Traffic was horrendous in Nashville so instead of visiting some places before the event, we (my mother and I) decided to go straight to the bookstore even if we were going to be extremely early. It worked out though and we got great seats.
The moderator was the amazing Courtney C. Stevens, author of Faking Normal, and she did a great job. She asked fantastic questions and got the authors talking easily, making this one of the best panels I've ever seen.
So much was discussed that it's hard to recap everything, so here is (in short) what I learned:
|L-R: Courtney C. Stevens, Julie Murphy, Natalie C. Parker, Bethany Hagen, Tessa Gratton|
Natalie C. Parker is a BAMF. Not only is her day-job title incredibly long (like a paragraph) and she is crazy-smart, she's also fun and witty and sweet. I've been following her career since 2011 when I participated in her Call Me Icarus critique project, which was really enlightening for me, so I've been looking forward to buying her book and seeing her for quite a while. She even recognized me (by my name because we were both Parkers).
Julie Murphy is a woman after my own heart. So much of what she said about her life and writing process connected with my own and it was encouraging to see her success. Her sense of humor felt so much like mine and I loved how she had woven some of her own life experiences thematically into her book.
Bethany Hagen is multi-talented --- librarian, author, mother, and 3-time karate black belt. I loved how she spoke on the legitimacy of the teenage experience, and she also had some great writing advice: keep writing no matter what, because your Moment may come when you least expect it.
Tessa Gratton is scarily intelligent, and she's still as hilarious as the first time I saw her. Her writing advice was not only the funniest (because of how expressive she is), but it was also my favorite of the night: if you don't love what you're writing, you're DOOMED.
If you get a chance to see these authors in person, I highly suggest you take it. It was worth the trip and even my non-bookish mom, who's never been to anything like this before, had a great time. You can find links to the Goodreads page for each book below. Happy reading quirks!