Nov 16, 2011

yallfest recap

So, as promised, here is my YALLfest experience. In both picture and word form.
Where do I begin? It's strange to spend so many months preparing for something and then having it happen in one fell swoop. It's kind of like a wedding (in a very different way). The actual day of YALLfest was a flurry of activity and awesome moments... 

Jonathan Sanchez, writer and bookseller extraordinaire, welcomes all to YALLfest.

The American Theatre, where all the panels were held.

Most of the panels had a full house!
My morning was swallowed up with door duty. I got to guard the door to the green room (the place where all of the authors hang out when they aren't on stage or signing books). Don't I make an incredibly intimidating bouncer?

The day was full of really great panels. I got to attend one on Southern writers (Putting the Y'all in YALLfest) which featured Katie Crouch, Carrie Ryan, Michelle Hodkin and Saundra Mitchell. They talked all about their Southern roots and how they play into their novels. I found this panel interesting for very obvious reasons... even though LUMINANCE HOUR isn't set in the South (far from it!), my next project takes place in a very Southern landscape.

Southern panel talks grits and debutantes.

The other two panels I attended were HollyAwood (all about turning books into movies) and the Zombie Attack Panel. Best piece of advice I gleaned from these? Carrie Ryan told us that the best method of survival in a zombie apocalypse is to find someone who runs slower than you!

The Hollywood Panel.

I got to introduce them.

Of course, the best part of the whole festival for me was being able to meet and actually hang out with these amazingly creative minds! It's strange when you spend so long following someone online--when you meet them in real life you can't help but feel awkwardly stalkerish because you know so much about them. Every single one of the authors was so nice and welcoming!

Can you see the nervous eagerness in my eyes as I talk to Andrea Cremer (Nightshade), Beth Revis (Across the Universe) and Saundra Mitchell (The Vespertine)?

Me and Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures)
Me and the lovely Katie Crouch (The Magnolia League)

I also got to meet my lovely critique partner Kate Armstrong. She flew down for the weekend and slept on our futon. I had such a wonderful time showing her around the city (we spent a lot of time at Kudu, my favorite coffee shop). I also got to meet Kiera Cass, a fellow HarperTeen author who I connected with on Twitter. Her book, THE SELECTION, comes out in 2012 and sounds pretty amazing (the ARC is gorgeous, I got a sneak peek before Kaleb Nation snatched it away for his own!).
Me and Kate (phenomenal critique partner!)

The whole weekend was capped off with a YA smackdown, where all 29 (or so) authors gathered onstage to compete with each other in storytelling games on the spot. Most of it ended in hilarity.

All the authors gathered together.

Carrie Ryan (Forest of Hands and Teeth) killing people.

Margaret Stohl (Beautiful Creatures) and Eliot Schrefer (The School for Dangerous Girls): Victors of the YALLfest smackdown!

You know something is really good if, when it finishes, you're already looking forward to next year. (Just like Christmas!) I hope to see all of you at YALLfest 2012!


  1. I had an amazing time, and it was so nice to meet you! V looking forward to LUMINANCE HOUR. Next year, you should kill people at the smackdown. :D

  2. It was great meeting you as well! I'm planning on getting my hands on The Vespertine soon! I don't really know if I can top Carrie when it comes to body count, but I suppose I could try!