Yesterday Kaitlin and I had the pleasure of attending the Penguin Teen On Tour at Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego. There were 5 authors in attendance, Sabaa Tahir (An Ember In the Ashes), Rachel Hawkins (Rebel Belle and Hex Hall), Alwyn Hamilton (Rebel of the Sands), Alison Goodman (Dark Days Club), April Genevieve Tucholke (Wink Poppy Midnight).
The conversation started off with the authors giving a quick blurb of another book. From there it just got crazy. Topics ranged from crazy Starbucks names to crimes they would commit during the Purge. FYI most of them use fake names at Starbucks. Alwyn Hamilton uses Amy and Sabaa Tahir uses Bonnie. Who knew these authors loved murder so much! Hahaaha, Rachel Hawkins and Alywn Hamilton had lots to say about murder TV shows and murder in general! They were even going to plan a murder as a team bonding activity.
As for their writing technique, Sabaa Tahir is somewhere between a plotter and a pantser. A pantser means she free writes and hopes it works out. She also attempted to be a plotter but that didn’t exactly work out for her. Sabaa ends up doing most of her writing when she edits. Its a very similar technique to what I do. When I’m writing my first draft, my goal is to just get all the points I want to talk about on the paper. In the next draft I go through and elaborate on each point. Alywn Hamilton is a daydreamer. She plans the big scenes in her head and figures out the logistics while writing it. Alison Goodman is a storyboarder. She does a lot of pre-planning before starting her book. Rachel Hawkins spends a lot of time thinking about it. She calls this the “cooking period”. This ends up taking about a year. Rachel also uses the “map draft”. The map draft is a process in which Rachel writes down any scenes that pops into her head without any order or structure. Then Rachel waits til she has enough ideas to beginning the organization process. Rachel’s writing tip is to enjoy the excitement of getting a great idea. Write down scenes when they come to you no matter what point the book it will be in. Alywn on the other hand prefers putting it off so she can have something to look forward to later on.
When asked what crime they would commit during the Purge all the authors agree they would not survive the Hunger Games or any other dystopian world for that matter. Rachel said that she would raid bookstore and Alywn would take a ton of nice jewelry. Sabaa Tahir’s answer was my favorite. Sabaa said she would raid a weapons store in order to arm her mini militia of children and continue her crime spree. Sabaa claims they will have the element of surprise on their side.
left: Alwyn Hamilton
right: Sabaa Tahir
While getting our books signed Sabaa said if she was to be any fictional character she would be anybody with magic in Harry Potter so she can attend Hogwarts. We also had an intense conversation with Alywn about The Vampire Diaries and The 100.
I gotta say this was a very exciting book signing. We got our copy of Rebel of the Sands signed as well as getting the tour poster signed by everybody. Kaitlin even got her Penguin Teen Tote signed! We also received an ARC of Night Speed by Chris Howard as well as tons of swag from each author. Success is not always determined by the amount of book swag but that certainly does help!
above: April Genevieve Tucholke