So, I went to the Breathless Reads Tour at the Highlands Ranch Tattered Cover on February 11, where I saw FIVE awesome YA authors. The authors in attendance were (in no particular order): Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe, Ally Condie, author of Matched, Kirsten Miller, author of The Eternal Ones, Brenna Yohanna, author of The Replacement, and last but certainly not least, Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade.
It was such an amazing event for Colorado and I have a breakdown of what went on just for you guys:
At the beginning, there was a Q&A portion for the panelists and I'm posting some of the questions and answers. (Oh, and make sure to read the last sentence for some HUGE giveaway news ;))
Question: What job would you be doing if you weren't a famous writer?
Ally - would love to go back to teaching cross country.
Andrea - still has her day job as a history professor, but said when she was young she used to dream of being a marine biologist.
Brenna - often dreamed of being a FBI profiler, or either an editor.
Beth - recently turned in her resignation as an English teacher; she said it was very sad when she left and she would definitely go back to being a teacher if she wasn't an author.
Kirsten - has always had an interest in archeology, but before she was an author she worked in advertising (she helped on the Milk campaign!).
Question: Did you know how your book would end before you finished it?
Ally - when she was writing Matched, she knew she wanted it to end how it did, but some of the things she envisioned in the beginning were different by the end.
Andrea - knew from the beginning how it would end
Beth - the whole book is actually based on the last chapter, so yes, she knew how it would end
Kirsten - always starts out with crazy long outlines that always change, so it changed throughout
Brenna - she knew in an abstract way, but as she wrote the book, it told her the ending.
Question: How did you get the idea for your book?
Ally - She had always wondered what would happen if the government chose who you married, so she wrote a book about it
Kirsten - There is always one scene in every book she starts that she just has to get out on paper. For The Eternal Ones, she had an idea of a little girl sitting on the floor, having a conversation with her dolls and her dad walks by and hears something unusual; she is talking to someone older, having an adult conversation.
Beth - The end scene in Across the Universe came to her first, which was the basis for the whole book.
Andrea - Calla jumped into her head. She knew she was a wolf, she knew she was in trouble, but she didn't know why, so she just started answering those questions.
Brenna - Her books typically start with a character, but The Replacement started with a setting; she wanted a dark and creepy setting and thus The Replacement was born.
Question: Was your working title the final title of the book?
Ally - Yes, Matched was the working title
Andrea - No, the working title for Nightshade was Guardian
Kirsten - No, the working title for The Eternal Ones was You Again
Beth - No, the working title for Across the Universe was Long Way Home, Far Distant Star. She also revealed the name of the second books, Million Suns
Brenna - No, she wanted The Replacement to be called Fe, as in the periodic symbol for Iron, but she said no one got the joke.
Question: What are you working on?
Brenna - Space Between, epic demon love story, a stand alone
Beth - A Million Suns, second book of the Across the Universe series
Kirsten - All You Desire, second book of The Eternal Ones series
Andrea - Wolfsbane, which comes out July 26 2011, and Bloodrose, which comes out March 2012
Ally - Crossed, second book of the Matched series
Question: Do you believe in happy endings?
Ally - believes in hopeful endings
Andrea - believes in bittersweet endings
Kirsten - likes happy endings in other people's books
Beth - likes complicated endings
Brenna - likes bittersweet endings
Question: What's your advice to aspiring writers?
Ally - Take it seriously, learn the writing process, learn the publication process, research agents
Andrea - It's important to write what you are passionate about. Write the best book you can and your passion will come through. Oh, and important, be patient.
Kirsten - You need to have thick skin. You will be told you don't have what it takes to cut it, but just believe in yourself. Also, butt power, which is sitting your butt in a chair and WRITING.
Beth - Wrote ten novels before she was published, so be patient. She also said write what you are passionate about.
Brenna - Remember, revision is your friend, and finish what you start.
Question: Did you have any help writing your books?
Ally - had a support system and critique partners
Andrea - wrote alone, but had her brother there to support her and tell her it would be awesome
Kirsten - take snipits of other peoples lives and pay tribute to them through her writing
Beth - had critique partners
Brenna - had critique partners
I hope you enjoyed reading the Q&A! Also, I happen to have a signed copy of EACH book that I will be giving away on my blog. Stay tuned for entry rules, etc.