Monday, April 16, 2012

Spring Into The Future: Debrief and Giveaway!

So I finally did get myself to a book signing at the awesome Books of Wonder--and it was a doozy.

(Left to right: Lauren Oliver, Anna Carey, Sabrina Rojas Weiss (moderator), Tahereh Mafi, Veronica Rossi)
Basically we got to hear these four awesome ladies read from their books and answer a lot of really fun questions. Sabrina Rojas Weiss, who moderated, clearly did her homework:  questions ranged from expected-but-we-all-wanted-to-know, like what are you working on next, to perfect dystopian questions, like what would your teen self have stashed in her underground bunker against a possible apocalypse?  I loved that one so much I jotted down their answers:

  • Lauren said her parents used to let her paint poetry ("just the worst writing...so pretentious") on her bedroom walls when she was a teenager.  So she wanted paint for writing, plus a few Ani DiFranco albums and some ketchup.  She really likes ketchup.
  • Anna said she would not have been ready at all--and the thing she would have built up stores of in the bunker would have been Scott Wolf memorabilia! 
  • Tahereh said that when she was younger, she wrote an essay answering a similar question which her mother loved to tell people about--because Tahereh's answer was her mother's pillow!  (All together now: awwww!)  She also added that she would definitely need stores of Fritos* and Skittles.
  • Veronica had an easy answer: her sketchbook.  Apparently when she was a teenager she actually lost her beloved sketchbook on a plan--and even though she recovered it about a month later, it was a traumatic experience! 
                     Hearing the authors read and generally talk about their work was also a pleasure.  An audience member asked a question about their publishing journeys, and I especially liked hearing Tahereh's story because it was simply that she wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and slowly got better at it, and used the internet to find things out and meet people, and queried, and etc.  I know that's the usual way, but reading a book like Shatter Me it's easy to get overwhelmed by how gorgeous the prose is and just freak out and assume that it was written through some kind of divine intervention (or, possibly, Faustian bargain).  I really loved, too, that she talked about the fact that there are many many talented people in this world who will never succeed because they stop trying.**

So, because all these ladies are so awesome, and because Tahereh is super-extra awesome:

I am having another giveaway!  
Look!  I really met her!  But it's tricky taking photos on different side of a table...this is the best we got. 

Here's the deal:  I won a giveaway on Tahereh's blog, and my prize included a signed copy of Shatter Me.  Tahereh was cool enough to inscribe it to me and everything, and it came like three days before this event.  But I couldn't just buy everyone else's book and not hers--that seemed uncool and very sad.  So, friends, that is where you come in!  I bought a copy of Shatter Me along with all the other ladies' books, but I had Tahereh sign without inscribing it to anyone in particular.  SO:

I am giving away a signed copy of the awesome Shatter Me!  
Also included, because I was inspired by Tahereh's words about persistence and effort:
  • Stickers and pencils from the NaNoWriMo store, all covered in peppy, persistence-encouraging writerly slogans (and supporting a program which, however you feel about it as an adult writer, really gets students excited about writing!)
  • A $20 credit for DonorsChoose.org, where YOU get to choose a teacher's project to support!  (And while obviously the choice of teacher is yours if you win, I would encourage you to look for teachers trying to create young writers!  You never know what future J.K. Rowlings or Tahereh Mafis might be sitting in that classroom!)
There are tons of ways to enter (see Rafflecopter widget below) including following all four authors and Books of Wonder on Twitter!  Let me be clear, they didn't ask for this promotion--but really, following them is its own reward :)  I am hoping to get lots of comments with great advice for writers just starting out, or young people thinking about starting writing--I'll compile the advice in a post, and share the winner, on Monday, April 30th!   Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Fun fact:  When I tried to type "Fritos" on Mr. S's iPhone notepad, it tried to auto-correct to "Doritos".  Really, Apple?  (Also, it corrected "Tahereh" to "Rather, eh?" which I think would be a great code phrase if Tahereh Mafi ever becomes a spy.)  

**I had coffee with my high school theater teacher over break, and he informed me with disgust that he saw a kid in the halls of my old high school wearing a shirt that said, "Lazy but talented".  Made by Nike.  I feel like there may be a whole separate post coming inspired by my hatred of that shirt. 

20 comments:

  1. So, so envious of this opportunity to meet such awesome author ladies! :) Glad you decided to go. I think Tahereh Mafi is quite possibly one of the coolest people ever.

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    1. I concur, clearly! I think she's in my top three list of "authors I want to hang out and eat cookies with" along with Maggie Stiefvater and Libba Bray (a very scientific list I just invented.)

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  2. Sounds like you had a great time, Mrs. S. SHATTER ME is on my TBR list, so definitely count me in for the giveaway! :) Advice for young writers: Persist. Don't assume overnight success, but write and learn and keep growing, and don't let anyone dissuade you from following your dream. Not particularly original advice, but I think it's good.

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    1. Great advice! And yes, Shatter Me should definitely be on your list. It has a very different feel from other dystopians I've read, and you've already seen me gush about the prose.

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  3. I fear my original comment may have been lost in the ether, and in any case I didn't offer advice for young writers (just a thank you for such an inspiring and fun post along with an amazing giveaway!), so I'll try again. I would tell young writers to readreadread, of course, and also to find friends, mentors, and challenges that help them keep writing and striving.

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    1. Ack, hate it when that happens! Anyway, that's great advice--the people I've "met" online have made me much more determined (and knowledgable!) as a writer.

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful event! My advice comes from Stephen King--write first drafts with the door closed! Start out by writing purely for yourself; it takes away any external pressure and helps creativity thrive.

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    1. Love it--but it's hard to do, sometimes! (Then again, with other pieces, opening the door is the hard part!)

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  5. Ack! I'm so jealous you got to meet them! Lauren Oliver's book Before I Fall blew me away. And Tahereh is pure awesomeness, of course! I've yet to read Shatter Me because the library hold is taking ages! (Would love to buy books to keep but as baby #3 is on his way, I've been steering clear of bookstores to avoid impulsive spending sprees. Hee!)

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  6. Oh, and thanks for the giveaway! Sounds awesome. I just clicked on the form and it says to leave an advice for young writers. Hmm, I think my one piece of advice is simply this: Read, read, and read some more. Reading will take you to writing in the most natural way. At least, that's how I got to writing in the first place. :)

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    1. Love to hear that--it's my mantra in the classroom :) And after the book blowout described above, I am also avoiding bookstores for a while. It's the only way--once I go in, I'm sunk!

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  7. Definitely read!!! You can never read enough. It helps exponentially. When I read, the ideas just keep on churning.

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    1. Also, be sure to take breaks. I've noticed that if I take some time away, it really helps to align my thoughts.

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    2. Ooh, that's a good one. And one that it's easy to forget!

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  8. Hi! New Follower!

    I'm so jealous you got to meet all these awesome authors! I need to go to something like this...

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    1. Thanks for following! And welcome! This event definitely convinced me that it's worth the effort to go out for stuff like this.

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  9. Since I'm a teen who writes I would tell other teen writers that it's important to read and read some more. And then once you read A LOT, it's important to write often even if it's one word a day or a thousand. Just write.

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    1. Fabulous advice! I especially like the last part--one word is better than no words.

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