TAYLOR twice in two days (once at the LA times festival of books, and the next day at B&N) and, needless to say, I died from fangirling. I also met Lauren Oliver which was pretty damn awesome.

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    2. Aw, thank you Summer! Also, totally okay. As long as you leave a comment, you don't have to follow the Rafflecopter questions exactly. ;) And oh my gosh, that is SO COOL that you got to meet Laini Taylor! I love her Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy so much!!! I've never read any of Lauren Oliver's books, but I plan to soon.

      I'll be paying more attention this year with bookish events, and hopefully my mom will let me drag her along again. :)

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  8. Thanks for the giveaway!

    I think my favorite had to be the panel with Cassie Clare, Holly Black, David Levathin, Maureen Johnson, and Kelly Link for the midnight release of Cassie's City of Heavenly Fire or all the fabulous authors I got the opportunity to meet at BookCon!! I'm glad you enjoyed this one, and sorry you didn't get to see Aimee ):

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    1. Oh wow, that is one INCREDIBLE lineup! So awesome you got to meet all of them. :)

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  9. I have gone to seen two authors for myself: Richelle Mead and Maggie Stiefvater, one for my grandpa and I helped with one when I interned with a bookshop.

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    1. Oh, that is so cool that you got to meet Maggie Stiefvater!!! Her Raven Cycle series is one of my favorites. :)

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  10. That's so awesome; it looks like you had loads of fun! I've only been to one author event and it was Jodi Picoult's, but it was super cool because I love her YA book Between the Lines. :)

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    1. Aw, that's awesome! I've never actually read her books, but I do have My Sister's Keeper (a totally heartbreaking movie). :)

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  11. The event sounds like it was really fun. :) I'd love to meet those authors. I've never gone to an author event before but I might be meeting Rainbow Rowell in July!

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    1. Oh, I so hope you get to go to the event! Meeting authors is so much fun. :)

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  12. Have never got to go to an author event :-( live to far from any decent sized cities.

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    1. That's my problem too! The big city that gets author is an hour away, but I never have the chance to go.

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  13. Hi! We don't have many author events where I live but I've been attending blog tours and am a reviewer so my favorite tour just ended. ZombieBlog Tour 2014 on FB. Won some awesome books and got to talk to my fav authors and friend them :). Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Oh, that is so awesome! And you're welcome. Good luck! :)

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    2. I missed that one. I did the Cruel Summer tour on fb which was all zombie books but I didn't win any.

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    3. Those sound like fun. I should check them out.

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    4. Yes I keep finding new authors and friends by finding blog tours :) but I have my own blog and I just started it.

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  14. I have been to an author event before! I would have to say my favorite so far was to meet the Fierce Reads authors at a festival in Maryland. It was amazing to meet them in person! :)

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    1. Ooh, that sounds like such a fun event! And I love a few of the authors who are doing that tour. That is so awesome, Michelle! :)

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  16. No, I never been to an author event. I will definitely attend some later on in the future.

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    1. They are so much fun! Good luck! :)

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  17. I never been in author event :( but i want it!!! :DD

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