Yeah YA! Panel + Giveaway


Harlequin Teen currently has 10 of its authors on tour for Harlequin Teen Author Fest 2013, and on Friday, July 12, Aimée Carter, Julie Kagawa, Katie McGarry, Gena Showalter, and Rachel Vincent  made a stop in Southlake, Texas (a Dallas suburb). If you haven't read my transcript of the Beneath the Surface panel, you should! I ended up meeting Aimée, Julie, and Katie a day early, which was really exciting for me, but I was glad to see them again and to meet Gena and Rachel as well. This event was different from the BTS panel because 1. there wasn't an official moderator; the authors just did their own thing before breaking for the audience Q&A, and 2. these authors have been touring for a while so they had their "act" down pretty well with really good interaction among each other.

Courtesy of Mundie Moms!
 Katie from Mundie Moms was on site as the live blogger and she snapped a picture of the crowd. Lots of bloggers! I'm in the front row wearing black, then on the right side in the front are Jasmine & Marissa from Beneath the Moon and Stars. In the back, center, are Karen from Teen Librarian's Toolbox and Kari from A Good Addiction! I know Katie did a post about the event, but you should definitely check everybody else to see if there are more items up for grabs.

 Transcript under the cut!
Since there wasn't an official moderator, the authors kind of nominated Katie to do it for them.

Katie McGarry (KM): Um, should I start with a serious question or a fun question?
Julie Kagawa (JK): I loved the vegetable question! [to the audience] If you were a veggie, what would you be? I said asparagus! 
Gena Showalter (GS): You should say onion cause you make people cry!
JK: Okay, then, I'm an onion!
Q1: KM: Why ya?
Aimée Carter (AC): 1. Didn't have ya as a kid. I mean, there was Judy blume and The Outsiders, but that was it. I didn't know that what I was writing was ya. I just wrote stories about teens.
GS: I love that kids are figuring things out, the exploration of that age.
Rachel Vincent (RV): Most of the critiques about my adult books is that main characters are too immature. There are pivotal moments in adolescence. It's fun to write about moments I can't relive but my characters can..
JK: Ya didn't exist. I wrote an adult fantasy with a teen main character, but it didn't sell. My agent asked, "what else do you have?" And I told her about idea about a fairy girl who becomes queen. She told me to go with it, and it became The Iron King. Ya is an age of firsts. First love, first kiss, first job? So much goes on.
KM: I was a reluctant reader in high school. I read The Outsiders as required reading but for the first time, I stayed up all night reading to finish it. For the first time, a book understood what I was feeling. When I was fifteen years old, my friend and I were sophomores taking a junior level class. This class seemed full of beautiful people, with fans blowing, music playing... And there was this beautiful boy with a black leather jacket. He always fell asleep in class and naturally didn't know I existed. We were assigned a speech in class. I knew that if I could give this speech, he would notice me and we would fall in love. The night before, I had butteflies. I woke up with a lump in my throat so I didn't eat breakfast [audience groans]. This was the class right after lunch so I also couldn't eat lunch. My teacher asked if anyone wanted to go first and my hand shot up. I stood up and my legs were all wobbly. I leaned to the left, hit my head on a desk, then I flew to the right and hit my head on the projector. I woke up and heard the teacher say in a scary voice, "Get out," then I heard her say, "Please don't be dead please don't be dead please don't be dead." Yeah, and it turns out if you hit your head when you pass out, there's a rule that says you have to be carried out on a stretcher. so that night, I'm talking to my best friend, and I asked her how bad it was. She told me, "Well...he noticed you."
JK: And that's why we don't let Katie go first.

Q2. RV: What cds do you have in car right now or on your ipod?
AC: Why do I always have to go first? Right now I'm listening to the Smash soundtrack, but mostly just the songs from the fictional musical. My dad is desperate for other music. These songs come on and he's like, "Nope. Skip it."
GS: No cds. I spent whole drive up talking with my critique partner. And I actually don't have any music on my ipod either.
RV: The Buffy musical, Kelly Clarkson, and the Pitch Perfect soundtrack on my ipod.
AC: You know that song "Cups"? I can do that. [audience cheers] Okay, I'll do it, but I'm not going to sing. [attempts "Cups" with a Coke bottle. Doesn't turn out well] Sorry, I can't do this with a Coke bottle!
JK: Well, now we know what to get for the other stops!
KM: I keep playlists on my ipod. Right now it's Fall Out Boy, Eminem, and Pink
JK: I mostly listen to Pandora. My Chemical Romance, Kelly Clarkson, Broadway, anime...

Q3: Who is your favorite character (in your own books) and why?
JK: This is an easy question! Lontime grim and ash. Grim snarky, sense of humor, and cat. Ask...for obvious reasons. Not jackal. Snarky and kind of a douche.
KM: Beth because she is absolutely fearless, but she has vulnerability as well.
RV: Sabine in ss. So much fun. Says what thinking and I'm thinking. Fave moment sex lecture in hallway.
GS: Cat from Alice in Zombieland. She stole scenes and just really shined. She's on-again/off-again with Frosty and has this dream where she kicks his ass and is mad at him.
AC: It changes every time. Knox in Pawn. He's hot, smart, and has a lot going on under the surface. He's not  political but he has plans. It's like he's working all sides. For the Goddess series, it's Henry.

Now the authors turned it over for audience questions but BONUS: Harlequin Teen provided 13 goodie bags to question-askers!

Q4. Were your series planned or did they just happen?
AC: I wrote The Goddess Test standalone, then the publisher asked for a trilogy, then a....what do you call four books? A four-ogy? And maybe it'll be a fiveilogy... [audience goes crazy!] I have an idea for a fifth book...
GS: I write however many are in contract. If they want a trilogy, I'll do it. Four, fine. I just go with the contract.
RV: I haven't mastered standalone
KM: Noooo. I wrote Pushing the Limits as a standalone. It was a nice surprise for my contract!
JK: I also haven't mastered standalones. The Iron King sorta was but not really. I really wrote it as a series.

Q5: How do you stick with a series?
AC: 1. If you don't, you have to give back the money the publisher gave you. Gotta keep writing. 2. From the creative side, I always write a book in between books in a series. I get flustered if I don't write a different genre with different characters in between. Butt in chair method.
GS: Absolutely. You have to treat writing as business. It's fun creating and  holding the finished product but it's a lot of work.
RV: Yeah. All of that is absolutely true. I'm a career writer. It was a love a few years ago, but now it's a job. It's a job I love, but still a job.
KM: Definitely yes. I have more freedom because I'm not continuing with the same characters. I'm adding characters so I get to play and choose.
JK: Yes to everything. It's the business part of writing. Sometimes you're slogging through rough patch. I keep an ending in mind not just for each individual book but also the series.

Q6. For Aimée: why Greek mythology?
AC: When I was a kid, my dad took me to Borders. I found a book of myths (BLOGGER NOTE: I believe she said D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths, but I'm not 100% on that). I loved Hades and Persephone's story. I though, "What is she doing now?" Would she have stayed with him? I don't think I'd stay with a guy who kidnapped me!
Q7. Do you find switching voices between young adult and adult difficult?
JK: I've only made one foray into adult, and that was Til the World Ends. I discovered the characters in mid-20s and struggled to write that genre. I don't do well writing adult characters. I love writing teens!
RV: No. At this point, I've written nine adult books, nine...ten ya. It's pretty even. No identity confusion.
GS: I haven't struggled switching. Overlapping deadlines will kill you, though. We're working on that. Their speech bled into another novel. And, like Rachel, my adult characters aren't very mature.
AC: I don't write adult, but I write middle grade. It's not very diffictult. The voice of the book is what is is.
KM: I only write young adult so no confusion here!

Q8. For Gena: How do you pick cool music for your characters?
GS: It's the music I listen to. It's really easy to insert my own likes.

Q9: Where do you find inspiration?
AC: Movies. Music. Books. I write the books I want to read.
GS: Those and sometimes, dreams. I was driving with author Jill Martin to Texas, and we had a conversation about how men are pigs, and women are the slaughterhouse. With Alice in Zombieland, the title came first.
RV: What was the question again? I'm inspired by the calendar, the deadline. I no longer accept blind book contracts. For those of you who don't know, a blind book is where a publisher makes a deal for a certain number of books about anything. Now, I only write books that I want.
KM: I put bits of myself in all my characters. I twist circumstances of my life. It's like an alternate history for myself.
JK: It changes book to book. Meghan came first. I knew it was a fairy book. At first, Megahn was a full fairy. No, only half! And her father is Oberon! The world and the fairies evolved around Meghan. With the Blood of Eden series, the world came first. In this horrible world, what kind of character would survive? Someone strong, stubborn, jaded. I'm a big geek; I get ideas from anime, video games, comic books, manga. There are always bits of video game and anime guys.

Q10. For Rachel. Why banshees and reapers? And which location for Cowboys stadium?
RV: Because I wanted write ya, and my editor asked to try. I thought about doing a ya version of Shifters, the then I realized there were no ya banshees. Todd came on page and brought reapers. It was originally the stadium in Irving, but then Arlington stadium was being built, and I had to change it. I actually got to look at the blueprints to get the information right.

Q11: My question (!!): Novellas are huge right now. What are your thoughts on them? Will you ever write any again?
KM: I have one called "Crossing the Line" that just came out. I thought it was going to kill me. I don't want to hear anyone say it's easy to write a novella. It's hard to wrap up a whole story in such a short time. Sometimes it's 10,000 words, sometimes even shorter. I would rather not do short stories, but never say never. I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
AC: I have another novella called "The Goddess Hunt." I wrote it after the whole series. I knew there was a potential fourth book using the characters from "The Goddess Hunt." (BLOGGER NOTE: This story is about Castor and Pollux, which is one of my favorite myths ever so I got really excited hearing this. I hope it happens!!!) With The Goddess Legacy, I plotted, outlined, and wrote the first story in two weeks. Then the next one was due in two weeks and the next, two weeks after that. Persephone's novella was about 30,000 words and was late. Then James's story was late. I was then shipped off to sign 5,000 books for Walmart. The release was moved up from December to October to July. That's why Henry's is so short. I had no idea it would tie the whole series together.
GS: So. Easy. *grins at Katie* Haven't written one in quite a while. It is hard to make a world real in such short space. I want room to play.
RV: So hard! I have another short story for the fourth omnibus from Todd's pov, and I have one under contract.
JK: Short stories are hard, but they can tie up loose ends. I don't know if I will write another. I have a very chaotic writing schedule. But if you guys want us to write short stories, we'll see.

One of the authors asked the audience why we like short stories, and the general consensus was yes, they tie up loose ends or show cute or good scenes.

Q12: Who are your favorite authors?
AC: J.K. Rowling If you know me, huge hp fan. Running joke. Cqn relate all to hp
GS: Presley Cole. Roxanne [somebody]. (BLOGGER NOTE: I missed Roxanne's last name! So sorry!)
RV: Stephen King, Holly Hlack. There's no real influence, but Holly is genius. Her writing has both purpose and beauty. It's flawless. I once got to read some of her stuff right off her computer. It took all day for 5 paragraphs, but it was perfect.
KM: Gena!!! Stephen King, S.E. Hinton.
JK: Neil Gaimon!
Q13: What would you do if you weren't an author?
AC: Waiting tables. Screenwriting. Both cause it's Hollywood so...both.
GS: I would be Ryan Gosling's yes girl. He would ask me if he looks good today, and I would say yes. He would ask me if he should go shirtless today and I would say...yes. I held many, many jobs. Writing was it for me.
RV: I dunno. Trying to be published? It never occured that I couldnt do it. I used to teach English, but I don't think I'd still be doing that.
KM: *pulls out a worn out stuffed animal* This is Perry the platypus. I'm a mom! My priorities are a little different. I have Perry with me so my daughter knows that I'm always thinking of her.
JK: Training animals. Dog trainer before full time author. Dogs, horses, parrots, cat.
KM: Could you train my cat not to eat Perry the platypus? His feet are missing because the cat ate them.

Q14: Do you have any writing tips for aspiring authors?
JK: Write. I know, shocking. Keep writing. It took me years to get good enough to be published. Work at it. Persist. You will be rejected.
KM: Ditto. Also, I joined writing groups. They're very helpful!
RV: All of that is valid. Get a second opinion. If it's not valid, get a third opinion. If those opinions agree, you might want to listen.
GS: I absolutely agree. Get opinions. And read read read.
AC: Look at critiques not as "you suck" but as learning and growing. Change your attitude aboutt critiques. Yes, they are hard to read. Take one day to be defensive. Scream. Make a voodoo doll. The next day, listen. Learn what authors are doing right as you read and try to emulate them.

Q15. Do you have any guilty pleasure for bribes?
BLOGGER NOTE: There was a general reluctance from the authors to answer this question, but after much prodding...
JK: I don't have guilty pleasure. I'm pretty upfront. Maybe caffeine or chocolate will get me wired, and I might tell you things I shouldn't. *thought about it* Pretty much caffeine.
KM: I'm probably not typical writer. I actually go long periods of time without writing. No bribes. I do love kissing scenes, though, so I make a deal that if I write this much, I can write a kissing scene.
RV: Wash my car for me. That is the worst.
GS: I will write for food.
AC: British boys with long hair.

At this point, the Q&A came to a close so while the B&N staff and the authors were getting settled for the signing, I took a look inside the lovely goodie bag!
Yes. A copy of The Iron Traitor. Which I promptly got signed. Thanks SO MUCH to Harlequin Teen, Julie, Aimée, and the other authors for making this happen! I got to go through the line pretty early on, but I hung out with Jasmine & Marissa until the end for pictures!

L-R: Aimée, Gena, Rachel, me, Katie & Julie!

It wouldn't be an event transcript without some goodies!
Open to: US/Canada
Ends: Midnight CST July 26
Prize: signed set of The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa. This includes The Iron King, The Iron Daughter, The Iron Queen, and The Iron Knight. If you're looking for books from Aimée, Gena, Rachel, or Katie, I have them, but you're just going to have to wait a little while for those. Keep checking the Giveaway tab for current giveaways and (sometimes) clues for upcoming giveaways. I always have a few scheduled!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. This was such an interesting post! I had a lot of fun reading about the various answers the authors gave. :) Totally makes me want to go check out all of their books!

    Thanks for sharing, and have fun reading your copy of THE IRON TRAITOR. :D

    1. They were a lot of fun. I particularly enjoy events where the authors have been together for a little bit. Those events are funnier and just a lot closer-feeling than random panels of authors, not that those aren't cool too, if you've read my BTS recap. And I definitely plan on enjoying Iron Traitor!!

  2. Me give you a book recommendation? This is different haha. Hmm....maybe I'll stick with the veggie (; I'm getting ready to read The Reluctant Fundamentalist. I was bored and had BBC news on SiriusXM one day in the car and heard them discussing the movie (I'm not sure if they're doing documentary style or what, I only heard part of the interview) It's from the POV of a Muslim immediately after 9/11 living in the US and him stepping back and reevaluating his life/faith, etc. It sounded slightly interesting and something out of the ordinary to read, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

    1. Sounds interesting. I'll give that a look!

  3. This was amazing to read! You're so lucky you went and that goodie bag?! *dies* lol.

    Ok, book recommendations. It's being released soon, I just read the arc. Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young. sO GOOD! You gotta read it!

    Dee @ Dee's Reads

    1. I was very, very, very lucky, yes. I just got a DRC of Just Like Fate so I'm glad to hear it's a great read!

  4. I LOVE THE IRON FEY!!!! Totally fan girling right now. But really, I adored this series along with The Blood of Eden books. As for the book recommendations I would say Everneath by Brodi Ashton and Poison Study by Maria Snyder if you like YA Fantasy, or Hopeless which is a really good contemporary romance novel.

    1. Blood of Eden is truly incredible. I love it so much! I actually met Brodi back in February when she was on tour for Everbound. I really like that series. I haven't read Poison Study or Hopeless, though, so I'll check them out!

  5. Hopeless and Losing Hope, Everneath series, Arouse by Nina Lane. I've read so many good ones so far this year.

    Also, I LOVE this series! And I loved reading the Q and A section above. :)

    1. Apparently Hopeless is really good if two of you are rec'ing it! I'll go check it on goodreads now!

  6. Definitely the Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter! I cannot wait for the last book in the series! Or maybe the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand. They're both great books!

    1. Holly Anne, we must have very similar tastes because I have read, and loved, both of those series! United We Spy is going to SLAY when it gets released in September.

  7. Yeah, the only books I'm going to read will most likely be the rereadathon for the Gallagher girls soon, but I also like Sarah Dessen books. Also, Spies & Prejudice I've been meaning to read...

    1. I absolutely love the Gallagher Girls books. I don't have enough time for the reread, but I'm super stoked about United We Spy!

  8. SO MANY BOOKS! Have you read The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau - it is the best dystopian I've ever read and all sorts of epic :)

    1. I haven't heard of The Testing, but I'll totally look it up. I love dystopian right now!

  9. Great post, definitely a fun read.

    Books I recommend: Lichgates by S.M. Boyce and Shiloh by Helena Sorensen

    Also if I had to be a vegetable, I would be peas by default as my last name is Pease. I always use the veggie as a way to help people pronounce my last name. :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. Thanks, Maria! I will check both of themout. And I love your vegetable/last name!

  10. I would be a broccoli! Because I like how they look like mini trees ahahha. On another note, I'd recommend The Diatance Between Us by Kasie West since it's such a cute and fluffy read!

    1. Linda, I absolutely adore broccoli, especially with cheese. I haven't read Kasie's books, yet, but I will get to meet her on Friday, which I'm really excited about.

  11. I suggest Shatter Me, I absolutely adored this book. If you have already read this book then I suggest Sweet Evil as well.

    1. Loved Shatter Me. I've been very fortunate to meet Tahereh several times this year. Haven't read Sweet Evil, though.

  12. Oh you have to totally read these two series!!!
    # 1 Hopeless Magic by Rachael Higginison
    and this other awesome series

    #1 Inescapeable by Amy A Bartol


    Like YOU really have to read these books !!!!!!

  13. Not sure if you've already read it but I loved the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull. :D

  14. Lol. :) If I was a vegetable I would want to be a carrot since carrots are really the only vegetable I truly like. As for recommendations, I am currently reading The Breathless Trilogy By, Maya Banks. I highly recommend it.

    1. Yum! I love carrots! Thanks for the rec, Tanisha!

  15. Anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout! I am in LOVE with her Lux and Covenant series. They literally have my emotions going haywire when ever I am reading them. I definitely recommend them.

    1. Out of every single books/series ever written, Lux is by-far the most recommended to me. Clearly, I really need to read it asap.

  16. I just finished The Girl of Fire and Thorns and in the middle of The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson. And have enjoyed the series so far.

    1. I met Rae last month and had an amazing conversation with her...but I haven't read her books yet! She was really nice about the whole thing.