a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Monday, October 1, 2012


This Saturday my husband and I attended the Anderson’s Bookshops 9th Annual Young Adult Literature Conference.  Here are some highlights:

First of all, we got to each lunch with authors T.M. GOEGLEIN and PAUL GRIFFIN.  What an awesome experience!  They talked about the author visit workshop they do and how it is about getting students to recognize that they each have a story to tell.  They had me at story.  PAUL GRIFFIN even signed copies of his books to “21 Voices Strong,” the name of the class I invented.  I am going to work hard to make an author visit happen for this year’s class.  

On where he gets his ideas: It’s like there are hooks in your brain and things get caught on them.

Questions he asks himself about every line he writes: Is this compelling? Is this gripping? Is this moving the story forward?

On his readers: The more people who read your book, the more you exist as a writer.

Two questions he explored while writing his latest book Every Day:
1.    What would it be like to not have a set body, just a self, with no physical manifestation of that?  No culture, no race, no gender, etc.
2.    Can you love somebody who changes every day?

On incorporating paranormal/magical realism into his work: You can illuminate real life by showing the alteration of real life.

On working with so many different characters in a single novel: Everybody has a story inside of them. 

On sharing all books with all readers:  We have to uphold the fact that books are as much windows as they are mirrors.

3 books he recommends you read:
1.    The Disenchantments
2.    Endangered
3.    Ask the Passengers

On work that inspired her to write/draw contemporary realistic graphic novels: the comic strip For Better or For Worse by Lynn Johnson and the t.v. show Daria

On her new book Drama: True high school events inspired many scenes, including the twin brothers who were based on a real set of twins she knew.

On her writing process: She drafts in thumbnails (rough outlines of images with words boxed out).  Her editor edits in this stage as well.


On her writing process: She drafts story with dialogue and all, but then inserts brackets that might say: [insert fight scene here].  She adds fight scenes at the end because they are most challenging for her to write. 

On social media: She enjoys that it allows her to interact with her minions.

On becoming a writer: Referred to library as being made of bully kryptonite.  Was bullied as a kid.  Wrote two books that were rejected hundreds of times.  Then decided to write what she knows:
1.  how to be unpopular,
2. teenagers (believes people hit the age they are and that their bodies keep growing old and betray them), and
3. vampires. 
So, she created Vladmir Tod, the unpopular teen vampire.  Soon realized that if she was going to write his story, she would have to write her own story.

On writing fantasy vs. contemporary realistic fiction: No fiction reader is really reading about reality.

On her childhood: “I remember when I was a girl.  I was a small and black-hearted creature.”

On what inspired her to write fantasy: Mom would manage her behavior at a young age by doing things like pointing to the woods while driving and saying, “Did you see that?   You just missed it!  It was a fairy!” to distract her from hitting her brother in the back seat. 

On writing fantasy vs. contemporary realistic ficton: Fantasy is more universal, doesn’t become dated.

On social media: Wants to interact with her readers first and foremost through her novels.

Something she said that was just plain poetic: “Brutal and beauty lie next to each other.”



  1. What an absolutely marvelous group of people to hang out with, Christy. I am so jealous, but! Maggie Stiefvater is coming to Denver this Saturday so I get a little piece of your experience. Thanks for sharing your notes of good words too!

  2. Wow--I am jealous. What a great group of authors to meet. I loved all the take aways you got from this experience too. I've got to get out of my little corner of the world. I love living in a small rural area, but I do miss out on things like this. Thanks for sharing!