Monday, October 7, 2013

Collingswood Book Festival-Part 2

The Collingswood Book Festival had tons of used books for sale. 

There were even books about a certain Doctor.

I didn’t get a chance to browse the used books as much I have in the past. I had a lot of people/authors I wanted to talk to or hear talk, and most of the used book areas were out in the open melting sun. Plus, I wanted to do my best to support and buy books from the local authors who were at the festival.

My favorite part of the book festival is the chance to hear authors speak as well as the chance to ask them questions.
I’m a huge fan of middle grade and young adult books. It is also my genre of choice when it comes to writing so I was glad to spend the afternoon in the Teen Tent.
I read author Rose Kent’s book, Rock Road, prior to the festival.
I loved hearing her explain her writing process as it helped me give a name to what I usually do, brain doodling.  Usually when I hear something interesting I start asking myself a lot of questions and then I try to answer the questions and sometimes I find enough answers that I have a story.  I also liked her explanation of how she throws snowballs at her characters, meaning that she works on adding problems/conflicts into her stories.  It was a great way of explaining the idea of conflict in stories to kids.
There were two author panels in the afternoon.  The first was called, Publishing Your First Novel.  My fellow middle grade/young adult writers, Amy and Shelley, hung out to hear the panel too.  The authors were
-Alison Ashley Formento –Twigs
-Kit Grindstaff- The Flame in the Mist
-Evan Roskos- Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets – This was the only book that I read prior to the festival.  I absolutely loved it!  The writing is fantastic, all of the characters are memorable, and it deals with subject matter that makes me wish I had the chance to read it when I was in high school.

All of the authors on this panel were very funny.  They were honest, while being encouraging, and I think Kit’s advice, that chocolate is the answer for just about everything, was pretty on the nose.  
 I bought Twigs by Alison Ashley Formento (who also writes picture books that I may need to purchase for some little people gifts) and I’d like to eventually get around to buying and reading Kit Grindstaff’s book, The Flame in the Mist. Her main character has telepathic golden rats named, Noodle and Pie. 
David Lubar’s book is a collection of short horror stories for young adults, which seemed intriguing.  It is especially intriguing because, according to David Lubar, there isn’t a huge market for young adult short stories. I plan on checking out his book as well. I think it will be a good book to study since I have been struggling with trying to write short stories.
The second panel was called, What’s the Buzz in YA Fiction-Fantasy or Realism? Amy and I stayed to hear this panel. The authors on the panel were
Elisa Ludwig – Pretty Crooked
James Mascia- High School Heroes


This was an eclectic group.  You had one story that seems like Robin Hood meets gossip girl, one about kids who form an army to fight zombies, one fantasy story  (which I had wanted to read after she was at the festival last year and never got around to it but really need to this year)and a story about high school superheroes.  This was a very good panel as well. They discussed the current and often unpredictable trends in young adult fiction. The authors on this panel were equally encouraging.  Sometimes, published authors can make aspiring authors feel like we’re the kids and they are the adults.  The treatment can feel a bit condescending, but every author at the festival that I met, talked to, or who was on one of the panels, was nothing but friendly and encouraging without even a hint of loftiness.  They were all genuinely nice people as well as being talented writers.

Despite the wilting heat, it turned out to be a great day and it was another fine book festival.  If you missed it, the Collingswood Book Festival is already set for next year. October 11th 2014.






1 comment:

  1. Wilting heat? It seemed like one of the dog days of August. I love going to book fairs, but unfortunately this time I needed to go to Stockton College's Family day to see my daughter.
    I think chocolate is the answer to many writing dilemmas. Thanks, Sarah.