Unlike our previous journey to Nashville, we arrived ahead of schedule and had absolutely no trouble finding the Carroll Knicely Conference Center, part of the campus of Western Kentucky University. The parking lot was packed but we found a spot after just a few minutes and went in to
Our intention was to relax and walk around a bit before attending two of the YA panels being held, but as soon as we saw that many of our sought-after authors were sitting at their tables, we
ran made our way over and proceeded to fangirl over them.
The first person we met was Kelly Creagh, author of Nevermore and Enshadowed. I have wanted to read Nevermore since I first heard of it, but I had never gotten a copy. Well, I'm glad I waited because I was able to buy my copy and get it signed (at SOKY you can't bring your own books to be signed). Kelly was also super-super sweet and gave us lots of swag (which my quirksters will be seeing in a giveaway!). She also had stuffed ravens on her table and gave us purple-ink pens which makes her that much more awesome.
Thankfully, all the YA authors were seated near each other, so next we saw Rachel Hawkins for the second time. We talked with her and Megan bought and had signed a copy of Spell Bound (my review here). Next was Jackson Pearce, author of Sisters Red, Sweetly, and most recently Purity (my review here). I got copies of both Sweetly and Sisters Red and Jackson graciously signed them. I also told her that I read and reviewed Purity as part of the Southern Book Bloggers ARC Tour and she asked me flat out what rating I gave the book. I was honest with her and we talked about the novel, and yes, she is as cool in person as she is in her videos.
Next we talked with Victoria Schwab, one of my most favorite YA authors ever and the creator of the amazing The Near Witch (my review here). To show my love, I gifted her with a sparkly, special edition Pinkie Pie My Little Pony. I think she loved it. Then I got another copy of The Near Witch, which she signed (and drew a narwhal in!), to giveaway in The Near Witch Blog Tour coming up next week to celebrate the release of the paperback edition.
Victoria also shared some love-a-ly sekrits about Vagabond Puppies, one of the novels she was working on last year. And no, I will not share them as I cannot break the sparkly pony pact of trust. ^_^
After we bought (way too many) books, we headed to one of the meeting rooms for the YA Paranormal panel. The featured authors where R.A. Nelson (author of Throat and Teach Me), Rachel Hawkins, Kelly Creagh, and Victoria Schwab. Each author took some time to talk about their books, their journey to getting (and parting with) an agent, getting published, and answered questions from the audience. The highlights were Kelly Creagh sharing some cool stories about things that happened to her while writing Nevermore and Victoria Schwab revealing the premise behind her upcoming novel, The Archived. Rachel Hawkins brought the funny (I was laughing enough to make my face hurt) and I was really glad to get to learn about R.A. Nelson, who worked for NASA, has written some interesting stories, and had quite a journey to getting where he is today.
After the paranormal panel came the YA Contemporary Panel. This panel featured Jackson Pearce, Ty Roth (author of So Shelly), and Dori Norman (author of Taming Clancy). The authors were introduced by the moderator and then each read a section from their novels. Having read Purity, Jackson chose one of the most humorous portions of her book to read and had the room cracking up. Ty Roth shared the prologue of his novel, while Dori Norman read a section where her main character learns she should have listened to her friend. Then came questions from the audience, with a minor author-audience stare down (Jackson said it would happen). The authors were lovely and funny and it was great getting to hear Jackson speak and learning about the other two authors.
After the panels were over, Megan and I headed back to the large room with all the books and author tables (seriously, I will never get over the sight - that many books and authors in the same room was simply amazing). We stopped by the table of Alecia Whitaker, author of The Queen of Kentucky (she had been swarmed before so we had missed her). I had heard of The Queen of Kentucky (her debut) but not much about it, so we got to talking about the book and let me tell you, Alecia is one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. She shared with us about her process of getting published and told us about a novel she has in the works that sounds like so much fun and which got us on the subject of beauty pageants. Then I got a copy of her book and she signed it and wrote me a sweet note. And I'm a total spaz as I forgot to get a picture with her! So instead, here is a photo of Rachel Hawkins photo-bombing Meg and Victoria Schwab's photo:
While we were with Alecia, the other YA authors returned to their tables, and it appeared I had made Rachel Hawkins a teensy-bit sad by giving Victoria Schwab a pony. I didn't have any more sparkly ponies, but Rachel said that was okay, so I dug around in my bag for a while (like an idiot, because as Megan reminded me several times before it sunk in, I had left them in the car), and eventually I gave Rachel three ponies to choose from. She picked Roseluck, a very pretty pony, and was mollified.
|Photo Credit: Rachel Hawkins via Instagram via Twitter|
We hung around for a little while longer, chatting with the authors and having lots of giggles (and me making a fool of myself) before leaving with a happiness high. It was a great trip and I couldn't have had more fun or been more impressed by the awesomeness that makes up these YA authors. I also want to thank them for not calling security due to my excessive fan-girling.
|L-R: K. Creagh, R. Hawkins, J. Pearce, A. Whitaker, V. Schwab|
Thanks for reading about our latest YA adventure! Stay tuned for the next From Where I'm Standing, which should be coming your way later this month! ^_^