Happy book festival season! I started off mine in the good ole city of Nashville with the Southern Festival of Books. SFOB was the first book festival I ever went to four years ago, and I swear, it was like God had sent me a weekend made just for me. It was filled with a HUGE book tent and authors, my role models, galore! Normally, I try to pack in a full schedule, but this year, I was a little bit more relaxed.
Saturday, we heard Ann Patchett, author and owner of Parnassus books, interview the successful novelist Beverly Lowry about her new book exploring the Yogurt Shop Murders in Austin, Texas. I haven't read this book, but if Ann Patchett is singing its praises, I feel like its worth a read.
Jolina Petersheim, author of The Outcast, and Libby Ware, author of Lum, served on a panel together talking about Mennonite and Melungeons in literature. All of Jolina's books take place in the Mennonite community, and Lum intersects with the Melungeon community. Jolene's newest book The Alliance questions what will happen to the Mennonite community people when modern society collapses and they go back to old ways. Will they survive because of their simple way of life or will they die because of their passivity?
We finished Saturday in a Fantasy panel with Victoria (V.E.) Schwa, Maria Dahvana Headley, and Martina Boone, who are, respectively, the authors of This Savage Song among more, Magonia among more, and The Heirs of Watson Island series. Apparently, they didn't have a plan going into the panel, but they ended up with one of the best discussions I've ever had the pleasure of sitting in on. They discussed the very idea of fantasy, female heroines in YA fantasy and their tendency to be very Joan of Arkish, which, let's be honest, how many 16 year olds are self sacrificing? It was a fabulous discussion that broke down walls and barriers and stereotypes, and I felt like I was in a room of genius. A great way to end the day! Also, Maria Dahvana Headley had the best book-dress I've ever seen.
Sunday, I'm not embarrassed to say, was all about Maggie Stiefvater. We got to the library early to get good seats for her talk, and let me tell you, she's one of the best speakers I've ever heard, not just in the author world. She uses the stage, is dramatic yet real, and truly pulls you into her world. It was absolutely fantastic and hilarious and perfect. I had my complete stack of the Raven Cycle for her to sign, and I told her about how I threw the last book of Shiver across the room because I was so pissed about the ending. She was not sorry, but I loved her reaction. I wouldn't be sorry either. That's how I felt when a reader told me that about Ascension.
We finished the day in the best way possible--vandalizing her car Theif. Now don't worry, she was present for this vandalization. She even provided the spray paint and told us that we were doing this for the sake of individuality. And...she's gonna drive her kids to school in this car through the Election. Mwahaha.
If you haven't yet traveled to a book festival in your life, I HIGHLY encourage you to go. I can't recommend it enough. I'm serious. Just go.
Here's some great quotes and advice I picked up in the panels this weekend from our fabulous authors:
"Everyone should have a journal--just write your life story." - Jolina Petersheim
"I write about the lines between things." - V.E. Schwab
"Within the impossible parts of life, there is glitter." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"Science is magic we've learned how to explain." - Martina Boone
"Fantasy is an armor we can wear while facing difficult topics." - V.E. Schwab
"Moral gray is such a pretty color." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"I use language as spice not as substance. Language makes the world." - V.E. Schwab
"I think show-don't-tell is the most incorrect rule ever." - Martina Boone
"I have a serious objection to write-what-you-know." - Maria Dahvana Headley
"Write what you want to read. You will always be your greatest champion." - V.E. Schwab
"I'm a writing thief. I steal people and places." - Maggie Stiefvater