I'm pleased to say I had a marvelous weekend. On Saturday I was honored to be a part of the first annual Austin Teen Book Festival! (insert cheers here) I was, of course, there on behalf of my employer, BookPeople, the official bookseller of the event. But several weeks ago I was also asked to moderate one of the panels, and duh, I was all over it.
Madeline, my BP cohort, and I got to Westlake High at what felt like the crack of dawn and it wasn't long before readers started pouring in and books were flying. I felt like such a dork, with this big smile across my face, but selling YA books is one of my favorite things, and seeing so many teens at a book event on a Saturday morning made me so happy.
Libba Bray's keynote speech was silly, funny, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and inspiring - you know, everything you'd expect from a "luminous supervixen." Attendance was impressive and the crowd gave her a standing ovation. I don't think you can really ask for more! I got to chat with Libba briefly later in the day, and she is just a fabulous woman.
Throughout the day festival-goers had the option of going to one of four panels in three different sessions. Since I was moderating the Vampires vs. Zombies panel, I got to hang out with the fabulous Heather Brewer, Carrie Jones, Daniel Waters, and Cynthia Leitich Smith. Now, I know I'm a little biased here, but I think our panel was pretty bitchin'. Which isn't to say there wasn't a fabulous array of authors at the fest (several of whom I'm lucky enough to consider friends and cohorts), BUT, I simply cannot imagine anyone having more fun than we did. Don't believe me? Read this post by Liviania at In Bed With Books.
Things I now know:
- Pixies are dangerous and my homestate of Maine is particularly unsafe. Carrie lives in the Bangor area, where she claims everyone dresses in work boots or snow boots and flannels. These people could be PIXIES and they will SUCK YOUR SOUL. I'm just saying.
- If there were such a thing as a zombie pixie vampire, it would look like Tom Cruise. Heather Brewer said so, and we all know Auntie Heather knows all.
- If Cyn were trapped in a zombie apocalypse situation and could have three other authors from the Austin Teen Book Festival on her survival team, she would have April Lurie because of her skills learned as a nurse in New York City, Carrie Jones due to her travelling with Grover (a personal cheerleader and general awesome furry muppetness), and Libba Bray for her fighting spirit and superhuman courage (you've seen the cow suit video, right?).
- In the same zombie apocalypes, Heather would take anyone with a two-by-four, Daniel would pick the meatier, slower people (and would sacrifice Carrie - this earned him boos), and Carrie would pick Grover. Carrie's pick techinically wasn't on the menu, BUT, would you say no to her? She's the cutest ever!
- Daniel has a very real crush on Tinkerbell. Even though she's fairly tiny.
- In case of a vampire apocalypse, Heather plans on finding the head honcho and getting herself turned before the food supply runs out.
- Carrie would kiss a zombie. Especially a zombie from Daniel's books, since they are slightly less skin-fally-offy.
Pictures of the event are starting to turn up on the web - check ou these images found on Twitter, and Flickr:
The post-festival dinner with authors and planners was also wonderful. I got to say hello to Justine Larbalestier, whom I met last fall when she came to BookPeople on her How To Ditch Your Fairy tour. I also met Matt de la Pena, who knows a thing or two about one of my favorite Brooklyn neighborhoods, and caught up with fellow Austin ladies Shana Burg, April Lurie, and Margo Rabb. I can also report that the queso at the Hula Hut is fantastic.
In other news, the query process has begun! My first novel is, well, finished. It was sort of anti-climactic. But now it's out in the world. I'm buckling in for the long haul. Cross your fingers for me!