Event Recap: Dark Days with Lauren Oliver, Claudia Gray & Dan Wells

Last week I was lucky enough to make it the the Dark Days Event at Vroman's Bookstore. I got there about 15 minutes early and there was already a small crowd. I bought my books and waited for the fun to start. Lauren Oliver (Delirium, Pandemonium), Claudia Gray (Evernight series, Fateful) and Dan Wells (Partials) all came to talk about their new releases and answer questions from the crowd. I thought this was a really great event. The authors were well spoken, smart, and very funny. I may have bought too many books. :)

I am terrible at taking notes but here are some topics that were touched upon and what the authors had to say about them. (and this is all from memory so please don't quote me on this)

l to r: lauren oliver, claudia gray, dan wells
Cliffangers (This question was directed to all the authors with a special nod to Lauren)

Lauren Oliver (LO): Lauren said that she doesn't plan for her books to be cliffhangers but that sometimes it's just the way the story needs to be told. She also said that a writer's job was to pose a question to the reader that only the writer could answer. Maybe that question would be answered in the next chapter and another question raised, and so on, so that the reader wants to keep reading
Claudia Gray (CG): Claudia talked about an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation she watched when she was younger before cliffhangers were popular in television. She talked about how she and all her friends gathered to watch it and were shocked by the cliffhanger ending. She said that it was hard waiting for the next season's episode but that the experience is one that she would not trade for anything.
Dan Wells (DW): Why is every episode of a television show now a cliffhanger? Because it works! Cliffhangers get readers to come back for more:

How do you write a good romance?

LO: Writing a good romance isn't just about writing the perfect guy or girl. It was creating characters whose cracks and fissures matched up with another person's. Your crazy works with their crazy. 
CG: A good romance should have two strong individual characters. They have to be strong characters in their own right in order to make the reader want to read about them.
DW: To have a good romance, you have to make the reader fall in love with both characters. If the reader doesn't love them, they won't understand why the other person falls in love with them. But if the reader loves the character, then it'll make sense and be believable that the other person would fall in love with them. (I totally agree with this one.)

Advice to teen writers & favorite books

LO: Advice is to read and write as much as possible. Write every day if you can. Learn when to take and when to ignore criticism.
Favorite books - Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot, Middlesex), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
CG: Advice to teen readers is to read as much as possible. You don't have to take notes or break down what you read, but just read. Anything you can get your hands on. As you read more, you'll start to notice what things you like and draw you into a story that will improve your own writing.
Favorite books - Gone With The Wind, Roald Dahl, A Little Princess
DW: Dan urged writers to check out his podcast, Writing Excuses, in which he and three other authors, give out writing advice on a regular basis.
Favorite books - Perfume by Peter Suskind, Dune by Frank Herbert

What's next?

LO: Finishing up book 3 of the Delirium series (titled Requiem). Also working on an adult novel that's being shopped and then back to more YA books.
CG: Claudia is working on her new Spellcaster series about witches.
DW: Dan is halfway done with another book right now that he paused to write Partials. After that he will be working on the sequel to Partials

I am so glad I was able to attend this event. I also talked with lots of fun bloggers, including Nicole from Reader's Antidote who has a really nice event recap here. Blogger About To Read also did a livestream of the event. Head on over to her blog and check out her recap and the livestream video here for the entire panel. Thanks to Vroman's for hosting another awesome event!

Find Lauren Oliver at http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com
Find Claudia Gray at http://claudiagray.com
Find Dan Wells at http://www.fearfulsymmetry.net