Monday, September 29, 2014

Week of Book People

It has been quite a week of overlapping events and I will try to summarize somewhat briefly.  Monday, Ann Aguirre, Marie Rutkowski and Caragh O'Brien were all at the Bethesda Library as part of the Fierce Reads tour to talk about their books.  Ms. Aguirre provided instructions if it turned out that your copy of Mortal Danger was infested with demons (you should burn it, after calling a news crew). Rutkowski mentioned her inspiration was partly the economic theory around auctions.  And O'Brien talked about how reality shows provided some inspiration.
Tuesday Piper Kerman, or Keenan as my phone kept trying to say, was at UDC in their newly refurbished theater (so new that apparently crews worked late into the night Monday get the last seats installed).  She talked about the book (which I have read) and the TV show (which I have not yet watched) and also shared various statistics and some suggestions for criminal justice reform that might help the US slow the trend of imprisoning the most people in the world.  She, as in her book, is very aware that she is the one that made a decision that brought prison to her, but also very aware that there are huge differences in how prisons are set up (she was in two during her stay) and how sentences are assigned and how people in prison are treated. 
Friday, I took the day off of work to head up to day one of the Baltimore Book Fest. I started off in the Science Fiction Writer's Tent where the folks from #WeNeedDiverseBooks were chatting.  Ellen Oh, Justina Ireland, Caroline Tung Richmond, and Karen Sandler all talked about books that had been meaningful to them, things they had read that had them shaking their heads, and the joys and challenges of writing characters that don't currently get a lot of protagonist time in most books.  Ireland also mentioned that she felt there are far too many plucky redheads in YA, in proportion to the world population, causing one audience member to shake her head because she had a plucky redhead in her current manuscript. 
Then I hopped next door to the Maryland Romance Writers tent, where there was a panel of writing diverse characters.  Lea Nolan, Robin Covington, Denny S. Bryce, Damon Suede, and Laura Kaye.  They talked about covers, the importance of getting things right, especially if you were dealing with a marginalized group, and also reader perception and misperception. 
The next panel was on plotting, with Stephanie Draven, Lea Nolan, Damon Suede, and Kate Quinn.  They said heretical things like pantsers don't exist (we do too) but also suggested that some pantsers might have more innate plotting skills.  (Maybe.) 
Then there was a panel of authors who had hit the New York Times bestseller list, with Laura Kaye, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Tessa Bailey, Cora Carmack, Kami Garcia, and Jen Mclaughlin.  They has some interesting stories based on what they'd hit with (from first book to eleventh) and where they were when they heard.  After that I headed home.
I had Crafty Bastards and vet appointments on Saturday but returned on Sunday to Baltimore. 
It turns out when there's a football game on, parking is hard to come by, so but caught most of the Alpha heroes panel with Laura Kaye, Diane Alberts, Magda Alexander, Jean Murray, and Tessa Bailey.  They talked about the balancing in keeping an alpha on the right side of alphaness.  (No alphaholes.)
Then there was Writing Fast with Mindy Klasky, Diane Alberts/Jen Mclaughlin, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Megan Erickson, Megan Hart, and Laura Kaye.  There was a mix of word spewers vs. word crafters and I remain impressed by Mindy's detailed scheduling (she already knows what she'll be working on in February 2016) They also talked about how once you've turned something in fast, people expect that sort of speed from you and you may have to push back and demand breaks so you can recover. 
For Balancing Jobs, Writing, And Families, Robin Covington, Avery Flynn, Sara Humhpreys, and M. D. Waters talked about figuring out schedules and boundaries and one author has a side of her family that doesn't know she writes, but she mentioned they still help by volunteering to visit and help with the kids and such. 
I hopped over to the Literary Salon to see Andrew Auseon, Elizabeth Chandler, Hannah Moskowitz, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Elissa Weissman.  They talked about how writing for kids was natural for them, and some of the most amazing things happened in kid's literature. 
And then things wrapped up back in the Maryland Romance tent with Christi Barth, Laura Kaye, Mindy Klasky, and Megan Hart talking about writing at different lengths and how it doesn't seem proportional as far as plotting or writing time, and the challenges inherent in each. 
And that was it.  Let me tell you, I went to bed early last night.