For the final stop on the Fierce Reads Fall 2015 tour, Leigh Bardugo, Josephine Angelini, Emma Mills, and Leila Sales came up to Toronto to chat about their new books, gush about each other (seriously, they all LOVE each others’ books), and do a signing.
After a great lunch with Wendy (A Cupcake and a Latte) , we headed over to Indigo Yonge-Eglinton about two hours before the event. With four authors there, we knew we had to get in early to get seats!
Giselle (Book Nerd Canada) and a couple of other blogger friends were already there, and once we got seats, I got to chat and hang out with Liz (Midnight Bloom Reads), Ardo (Ardo Omer), Lindsey (The Bevy Bibliotheque), and Angel (Mermaid Visions). I also stopped by to say hi to Shelly (Read. Sleep. Repeat) and Amanda (Brains, Books, and Brawn). Jenn (Lost in a Great Book) came by soon afterward after a hellish drive to the city (we love you, Jenn!).
After a long wait in a very warm room, Melissa from Indigo Green Room finally introduced BookTuber Ariel Bissett and the Fierce Reads authors! Ariel asked a few questions first, we got introduced to their books, and then there was a Q & A.
A few highlights from the Q&A:
Ariel asked about the cover process.
- Leigh talked about how much she loved her black-tipped pages for Six of Crows (seriously fancy, guys), and how she kept asking to make sure they were kept throughout the design process.
- Leila said that the Tonight the Streets Are Ours had a very similar original cover, but she wanted the colours brighter, so she asked the design team to make it more “Instagrammy.”
- Emma said that she was told the cover process was like, “Here’s your cover. Do you like it? Check yes, or yes.” She said she feels lucky that she got to see two options, and everybody really liked the “rainbow raindrops” cover.
- Josephine said that she and her team had heard that the original covers were nice but didn’t quite depict what the books were about. She likes the new covers alot but said she knows that a lot of people are really sad that their covers don’t match and she feels their pain. =p
Someone asked about how much anxiety and depression is helped by writing, or whether they contribute to the writing process. Leigh answered that it was a little bit of both, and very inspiringly told us that on the days when she doesn’t write anything, it does feel worse, and the only way to get through that is to write. Leigh talked about how junior high was really hard for her, and writing was her survival and escape then – that it helped her go into worlds where she belonged, unlike the real world.
Josephine talked about how for years she would say that she wasn’t a writer, while always, always writing in the background, and that now it’s a compulsion for her.
Someone asked Emma about juggling grad school and writing, and she said it’s really hard, but that she eats a lot of pizza bagel bites, and she’s like a Rachel (from the book – who is a real go-getter) as well as Devon, so she just works at it.
Someone else asked about tough subjects – almost adult issues – in Six of Crows and how to do that in fantasy. Leigh said that yes, she deals with difficult subjects, but pointed out that so do all of these other authors in their books. Josephine added that they all start with understanding what it is to be human and go from there.
Leila talked about how she’s never read Pride & Prejudice, and said people hate her for it. Then she later talked about how she tried to read it, but it wasn’t for her, and all of the authors agreed that if you’re reading a book and you’re slogging through it, they would much prefer you put it down and read something else. Leila: “If you’re in school, you already read a ton. That’s enough. Your own reading should be fun.”
I decided to go with a fun question and asked the authors to choose a character from their novel and place it in another of the Fierce Reads authors novels. What would happen and who would they choose? Leigh laughed so hard and said, “Kaz would be CLEANING UP.” Emma and Leila admitted that they didn’t want to see their characters in Josephine’s Trial by Fire world because it’s scary. Leigh said Emma’s and Leila’s characters would last a little longer in the Six of Crows world, but not much. Emma: “Let’s keep the contemporary characters in the contemporary worlds.”
Everytime Emma would talk First & Then, the other Fierce Reads authors would whisper “EZRAAAAAA” because seriously, Ezra is SO SWOONY. That is SO how I feel about him.
When we got to the front, the first person signing was Emma – I was so excited to meet her because I really loved First & Then, and told her that I’d convinced three people to get it today =) She remembered my review and said she really connected with it, which just made me even more excited. We talked about her focus on family and the P&P homage. She told me she’s working on a new YA now tentatively called The Adventure Ends (I think?), which won’t have the Austen stuff, but will definitely be another contemporary.
Guys, if you haven’t read First & Then yet, you really should – I think Emma is one to watch in the YA world. She got a ton of questions from young people who clearly connect with her youth (she’s 26!), her words, and her honesty. And the other Fierce Reads authors were just raving about her. I predict big things.
Next I met Leila Sales and mentioned that I’d met her at the Paper Lantern Lit party at BEA many months ago. And when I mentioned my blog, she knew it, so gah! I told Leila I really appreciated that she had written about women and sacrifice, because that’s how I was as a teen, and how I saw it in my mom as well. She thanked me for that and said it was how she was, too, and that’s why she needed to write the book.
Then I got to meet Leigh Bardugo, who, seriously, ladies, is hilarious. I told her so and said I’m really interested in reading Six of Crows now because of her sass, and because it’s a heist novel, which I’m totally into. I also told her I’m not a fantasy reader and she totally side-eyed me – but I said I would try. Leigh: “Just give it 100 pages.” =)
Finally, I was out and sweaty (man, it was hot in there), but proceeded to spend another hour chatting with bloggers. At one point, Jenn and I were talking with Ardo and Vikki, and another blogger came up and introduced herself. It was Amanda (Stuck in YA Books), who flew all the way from Thunder Bay for Fierce Reads (if you’re American, that’s like a 16 hour drive from Toronto)! I couldn’t figure out who she was until I realized she’s @apedulla on Twitter, who I talk to a lot – YAY MEETING BLOGGERS IN REAL LIFE. We chatted about her trip and her love for Jennifer L Armentrout.
Shelly and Amanda came out of the line and we went to join Amanda’s boyfriend Jerome and Joey (Thoughts and Afterthoughts). Patty (Bookish Wanderlust) was there as well and we chatted about the Jays game (doing well at that point), Patrick Ness, the authors and more.
Finally, Patty and I headed out – she needed to go to her job and I needed to go home to watch the Jays game (we lost ). But I had such an incredible time today with friends and authors and publicists – like I said, usually book events are good, but this one was extra special, maybe because it was at the end of the Fierce Reads tour, or just because all of us bloggers hadn’t seen each other in awhile.
Thanks so much to everyone who chatted with me today – you’re why I keep doing this.