Friday, February 27, 2009

I'm pleased to present...YAedge Book Club!

Last weekend I was reading a great YA book, Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King. As I got deeper into the story, I thought, ‘wow, I would love to talk to a group of YA readers about this book.’ Then it came to me…there is a way! With the help of Tracy and our critique group, we came up with the idea of starting a YAedge Monthly Book Club. I wasn’t sure how the response would be, but after twittering about it, I realized people out there love the idea as much as I do!

Hence the beginning of the YAedge Book Club. We will be launching a new blog linked from YAedge on Sunday, March 1. Each month, readers can vote on the future edgy YA book from a small poll. We’ll invite everyone to read the book and discuss the story, characters, writing and cover art in a constructive manner. Comments can be posted at any time on the blog, yet please no spoilers until the final discussion we will hold at the end of the month. I will be marking the final discussion with a spoiler tag mark. Throughout the month, we’ll also try to interview the author of the selected book.

Without further ado, I’d like to announce the first book in the YAedge Book Club…Evermore by Alyson Noel!

To participate, get your hands on a copy of Evermore at your local library, online, or better yet, your local independent bookseller. Then start the discussion! I can’t wait to chat with all of you about Evermore, the first book in the Immortals series!

Is there anything you’d like to see on the YAedge Book Club blog each month?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Author Visit #2: You, My Friend, Were Too Much Fun

I experienced a complete 360 in terms of my second author presentation. The reason?

A captive audience.

Nothing like a library filled with grade 9 and 10 English and Art students (forced to attend an author talk) to warm any writer’s heart. ;) All kidding aside, the kids were awesome. Sure, there were a few glazed eyes and blank expressions, but an author talk isn’t going to thrill everyone.

Most kids were engaged, laughed at my corny jokes, and most importantly - we talked reading. We talked writing. It was beyond cool.

I tried to keep my presentation unpredictable. I started out by performing a tune I wrote (sang/played guitar), accompanied by one of the school’s staff, a personal friend and budding lead guitar player. I then compared songwriting to fiction writing – verse being like a chapter, chorus being the book’s over all theme, bridge being the unexpected plot twists that take the reader in a new direction.

I outlined my writing process, the meandering and difficult steps to getting a publisher, edits, revisions. And the fun stuff like galleys and cover art.

I finished by showing the unofficial first draft of my booktrailer (waiting for permission to use a specific tune). The trailer was created by the amazingly talented, Madison, at M2 Productions. The kids seemed to dig it. Some of the teachers are thinking of working a booktrailer into an English assignment. How cool is that? A few students talked to me about their own writing – gave me their “pitch” although they didn’t know that's what they were doing…lol…they really wowed me.

Here are some of the wonderful questions they asked:

1. Do you want your book to be a movie?
2. How do you stay motivated to write?
3. Did you ever want to give up writing? [Okay, can you tell I spoke a lot about edits and rejection being a massive part of writing?]
4. Where did you get the idea for your book?
5. Why did you use a pen name?
6. Are your characters based on real people?
7. When will your book be out?
8. Do you have advice for someone wanting to be a writer?
9. Does being a librarian help you with being a writer? [Talk about thoughtful questions!]
10. Why do you write paranormal stories?
11. Are you rich?

And my all time favourite:

12. Was it hard to learn the Dewey Decimal System? [OMG…this was too funny. Dewey Rules!]

Hopefully my limited experiences with author talks will help others about to embark on their own book promotions. Moral of the story? Stay casual, don’t try to be cool – just be cool – be yourself.