Last month while I was on hiatus I went to the Boston Teen Author Festival (which is actually in Cambridge, but we won’t be too picky) and it was SUPER FUN!! It was my first bookish event that I’ve ever actually gone to, and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew this one wasn’t exactly “huge” so it seemed like a good place to start, and overall it was a positive experience.
The day was supposed to start at 9:30, but I had basketball practice so I got there late (ugh) and wasn’t able to make the first two panels of the day. It also meant that I didn’t get a goodie bag of free stuff *sob* since by 1:00 they had already run out of everything (or else I was just looking in the wrong spot, who knows).
Anyways, at 1:15 I went to my very first panel. I only got lost twice on the way there, which wasn’t bad for me, and I managed to show up 5 minutes early, also impressive for me. My first panel was Their Dark Materials, which featured dark fantasy authors Traci Chee, Rin Chupeco, Amanda Foody, and Lindsey Miller. It was all about writing “dark” fantasy and what that’s like/why you do it/what their books are about and all their inspo.
The main reason I went to this panel was to see Rin Chupeco in person because The Bone Witch was SO AMAZING (see review) that I felt like it would be bad not to go see her while I had the chance. Plus, because I read an eARC of TBW, I don’t own a physical copy for her to sign, and I would have felt badly just asking for a photo when I’d never bought the book, so it was my only chance.
I have to say, though, that the other authors completely won me over during the panel, and I plan on reading all of their books ASAP. I follow Amanda Foody on Twitter and really liked her, but I’d never heard of Traci or Lindsey before. They were all so funny and down to earth and just generally super cool people and I wanted to be friends with all of them.
The panel as a whole was really interesting– FUN FACT, Amanda makes spreadsheets of darkness levels in her books and I’m honestly really geeking out about that, I want to see them SO BADLY. The biggest thing that I took away from the panel was that you have to make sure you balance out the darkness with light parts/romance/humor, or else you’ll scare everyone away. Also, authors don’t get to pick their own titles. Why? because publishers know better clearly (LOL)
After that, I had a 10 minute break to find my way to my 2nd, and last, panel of the day. This one was called Lens Crafters, and had Victoria Aveyard, Cinda Williams Chima, Tara Sim, and Lisa Maxwell.
I’m super mad at myself because I knew Kourtni was going to be there (which is 1/4 of the reason I went to that particular panel) and I think I saw her there but I was too nervous that it wasn’t actually her and so I didn’t say anything and asdfghjkl I’m so dumb I regret it so much.
But anyways…. Lens Crafters was essentially all about POV and how it affects your storyline, how to choose POVs and multiple POVs, and everything remotely related to that. My reason for going? Victoria Aveyard was there and her Twitter is super cool. Also it was a 3 way tie for panels and this one was probably going to be most useful to my own writing, so I went to this one. (also the 1/4 factor that Kourtni was there).
Honestly, I’m not sure if any of these authors introduced themselves because I don’t remember who is who besides Victoria, but I really liked them all!!!! They had some great advice about working with alternating POVs, and honestly I just loved hearing how they chose because I’m thinking about making one of my novels multiple POV and I’m not sure how I choose which chapter to do each person.
I’m still fangirling so hard about the fact that I actually met all of these authors and sat there listening to them talk on a Saturday afternoon. I know for half of y’all this is an everyday occurrence and big authors just flock to your blogs, but I’m super in shock.
After that panel, it was time for book signing!!! Since I got there late, I hadn’t actually bought any book yet, so I had to go wait in line to get them. I was super torn between:
- The Bone Witch
- Daughter of the Burning City
- Mask of Shadows
- Red Queen
- The Girl with the Red Balloon
- When Dimple Met Rishi
(I really wanted all of them, and then more, but I’m on a budget here and was determined to stick to it)
I ended up with just two, WDMR and Red Queen, which I chose both because I wanted to talk to the authors and because I reallllyyyy want to read them. Like really badly.
After I bought them, I had to wait in yet another line to get them signed. Once again, I was super awkward, recognized a blogger from Twitter but couldn’t place her name (still can’t) and so didn’t say anything at all. Ugh I’m disgusting.
When I got to meet Sandhya Menon (author of WDMR) I was the most awkward person ever because I was fangirling so hard. Legit I don’t know if I said anything because I was so excited to finally meet her. She’s one of the few authors who has responded to me via Twitter and so that made it extra awesome. Of course, I didn’t tell her that, because I was a mess. But I now have a signed copy!!!!!!
Next was the line for Victoria. I actually had a normal human interaction with a couple of people while I waited, which was awesome because I’ve always known that I’m human, and so to have it proven was a big deal. When it was my turn to get my book signed, I had sort of a conversation which ended up causing me to sound more stupid than normal… let me relate:
Victoria: “I feel so short right now”
Me: “I’m sorry… *weird pause*… I always feel way too tall”
Victoria: “No, you want to be tall, trust me”
Me: “I don’t know about that! I’ll give you a few inches” *thanks her and quickly ends interaction*
like… I don’t even know what just happened but bottom line is I’m a mess of a person.
I’m super hype to read both of these books, but since I haven’t read anything in approximately 3 months it might be a while.
After the signing, I left because I had a 1.5 mile walk home and homework to do, which meant that I couldn’t stick around for any longer than absolutely necessary.
My first book fest ever was amazing, and now I’m really super looking forward to another one.
Did you go to BTAF17? Which authors would you have gotten to sign your books? Do you think I’m incredibly awkward also?
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