March 13, 2013

Tucson Festival of Books 2013: The Wrap-Up

The Authors

I was not brave enough to actually pose for a picture with either of the authors I was excited to meet. But I made my sister-in-law take pictures from in line behind me, because I wanted some photographic evidence!

She made fun of me a little for the Maggie Stiefvater one, saying she felt like my mom. (Admittedly most of the line was made up of tweens with their moms with them, or groups of teenage girls). But she was equally excited to meet Mary Doria Russell. And I still staunchly defend The Scorpio Races; it's a great book. After hearing Maggie talk about The Raven Boys I'm excited to read that one too - because she started the quartet largely in homage to her childhood obsession with Susan Cooper, and I love Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising Sequence!

In addition to meeting a couple of authors (and accidentally elbowing Larry Watson as he was trying to get to his author signing spot, oops); I also got to meet Nikki from BookPairing in real life, which is fun since we've collaborated online (you may remember her Love of Reading week).

The Fun

There were steel drums and people playing Star Wars melodies on the shofar, and roaming bands of tiny violinists, story book characters walking around, and countless bookstores and authors had booths. There were tons of great story times and musical activities and play times for kids, lots of freebies (we scored a tote bag, a Mo Willems' Pigeon book, and a frisbee!), and some amazing food from local vendors (Oh the fresh roasted corn. Delicioso!).

Saturday I was freeeezing, and left early, because I was not appropriately attired for 53 and raining. (Forgot my umbrella, sigh.) So Sunday I wore a hoodie and boots, and it was 65 and sunny, and I was boiling. Ah well, can't win 'em all.

The Panels

I only actually attended two panels this year: one called "Triumph and Tragedy in Fiction" with Mary Doria Russell, Chang-rae Lee, and Larry Watson; and one called "Fragile on the Outside - Steel on the Inside: Gutsy Girls" with Gayle Forman, Elizabeth Eulberg, and Maggie Stiefvater.

I don't feel like I took away a ton from the fiction one, except that I want to (a) be BFFs with Mary Doria Russell and (b) read Doc, her latest book. I don't know much about Doc Holliday except what you naturally absorb living this close to Tombstone, and I was absolutely fascinated by the info that Mary shared about him and about the process of writing Doc.

Gutsy Girls I thought was really fun, and I enjoyed seeing how three very different YA authors (one serious/one chick-lit-ish, one fantasy) create strong female characters. I loved what Gayle said about why she writes strong girls. (She quoted an interview with Joss Whedon, saying that her reasons are very similar.)

“Q: So, why do you write these strong female characters?
A: Because you’re still asking me that question.”-JW

Also Elizabeth and Maggie are both very funny ladies, and that panel was downright hilarious. I loved what they shared about their own teenage experiences and how that's influenced their writing, how they all three got into writing, and whether or not any of their books are headed to Hollywood. (Spoiler alert: hopefully!)

Finally, I loved what Elizabeth had to say about why she wrote her latest book Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality. She talked about how she's always been told she has a great personality, and the implications thereof: "She has a great personality (but she's fat)" or "She has a great personality (but she's ugly)". She wrote the book to reclaim the good aspect of having a great personality - and based on how very funny Elizabeth is in real life, I'm thinking the book will be a lot of fun.

All in all I had a really great 2013 Festival of Books, and I can't wait till next year! Hopefully Jacqueline Winspear will make it for real next time, instead of vanishing off the schedule the month before...

Have you read any of these authors? 
Have you ever met one of your favorite authors?