Last weekend I went to the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas and met some amazing authors! It was a beautiful (and a bit cold) weekend (at least by Texas standards) and it was absolutely fantastic! Authors spoke in panels in the capitol chambers, and blocks of streets around the capitol grounds were closed off for 2 days while tents full of books were displayed. Hundreds of authors of all genres came together to talk, meet people, and sign books–and there were thousands of books! I cannot convey how absolutely wonderful it was. I mean, I tend to go to book stores when I’m stressed, but this is like taking a Prozac–relaxation to the max!
On Saturday, I attended an author’s panel with Cinda Williams Chima (Seven Realms), Kristin Cashore (Graceling), and Jasper Fforde (The Last Dragonslayer). The panel was called “Fantasy Gets Real” and they talked about why fantasy is fantastic, the process of world building. Cinda talked about how she actually started the Seven Realms novels as an adult fantasy and drew inspiration from George R. R. Martin’s ambiguous characters. She talked about how she doesn’t outline when she writes, and that’s why the Seven Realms “Trilogy” actually ended up being 4 books. (Can I just say that I’m extremely grateful that she doesn’t outline? The Crimson Crown was amazing!) I actually met Cinda, and she was very sweet, and she signed my book!
Later that evening, I went to a panel called the “Dear Teen Me” where authors read letters they wrote to their teenage selves. It was hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time, as authors poked fun at their younger selves but also said encouraging words concerning distressing and life-changing moments they went through during adolescence. The panel was based off a book that just came out that is actually called “Dear Teen Me” by E. Kristin Anderson and includes letters from over 80 different authors. I highly recommend checking out the book! (I believe there are even pictures of some of the authors as teenagers.)
The next day, I went to another panel where authors David Levithan (Every Day, The Lover’s Dictionary, + more), Hilary Weisman Graham (debut novel Reunited), and Michelle Hodkin (The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer). Afterward, I met David Levithan when he signed my books, and he was sooo nice! It was such a great weekend and I met some of the most amazing authors (and added a LOT of books to my to-read list)! If you ever get the chance to go to the Texas Book Festival, or any other book festival in your area, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s the most fun I’ve had in ages 🙂