Kira Brady

Oct 2
Northwest Bookfest: Music, Rain, and authors galore

Today was the first day of the 2011 Northwest Bookfest over in Kirkland. Organized by Deb Schneider the Library Goddess, who also happens to write romance novels, the event showcased local authors across all genres. With free panels for readers and writers, food, music, and story time, it was an event not to be missed. I dragged my whole family. :)

Starting off with Caspar Babypants, which I’ve been wanting to take the baby to for a while now and finally, finally! made it. We danced. We clapped. We sang along. Afterwards she left for the library with Grandpa, and I headed to the YA panel featuring Liz Gallagher, Heather Davis, librarian Darcy (the moderator), Caridad Ferrer, and Kevin Emerson. Pretty much they all started off writing lit fiction for adults, but realized after working with teens that there was an unmet need for good middle grade and YA fiction. It seems like everywhere I look adult authors are jumping ship to the YA battilion, but I’ve read a couple ranting articles about how YA is a different beast and it isn’t so easy to successfully make the switch. I wanted to ask what the differences were in speaking to a YA audience, but didn’t get the chance.

I have a YA book brewing at the back of my brain. I’d really like to write it, because middle grade and YA were the books that struck me most growing up. Watership Down, The Last Unicorn, Dealing with Dragons, Julie of the Wolves, Cheaper by the Dozen, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Golden Compass, Sabriel, all of Roald Dahl: these books had a huge impact on my development and psyche. But I’m a little nervous about revisiting my teenage self, and I’m so removed from pop culture that I worry about being able to connect with today’s youth. That makes me sound like an old fart. Teenagers can’t have changed that much in a decade, right? The problem is, I’m not sure I connected much to teenagers when I was one myself. I think I’m going to just write the book that speaks to me and not worry about the rest of it. But that’s after I finish my current contracted trilogy. June 2nd….that’s when I can turn my mind to new projects.

After that session, I attended one on Steampunk and Urban Fantasy with Cherie Priest, Kat Richardson, Mark Henry and anther Mark. No photo, sorry. Urban Fantasy has reached the mainstream with True Blood and the movie Underworld. Steampunk doesn’t have that recognition yet in pop culture, and although Cherie Priest wouldn’t mind seeing brass goggles at Hot Topic, the other Mark noted that it would cease being “Punk” if it reached the mainstream. I wasn’t taking notes; that’s just the gist of what I remember. So don’t quote me.

The high point of the day was the Queens of Romance Tea with the lovely Elizabeth Boyle, Susan Mallery, and Lisa Kleypas. I loved hearing their sale stories and the process they go through to write those fabulous books. Ms. Boyle definitely has the best first sale story I’ve heard so far. Her husband actually took a last minute plane ride to New York to deliver her manuscript in person. A RL Romance Hero in action! I also won a giant gift basket from Ms. Mallery in a raffle. Sweet.

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