Last week, I headed to my first YA reading in SF to see a host of YA superstars, including David Levithan and Andrea Cremer, reading from their new book, Invisibility, and Margaret Stohl, reading from Icons. Margaret's co-writer, Kami Garcia, was also in attendance to speak to the process behind Beautiful Creatures.
The event was put on by Not Your Mother's Book Club through Books Inc. and was awesome--eclipsed only by the fact that I had the pleasure of meeting the very talented (and fellow Bay Area writer) Malinda Lo (Ash, Adaptation) for coffee beforehand, along with some of the other authors. Let's just say that sitting at coffee with Malinda, David and Andrea and telling them about The After Girls and them nodding and asking questions and saying congratulations on publishing my first book was a little surreal. And one of those pleasant little reminders that yes, I've published a book and in a weird way I'm one of those author people now.
But back to the reading. It was delightful. David and Andrea gave me chills as they read as two characters from Invisibility, a story about a boy who's invisible, and a girl who is the only person in the world who can see him. What a great concept for a romance! Margaret also read from Icons, a dystopian story where every character has a different uncontrollable emotion that turns out to be their strength. In a way, it sounded a bit like The Giver.
All of the authors were hilarious, and please go see any of them if they read in a city near you. You will laugh at David referring to himself as a bit of a book slut (he does write with a lot of different people), and you will be absolutely enchanted by Andrea's bubbly personality and passionate defense of all her favorite magical creatures. And seeing Kami and Margaret riff off each other is just awesome. But what I found most interesting was when their description of their writing processes--especially when writing with a partner.
David and Andrea took turns writing chapters and sending them to each other, with little editing along the way and discussion of where it was going, apart from when they had to work out some of the magic rules of the main character's invisibility.
On the opposite end, Margaret and Kami planned out their whole world in advance and had epic battles over who could keep in what lines as they were writing. So it seems like writing with a partner is just like writing on your own--everyone does it differently.
All in all a delightful night and a wonderful welcome into the YA community here in SF!