Tuesday, October 2, 2018

2018 Boston Teen Author Festival Wrap Up & Giveaway

I was able once again able to attend the Boston Teen Author Festival last month, (you can see last year's wrap up HERE) and once again they put on a great day filled with books and fun panels. If you follow me on Instagram (@EasternSunset9) you have probably already seen some of the highlights I was posting to my story throughout the day.  I wanted to go a little more in depth with this wrap up.

 The day kicks off with a welcome panel introducing all 32 authors and their books with lightning rounds of questions, which always prove entertaining. 
The front row of authors were presented with the question: What would you and your main character do on a day off? The answers ranged from Museums, Disney, Shopping to Ferret racing (and everything in between including murder and mayhem)
The second row of authors were presented with the question: What would you do with your book's Love Interest? There were quite a few interesting answers here including of course book shopping, bars, netflix and to the more political with protests and registering to vote.
The back row authors were asked What would you do with your book's antagonist on a day off? Here is where some answers got very interesting, ranging from painting nails, foodie tours and music festivals to human sacrifices. The most entertaining answer was given by Mark Oshiro, who's contemporary book doesn't really have an antagonist other than racism and hate, so Mark and Racism would have had quite riot filled day travelling around giving off hate.

After that bit of fun, it was off to the panels, this year the set up was a little different and instead of having panels repeat, there were 4 unique panels offered each session, so it was extremely difficult to decide which panels to attend. 

The first panel I attended was To Be Continued in which the authors discussed their approaches and the various pluses and minuses of writing series.  On the panel from left to right are Patrice Caldwell, the moderator for the round, Sasha Alsberg (co-author of Zenith), Julie C. Dao (author of A Forest of a Thousand Lanterns), Gabe, writing as Ava Jae, author of Beyond the Red Trilogy), and Kiersten White (author of And I Darken Trilogy & The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein).  This was really an informative panel with some really great authors.  
They discussed how it was difficult to write series, how each book had to be satisfying on its own but still lead readers to want to continue reading the series.  Also discussed is what happens when a book is submitted as a stand alone and then extended to a series, and the difficulty of taking a completed story and extending it; they often look back at minor details or characters that were throw away in a single book but then develop them more for the second and third books, making them relevant (and the authors for being brilliant adding that foreshadowing to the first book).  
Kiersten White had an interesting view of duology format versus trilogy.  With a duology a story arc format is to ask a question in the first book and answer it in the second book.  With a trilogy the format is to establish characters in the first book and give them what they want, then in the second book present a change that will have them questioning or changing their minds, and then the third book is to resolve the aftermath of those changes. I will definitely be reading duologies and trilogies in the future to see if this holds true.
They were then posed the question, what is the best part and the worst part about writing a series.  Kiersten White responded that she enjoys being able to invest (and getting the readers to invest) so much in the characters, and she stated the worst part was that by the end she was so sick of the characters.  Gabe said that the build up of expectations were the worst for them, particularly the dread for book two and the hardest part for them was find a way to bring it all to a conclusion at the end of the series, finding a way to bring it all together in a single book. Sash Alsberg stated that both the best and worst part was seeing the development in her writing and story telling abilities as the series progressed, yet still trying to make it all flow and match writing style. Julie C. Dao made a really good point that when writing the second book, it is difficult because you can't just write off the cuff anymore, developing the story as you write, you have to stick to details and facts that you established in the first book. 

The second panel I decided to attend was called New Rules, where the authors were meant to discuss the power struggles between stasis and change in Fantasy and how it can be a commentary on real life.  In this panel from left to right were Lyndsay Ely, the moderator (she is kind of hidden behind the person in the green shirt), Heidi Heilig (author of The Girl From Everywhere series and For a Muse of Fire), Adrienne Young (author of Sky in the Deep), Mary Pearson (she is hidden behind Makiia, author of the Remnant Chronicles & Dance of Thieves), and Makiia Lucier (author of Isle of Blood and Bone). As you can tell from this picture, it was a very crowded panel, and standing room only, they also did not have any microphones so it was very difficult to hear them.  I did get to make a few notations, though it really didn't seem to be the subject matter I was expecting. 
They started off discussing making the main characters of their young adult books relatable, but due to the worlds, time period or circumstances they might not make the same decisions as a teen would in today's world and time. They also discussed the difficulty of writing the characters making decisions that they themselves wouldn't have made in that situation, but they went on to point out that as the author, they are privy to more information than the characters are and have to write the decisions the characters make with the information that the character has at their disposal. They have to ask what the character in that situation, not them as the author, and this is where really getting to know the ins and outs of each character is so important.  

We had a brief break for lunch, and during that time I also went through the book sales line to get some finish copies and new books for the signing later.  They also had a photo booth wall set up so I decided to get my picture taken with my Frankenstein's Monster quote shirt and my copy of The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein. I am normally super camera shy but decided to get a picture anyway.

After lunch was panel 3 and I decided to go to the Sorry, Not Sorry panel in which the label of unlikeable character was discussed, especially when attached to a female character who is ambitious.  On this panel from left to right are Lygia Day Penaflor (author of All of This is True), Claire Legrand (author of Furyborn), Julie C. Dao (author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns), Kiersten White (author of And I Darken series and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein), and Rachel Strolle, the moderator.  
They started off the discussion talking about what makes a female character unlikeable, and how that term has seemed to have become synonymous with ambitious and complex female characters; and why they are popular in YA books.  Kiersten White pointed out that unlikeable characters are more compelling and keep the readers engaged and Lygia Day Penaflor continued that statement with the fact that 'good' characters are predictable, they always make the right decisions while unlikeable characters keep the reader on the edge of their seat waiting to find out what way they will pick in any situation because they have proven to be unpredictable. 
The panel went on to discuss our quickness to label a female character as unlikeable while a male character with some of the same traits (confidence, ambition, etc) is given a pass. They questioned why readers are so quick to label a strong female character as unlikeable. They also discussed whether there was a need to have a likable/good character to balance out an unlikeable one for marketability and to keep a story from going too far beyond a reader's threshold for unlikeability. 

I skipped the final panel to get in the signing line which was already nearly 100 deep. I knew it was going to be tight because I had less than an hour for signing, then had to get my car out of the parking garage before it was locked in for the night. 

Here was a bit of the crowd of the signing lines, while it was much more organized this year with all the lines going the same direction, instead of intermingling on either side, the authors were very close together and it prevented much ability to get a picture, especially when you are alone.  They also had a limit of 3 signings per person, if you wanted more than that signed you had to go to the back of the line (thank goodness for pre-ordering signed copies because there was no way I could get through Kiersten White's line to have the full And I Darken trilogy signed and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein).  

I was able to get Huntress signed by Melinda Lo, this book came out several years ago when I first started blogging, and it was the first female/female romance I remember reading, and it really made an impact on me.  I also managed to get Isle of Blood and Stone signed by Makiia Lucier, I have yet to read it but I am really looking forward to one more pirate type book.  I of course got all three And I Darken books signed by Kiersten White, I had finished reading the final book the night before the event and really loved it (more on that next week). I wasn't able to get to Julie C. Dao but I did pick up a copy of Forest of A Thousand Lanterns, which after hearing her talk about, I can't wait to read it and the companion coming out next year.  I already have a signed, personalized and annotated copy of Sky in the Deep from a pre-order, so instead I got Sky in the Deep signed and stamped for one of you! 

Which leads me now to my giveaway! As part of my month long 8th blogoversary, I wanted to allow you to get in on some fun! Included in the giveaway is everything in the picture above, a signed and stamped hardcover copy of Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young, an exclusive Boston Teen Author Festival tote bag along with several postcards, bookmarks and button pins that were included in the welcome packet given to attendees. 

There are a few rules:
~You must be 16 or older to enter 
~This giveaway is for my followers, as a thank you for sticking with me over the years, or joining me now, I, of course welcome new followers!
~Enter the giveaway via the below Rafflecopter methods (I will be checking the required items and if you are not a follower as required, your entry is void, I have had too many entries in the past looking for quick handouts and not actually interacting with my blog).
 ~Open internationally but the winner is responsible for any extra customs fees that your country may add on.
~Giveaway ends midnight on the 8th, winners will be selected the next day (I will be contacting you via email)


  1. Wow! Looks so fun! I hate when there’s so many good panels and you have to choose just one an hour. It’s tough! I won your giveaway last year and use the water bottle I got every day! I love it. I guess I’ll see if my luck holds and try to win again!

    1. Thanks Jenny, it is so much fun, maybe you will have to take a visit some year in September ;)

  2. Wooow all the panels looks fun! I never had the chance to go to book cons or bbook signing events because i was always so busy with school and part time job that I closed myself off and now when I'm free I've moved to a whole different country so i dont know where the local book con is too 😂 I'm hoping one day I can go to a panel like this one and I'm really excited to meet J.K Rowling or Leigh Bardugo or madeline miller or adam silvera or john green cause they're one of my favorite authors

    1. Thanks for stopping by Jun Ong! It is hard to squeeze time in for these events, it takes a lot of planning and arranging schedule. I honestly didn't even know if I could make it this year, I had to arrange for a sitter who could take my son to soccer practice and team pictures. I hope that you can meet at least a few of those authors, I know some of them do travel around the world when time permits.

  3. Those are amazing authors you met there!😍
    Never had a chance to attend book signing events because my favorite authors never visit my country😂
    I hope I can meet J.K Rowling, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J.Maas, Tameri Etherton, Marissa Meyer and Jojo Moyes one day💗

    1. That is tough Susanti Kim, keep your eyes open, it does seem that more and more authors are touring internationally, especially those big name authors. I am very fortunate to live so close to a popular city that attracts so many authors. Thank you for stopping by!

    2. yeap! I will always have faith😊 and yes, you're so lucky to meet so many amazing author💛

  4. This looks fun. I never attended any bookish events but I really want to. I want to meet Colleen Hoover and Sarah J. Maas.

    1. If you ever get a chance, definitely give it a shot, even if it is an author you aren't familiar with, I have found so many new and fun books because of these events. I do hope you get to meet Sarah J. Maas some time, I met her at a local event a few years ago and she was really entertaining to listen to.

  5. Thank you so much for the wonderful giveaway. My dream author event would be to meet J.K. Rowling or Kristin Cashore :)
    Megan S.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Megan! I hope you get to meet at least one of your dream authors. One of the very first author signings I went to was Kristin Cashore and it was awesome and it was really interesting hearing about her writing process.

  6. I live In BFE Wyoming so getting to any event would be wonderful at this point

    1. Having lived in middle of no where Wyoming, I can totally sympathize, it makes me so appreciative that I have these opportunities now. Granted, having grown up out there is probably why these crowded events in the cities stress me out so much, I find it difficult to deal with so many people all day long. I hope someone makes an appearance in your neck of the prairie soon!