Wednesday, May 15, 2013

YA in LA: Summer Lovin' Tour, Part Deux

Almost exactly a year ago, I went to my first author event, the Summer Lovin' Tour with Jenny Han, Jessi Kirby, and Morgan Matson. When I found out it was coming back again this year with even more authors, I knew I had to go. Of course, like last year, there was the little matter of the NBA PLAYOFFS delaying me, but I was only 15 minutes late!

The Summer Lovin' Tour 2013 is back and bigger than before. (Missed you, Jenny Han! I should have made a "For Jenny" shirt, a la Lori and Coral in the Real World/Road Rules Challenge.) This year, the authors were:

By the time I got there, the authors were each introducing their books. After that, Sarah Ockler read passages selected by each other and the audience guessed who had written it. The turnout was small this time, but really, there were two potential elimination games going on. I almost didn't make it. However, this didn't deter the authors and they gamely participated in discussions. One great thing about smaller crowds is that discussion is more relaxed, which leads to unexpected topics, like embarrassing moments. If you're going to any of the other dates on this tour, ask Jessi Kirby about the time she was in charge of the boys basketball team. Or Kimberly Derting about the email meant for her husband. Or Shannon Messenger about the time she met Arthur Levine.

One audience member asked which character the authors would be in each other's books. Sarah Ockler immediately answered that she would be Honor from Jessi Kirby's In Honor. If you've read In Honor and/or watched Friday Night Lights, you know why: Rusty/Tim Riggins. There was also a fun discussion about who the authors stalk/fangirl over. Sarah said she couldn't breathe when she met Sarah Dessen. Jessi mentioned how, when she was writing Moonglass (her debut novel) before she had a publishing deal, she saw Sarah's Twenty Boy Summer in the library and stopped dead because her story featured a beach and red sandglass. She immediately got the book and started reading it. Even more of a coincidence, her character was named Anna Ryan and the main character in Twenty Boy Summer is Anna Reiley. After she finished reading the book, Jessi emailed Sarah with the subject heading, "We are literary soulmates." Sarah remembered the email and they met for the first time at a writers retreat last year.

Sarah also got a great email from another fan of Twenty Boy Summer who actually wrote a song about the book. Her name was Jude Hernandez and she mentioned how people had trouble pronouncing her name so she went by Jude Henderson at times. That stuck with Sarah and the name of the main character in The Book of Broken Hearts is... Jude Hernandez. How cool is that? BRB. (Dear Melina...)
Another question was what the authors are working on now.
  • Sarah Ockler: Sarah is working on a book that was called Love and Other Internet Disasters. The name is going to changed. It's a contemporary story about a girl named Lucy who is in love with her best friend's boyfriend. Her best friend ends up getting sick and asks Lucy to take her boyfriend to the prom. Even worse, the boyfriend kisses Lucy at the after party. Even worse than that, someone takes a picture and uses Lucy's phone to post the picture onto Lucy's Facebook page. The pictures go viral and Lucy is branded a slut.
  • Suzanne Young: Suzanne is working on copy edits of The Treatment, which comes out next year. She's also working with Cat Patrick on a contemporary book, Just Like Fate, which comes out in August.
  • Shannon Messenger: Shannon is working on the Let the Sky Fall series, as well as her Keeper of the Lost Cities series. The Keeper is much longer with at least 60 characters, so it takes up much more of her time.
  • Jessi Kirby: Jessi's next book doesn't have a title yet but it's a contemporary. The main character is a girl whose boyfriend tragically died. His family donates all his organs. She starts to write letters to all the recipients and they all write her back except one -- the person who received his heart. She goes outside all the regulations because she becomes obsessed with who got the heart since that's the most important one to her. She just wants to see him but they end up meeting and he falls for her and she wonders if it's him or the heart. She also has to deal with whether to tell him the truth about how she found it. This will be released in 2015.
  • Morgan Matson: Morgan just turned in her book. It's about a girl named Emily and her best friend, Sloan. Sloan moves away and doesn't tell her. Two weeks later, she gets a list of 13 things that relate to things that are in their history. She starts going through the list and doing the things listed, like stealing something, because she thinks it will bring her back to Sloan. Morgan also has another series coming out in 2016 about four friends who spend every summer together on an island. Everything changes when they turn 16. Right now there are 3 books planned in the series, but it may turn into 4.
  • Kimberly Derting: Kimberly finished revisions on the third Pledge book, which will come out in January. It's her fave. She couldn't reveal the title yet but she said that somebody dies. She also sold a new trilogy to Harper Collins -- a contemporary sci-fi. It's about a girl who vanishes when she's 16 and is gone for 5 years. She has no memory of where she's been but when she comes back 5 years later, her life is completely different but she is still 16. She's trying to fit into her new world. Her dad saw her disappear but people didn't believe him so he's an alcoholic now and her parents are divorced. The title of this series is The Taking.
That's it for me. I'm passing the recap baton to Flannery from The Readventurer because I know she's going to the Seattle event. The other dates for the tour are: 

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