Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Awesome Book Event! Wordstock!

We spent Sunday at the Wordstock Festival in Portland, and it was tons of fun!  There were several fantastic author panels and lots of cool activities for children.  Our kids had a great time creating books of their own, and I had an awesome time attending YA panels and visiting with a few authors after their presentations.  We can't wait to attend Wordstock again next year!  :-)

YA panel recaps (including a few photos & several videos):

Becca Fitzpatrick and L.K. Madigan

L.K. Madigan discussed both of her novels, Flash Burnout and The Mermaid's Mirror, and read an excerpt from each of them.  She also shared some excellent writing advice, talked about her own writing process, and even passed around a short story she wrote (and illustrated) about mermaids when she was in elementary school.  I adore L.K., and it was wonderful to catch up with her again.  VIDEO #1:  In which she talks about her writing process & VIDEO #2: In which she reads the prologue of The Mermaid's Mirror.
Becca Fitzpatrick discussed both of her book covers and shared behind-the-scenes photos of the Hush, Hush and Crescendo cover shoots.  She talked about her writing process and shared some details about her path to publication.  I didn't realize she had originally written Hush, Hush as a stand-alone novel and not as the first in a series.  She also shared a bit about the challenges she encountered in writing Crescendo, which included deleting around 400 pages and changing the villain.  VIDEO #1:  The evolution of the Hush, Hush cover from concept to completion & VIDEO #2:  A behind-the-scenes look at the Crescendo cover.

April Henry talked about Girl, Stolen, mentioned the series of novels she co-writes with Lis Wiehland shared a lot of fun details about the types of research she has done for her books.  It was fascinating to hear about some of the news stories that have inspired her work and to hear about the types of research she did to prepare for Girl Stolen, which is about a blind girl who is inadvertently kidnapped by a carjacker.  After hearing about the wide variety of research she has done over the years (including attending Writer's Police Academy and learning how to place a harness on a guide dog while blindfolded), I asked her if there are any stories she'd like to write just to give her a reason to do a particular type of research.  She responded that writing a story inspired by the Natalee Holloway case might give her the opportunity to spend some time in Aruba.  VIDEO:  In which April reads the first  chapter of Girl, Stolen.

I missed author/illustrator Nancy Coffelt's presentation about Listen, but I enjoyed talking with her after the panel and I am excited to check out her picture books and to read the YA novel she is working on right now.  She is currently writing and illustrating a YA novel about an artistic teenage girl who takes a road trip across the country with her best friend after inheriting a car from a man who lived in the nursing home where she has been working.  When the girl finds the elderly man's sketchbook/journal from the 1930's in the car, she decides to recreate his sketchbook by following his path across the country and creating her own drawings inspired by his work.  Isn't that a great premise?  It sounds like a challenging story to write and illustrate since Nancy is writing in two very different voices and sketching from two very different perspectives.  I look forward to reading it.

Joëlle Anthony and Cecil Castellucci

Joëlle Anthony discussed her debut novel, Restoring Harmony, and read two excerpts from the book.  Joëlle used to live in Portland and part of Restoring Harmony is set in the Portland area, so it was interesting to hear about the way familiar landmarks played a roll in the book.  She also shared a bit about how music and the idea of living a self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle influenced the story.  And she spoke briefly about her upcoming YA project, The Right & The Real, which is about a teenage girl whose father throws her out of the house when she refuses to join the cult he has gotten involved with.  When her father ends up in trouble, it is up to her to rescue him.  VIDEO:  In which Joëlle reads an excerpt from Restoring Harmony.

Cecil Castellucci read her lovely picture book, Grandma's Gloves, and shared a chapter from her new YA novel, Rose Sees Red.  She talked about the inspiration behind Grandma's Gloves and discussed her collaborative experiences writing the Plain Jane graphic novels. Our kids enjoyed her panel, and she was very kind about fielding their questions after her presentation.  When we stopped by Cecil and Joelle's table to have our books signed after the panel, they were both very sweet about letting our six year old read the little book she had just written to them, and Cecil told us about two short stories she has coming up in YA anthologies soon.  The first is a vampire story in Teeth: Vampire Tales (which is due out in April 2011) and the second is a post-apocalyptic story which will be part of an upcoming dystopian anthology.  Can't wait to read those!  VIDEO:  In which Cecil reads a chapter of Rose Sees Red.

Carson Ellis illustrated Lemony Snicket's The Composer is Dead, Trenton Lee Stewart's The Mysterious Benedict Society, and Florence Heide's Dillweed's Revenge.  She read Dillweed's Revenge and discussed that book's interesting history.  Florence Parry Heide apparently wrote the book many years ago and Edward Gorey provided illustrations for it, but when her publisher asked that the ending be made less grim, Edward Gorey refused to have his illustrations attached to the book if the dark ending was altered.  So the book didn't make it to press.  Around thirty years later, Carson was given the opportunity to illustrate the story in its original form (macabre ending and all).  I think fans of Roald Dahl, Edward Gorey, or Lemony Snicket will enjoy this  picture book about a maltreated little boy who wishes several people dead and is pleased when his wishes come true.

We are excited to share a bit of the Wordstock fun with one of our readers, so we'll be giving away a copy of the YA anthology Kiss Me Deadly (signed by Becca Fitzpatrick) during our Gratitude Giveaway next month.  Be sure to keep an eye out for that giveaway which will run from November 17th-27th.  :-)


Candace said...

I'm SO jealous and MAD at myself! I should have found a way to go. It ended up not raining that hard, but my husband really seemed to want me to stay home. But I'm going next year. I'm not missing it again! I recently read Girl Stolen and would have loved to have met the author as well as all the others you got to see. It would have been so much fun! I'm glad you got to go though! At least one of us did!

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