Tuesday, May 3, 2011

LA Times Festival of Books

On Sunday I was lucky enough to be able to attend the LA Times Festival of Books. Here are pictures and anecdotes and whatnot:

The YA stage, while shade is still visible. Soon after this photo was taken, it was a bazillion degrees out, which is not nice when you are as pale as I am.

The first YA panel of the day was Powerful Pairs: Co-Writing Young Adult Fantasy, with the panelists being Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures) and Garth Nix and Sean Williams (Troubletwisters).

Things discussed on the panel included:
  • Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl write their books primarily by each writing a few chapters and then rewriting over each other before moving on, while Garth Nix and Sean Williams wrote largely by rewriting each others' drafts.
  • Garth Nix being stubborn about selling movie rights to his books because he wants some creative control so the movie does not end up as bad as The Dark is Rising, which I have not seen but have heard is awful.
That is all my brain can recall at the moment. Curse you, studying.

I have been reading Garth Nix's books since I was 11, so I was incredibly exciting to see him speak and get my books signed. While in line, the girl in front of me spotted my AP US history review book in my bag and we proceeded to have a "the College Board sucks but omg the Abhorsen series is so good!" conversation. The College Board: uniting people since 1900.

Garth Nix

The second panel was Believe in Yesterday: Historical Young Adult Fiction, featuring Judy M, Blundell (Strings Attached), Sherry Shahan (Purple Daze), Sherri L. Smith (Flygirl), and Cecil Castellucci (Rose Sees Red).

Things discussed included:
  • Sherry Shahan's book being inspired by the box of letters from her friend in the Vietnam War that she found, and Sherri L. Smith's being inspired after hearing an NPR piece on the WASP program in WWII.
  • Judy Blundell discussing how she discovered in research there were air raid drills being held in NYC during the 1950s, and that once she heard this, she had to set a scene of Strings Attached during one.
  • Little things like no phone cords in the 50s and such causing a bit of annoyance in writing because characters are not able to walk when on the phone.
  • It taking a while to find an editor/publisher willing to take on their novels, because marketing people often find historical novels a hard sell. Which made me sad, because I love historical fiction.

Sherry Shahan, Judy Blundell, Sherri L. Smith, Cecil Castellucci

After that, it was the Hard Truths: Writing Addiction for Teens panel, featuring Panelists: Ned Vizzini (It's Kind of a Funny Story), Blake Nelson (Recovery Road), and Lauren Strasnick (Her and Me and You).

Things discussed included:
  • The movie adaptations of It's Kind of a Funny Story and Blake Nelson's Paranoid Park. Both authors said they had hardly anything to do with the movies, but one of Ned Vizzini's shirts makes an appearance in the film, and 1/23 songs he sent the producers made it to the soundtrack. Anyone seen either of these movies?
  • Lauren Strasnick always remembering that her dad is going to read her books, while she attempts to write the more hardcore parts of her novels, which is just a very awkward thing to remember.
And I am blanking again. Probably not a good idea to write this while reviewing plant anatomy.

Ned Vizzini, Blake Nelson, and Lauren Strasnick

The last panel was Perfectly Paranormal: Writing the Fantastic, featuring Lisa McMann (Cryer's Cross), Alyson Noel (Shimmer), DJ MacHale (Morpheus Road: The Black), and Neal Shusterman (Everfound).

Things discussed included:
  • The setting of a place between life and death showing up in more and more books.
  • How third person works very well for some stories, but the authors wrote the books they read from in first person because it helps the story more personal and whatnot. First person for the win.
This panel was actually cut short, so I think I can be excused for not remembering much.

Neal Shusterman, DJ MacHale, Alyson Noel, Lisa McMann

After that panel was the LAYAPALOOZA game show, featuring many lovely authors, including Alexa Young (Frenemies) and Cherry Cheva (She's So Money). I forgot to take pictures of this event and there is not much to tell about it, but the team I was on, Team Holden (I think) won. Go us. I also got to speak with the aforementioned Alexa Young and Cherry Cheva after the game was over, and from our conversation I can conclude that the Frenemies movie will be something...special.


  1. aww it looks like so much fun! I wanna go to one of these events someday... lovely recap :)
    and wow, I swear I'm the only one who hasn't read Garth Nix :o

  2. I am glad you had fun. I ended up not going and having a full day up here in Santa Barbara

  3. Sounds like interesting event and fun. How many authors were there, I wonder!

    Book Dilettante