Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Austin Teen Book Festival 2011 Recap

On Saturday, I attended the Austin Teen Book Festival...where, as my fiancee explained to a friend, I was pretending to be a "teenager". Actually I wasn't since there were many other adults there too, but there were many many teenagers. And it made me happy to see so many teen readers. The purpose of the festival is to promote teen reading and connnect readers with YA authors, which is exactly what it did.

This is the first of many pictures to come in this post. You have been warned.

This was my first time at ATBF, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Luckily I had recently come across some fellow bloggers who were going and were even a part of the volunteer planning committee for the festival. (Shout out to Jen from I Read Banned Books and Stephanie P.) They and many more TX bloggers and book-lovers were going to meet up the night before the festival to hang out and visit. I decided to go since A) I like meeting new people who share interests with me and B) I could get some more info about the workings of the festival.

There were 26 of us at the restaurant!
It was good getting to know some of them and I rather enjoyed myself! I also felt better prepared for the festival, and was glad to know other adults who read YA were attending ATBF as well. I saw many of them throughout the day on Saturday.

I arrived at the festival in next morning and immediately ran into Nancy and Shannan from Girls in the Stacks. Nancy was in her steampunk outfit, so we posed for a photo.

Aren't we adorable?
After that, I ran into Miranda from Just Read Books and we went to buy some books. Since I was on a budget, I could only buy three books: Firelight by Sophie Jordan, Forgive My Fins by Tera Lyyn Childs, and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. (I also brought three books with me to get signed: Sisters Red & Sweetly by Jackson Pearce and Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs.)

My signed books, signed posters, and some festival swag
The keynote speaker of the festival was Scott Westerfeld, author of the Uglies series and Leviathan series. Miranda and I were still in the book line when he started, so we had to sit on the floor at an odd angle when we joined the audience. (And the lights were still out so forgive the dark, blurry photos below.) He talked about his books, how he thought up the concept for his Leviathan series, and why that series is illustrated. He also shared with us various fan art photos.

Some "steampunkers" look on as Scott Westerfeld talks about his books
Can you see him? I couldn't really either, but I could certainly hear him!
Then it was onto the panels! There were five panels in total, but you could only go to three of them. I picked the "Supernatural Suspense," "Pen Fatale," and "Alternaworlds" panels. Each panel had different authors who shared things about their books/writing process and answered many questions. 

Supernatural Suspense panel: (Left to Right) Cynthia Leitich-Smith, Jackson Pearce, Heather Brewer, Sophie Jordan, Tera Lynn Childs, Andrea Cremer
Pen Fatale panel: (Left to Right) Margo Rabb, Alyson Noel, Mary Peason, Jessica Brody, Gabrielle Zevin
Alternaworlds panel: (Left to Right) Brian Yansky, Jonathan Maberry, Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson, Rosemary Clement-Moore (she's on the floor with the audience members asking questions)
Here are three things I learned from the panels: 

1) Authors are often nerds who like hugs
2) The world without chocolate (or bread) is a scary place
3) Writers are like zombies: they have to be persistent! 

Heh! Here are three more serious things I learned: 

1) You can get inspiration to write from everywhere: just look around, 
2) Everyone's writing process is different: there is no wrong or right way
3) Your second novel is always the hardest because you have that first one to "compare" it to

And after the last panel...it was time for the book signing! O.O Each author had a separate line, so you had to pick and choose which line you would go to first. Many people were swapping books with others in different lines so they could get their books signed by different authors. (Thanks again to Tillie, who swapped books with me.) The lines were super long and the room was packed. There was so much excited and adrenaline in that room! I was able to get all the authors whose books I had to sign them, and then I even got a few more authors to sign my ATBF "poster" and pose for a picture.

Tera Lynn Childs and Me

Andrea Cremer and Me

Cynthia Leitich-Smith and Me

Jackson Pearce and Me

Jessica Brody and Me

Maureen Johnson and Me

Rosemary Clement-Moore and Me

Scott Westerfeld and Me

Sophie Jordan and Me
In some of these pictures I may look scared, but I was actually just super excited to be meeting the authors and rather exhausted after the long day. I had a blast though and hope to go again next year. I met some great authors and discovered some others that I have to check out their books. My to-read list is forever growing.

One more thing about the festival before I end this post: the theme was Steampunk in honor of the Leviathan series. So, of course, there were many things steampunk ranging from costumes to vendors to music artists!

These costumed fellows were a part of the steampunk vendors
Steampunk vendors selling tons of Leviathan themed trinkets
Steampunk musical artist: Darwin Prophet
 (This is a video of the "Flying Whale Ship" balloon the steampunk vendors were selling in honor of Leviathan. In the video, you will hear me and Miranda talking as I tried to film it while we waited in line for lunch. You can also hear a sampling of Darwin Prophet in the background.)

That my friends concludes my ATBF 2011 post. For more information about the festival or books I mentioned, click on the links I have provided above.

Anyone else go to the festival? Or read any of the authors I mentioned?

(Elvish Farewell)

1 comment:

  1. My girlfriend JEM (from Can I Get a Side of Reality With That) lives near there and went and she too loved it. (she's a writer, too and delightful. I'd link you to her blog so you can go compare notes---she just did a recap on it too--but I don't know how. I'm lame. But, you can either google her blog title, above, or if you follow my link to my blog she is on my sidebar blog roll.)
    Man, you Texan's get the best stuff! I'm green with envy.

    I'm glad so many teens spent their Saturday at a book fair. :) And tha tyou had a wonderful time.