So I spent this Labor Day weekend in the charming town of Decatur, GA, which is sort of part of Atlanta, but sort of not. It was the 2010 Decatur Book Festival and HOLY CRAP YOU GUISE. It was awesome. There was enough fat kid food (fried candy bars, funnel cakes, gyros, sausages, corn dogs, and italian ice) to feed a large army, and more famous authors than you can shake a stick at. (But why would you want to shake a stick at famous authors? They are famous and write awesome books.)
Here are some of the people I met this weekend. (I have more pictures on my camera, but my battery is dead and I can't find my charger and plus my uploader cord thing is way on the other side of the house. So most of these pictures are stolen or from my phone, which isn't the greatest quality. But I digress.)
Here's me (in the green) with friends Crystal, Natalie, Anna, Leah, and Julie, and author-friends Rachel Hawkins and Nancy Werlin! I'm so excited I finally got to meet Rachel, after exchanging witty banter with her on Twitter for months. Have you read Hex Hall? It is awesome. Srsly. READ IT. Nancy Werlin was also wonderful. She and Rachel were in a panel together about Real Issues in an Unreal World. They talked about how teens like books with paranormal elements because they allow them the chance to escape and see themselves in these characters, even when their own lives are totally crazy.
I also got to sit in on a panel with David Levithan and Terra Elan McVoy (I KNOW! Cue hyperventilation). I loved this panel because it was much more a dialogue between the two authors than a moderated Q and A (though they did accept some questions from the audience at the end). Both Terra and David were just ADORBS, and they read from their books. When David read the "smiley face" in his IM scene in Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I wanted to die a little because it was so effing cute.
They talked about writing realistic romance scenes, and how both of them pulled from their real life but then added something extra. For example, David mentioned how the scene in Love is the Higher Law where two characters go on a date a few days after 9/11, but aren't sure if it's OK to be on a date or what the attacks have changed, is based on something that happened to him. Terra said that when she's actually kissing someone it might just be about OMGOMGOMG I'M GETTING KISSED!!! But that's not fun to read, so you have to go back and really think about what the kissing feels like. Both of them said that the truth in romance comes from writing not just the parts where the romance succeeds, but from writing the parts where it fails a little, too. (Which can be funny, but also sad.)
I also got to meet Carrie Ryan and Alyxandra Harvey, but sadly I have no pictures because we were wayyyyy in the back and I'm still shy/awkward about asking for pictures as I fangirl. (Probably because my camera is huge and embarrassing.) But the session was fun, and I learned that Alyx doesn't outline when she writes, and Carrie thinks that this can be an effective way to work, because if you as the writer don't know what's coming up, you might keep your reader guessing, too.
That's Anna, Natalie, Crystal, and me (this time in blue! And I'm not super short, I was just apparently the only one who did the Sorority Squat) with Robin Benway, Jackson Pearce, and Michelle Zink)
I have to admit, though, that my absolute favorite panel was the one with Michelle Zink, Robin Benway, and Jackson Pearce. It was called "Sibling Rivalry of the Best and Worst Kind" and these ladies had me rolling. All of their books have been on my radar - and I've already read Audrey, Wait! and loved it - but nothing like meeting the authors in person and seeing how fantastic they are will get you to want to take the rest of your life off from work and just readreadread. Robin Benway did tell me I should quit my day job. (No, really, I swear she did.) Anyway, here is the advice that these ladies had to offer:
From Michelle Zink: Finish something. Writers are consummate starters, but actually finishing a project - from first draft through to revision - is better than any quick-start writing exercise there is. Don't let that new idea pull you in. Finish something.
From Robin Benway: Live. The experiences you will have by just being out in the world will make you a better writer.
OK, and now the part that you all actually care about! The giveaway! YAY!!!
Alright, so I'm a bad blogger. I teased last Friday and also at one point on Twitter that I would have a signed copy of Clockwork Angel to give away. And I totally thought that I would. I bought the book in advance, got all excited to have such an awesome prize to give out, only to find out that Cassandra Clare would only be able to sign books if you purchase her most recent title at the festival. The decision, handed down to her on high, is explained logically on her LiveJournal, so I'm not mad or bitter or anything, just sad that I didn't know in advance. Because I didn't plan to spend an extra $20, so sadly I didn't have it in the budget to make that prize happen.
BUT!!!! I have other awesome prizes to give away, so no one should be sad.
What's up for grabs, you ask??
A signed hardcover of SISTERS RED by Jackson Pearce*
A signed hardcover of AUDREY, WAIT! by Robin Benway
Dang. Those are some awesome prizes!!! I have more but I'm saving it for my blogversary, which is coming up in October! (Yeah. I'm a prize-hoarder. I'm weird like that.)
There will be two winners. You can choose if you want to enter to win one or both, so if you already have one or the other you can totally still enter. And you don't have to be a blog follower to enter, but you will get extra entries for being one, as outlined on my ridiculous entry form. And I'll like you more. Plus my blog is awesome.
Click here to fill out the entry-thingie! Contest closes on Friday, September 17. If you want to tweet about it, feel free (but not obligated), to use this convenient Twitter-sized tweet:
Win signed hardcovers of Sisters Red and Audrey, Wait! in an awesome contest from @HeatherTrese! http://bit.ly/akke1G
Winner will be announced on either Saturday the 18th or maybe in the 19th's Sunday Funday edition - for extra fun! (OK I think it's past my bedtime here.)
*(OK, I should tell you that there is a small, tiny amount of tearing on the first 10 pages of this book. It's just like a little slit, about an inch, at the bottom. It's not my fault, it was totally like that when I bought it, but of course I didn't notice it until I got to Atlanta, which of course was too late to ship it back. So I got it signed anyway. But honestly, it's still a signed copy of an awesome book. For free. So it's not that bad.)