Hi, everyone! I just got home from the Summer Lovin' Book Tour at Once Upon A Time and I wanted to see if I could get this post out before all the thoughts fell out of my head. This was the first stop on the tour and it included authors Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer, Book of Broken Hearts), Suzanne Young ( A Need So Beautiful, The Program), Shannon Messenger (Let The Sky Fall), Jessi Kirby (In Honor, Golden), Morgan Matson (Second Chance Summer) and Kimberly Derting (The Pledge and The Body Finder series). Warning that this post is going to be pretty long, so settle in and get ready for some reading.
I battled traffic after work to get to OUaT and thought that I was going to be super late. Luckily I think a lot of people were caught in similar traffic and I had plenty of time to get there and buy my books beforehand. Crystal from Elegantly Bound Books and Nicole from The Reader's Antidote were also kind enough to save me a seat with them in the front row. The authors arrived soon after and the fun began.
The authors started off with a brief intro about themselves and their books. Suzanne and Morgan probably gave the most concise descriptions of their books while Sarah joked that she was terrible at describing her books and that she tended to ramble. After that, the authors decided to play a fun game with audience where they read a few lines from one of their books and we had to guess whose book it might have come from. Some of the excerpts were surprisingly hard to place but I did manage to guess correctly once. :)
|lt r: sarah, suzanne, shannon|
|l to r: jessi, morgan, kimberly|
Then Shannon asked the authors to share a really embarrassing story about themselves. Jessi told a story about how once, when she had been put in charge of the school basketball team, moved them from her classroom to outside because of the hot weather. She then proceeded to tell the team that "it's way hotter in my bedroom than out here" instead of saying "classroom." :) And Kimberly Derting told a story how she accidentally wrote an email to her editor telling her that they should make a long weekend with a winky-face :-) out of her last tour stop in Boston. The text, meant for her husband, confused her editor, who was very good natured about it.
When asked about what they were currently working on, the authors said:
Sarah Ockler is currently working on Love and Other Internet Disasters (to be retitled) which is a book about a girl who is blamed for an internet fiasco and becomes the school pariah. She must figure out who really committed the crime in order to restore her reputation.
Suzanne Young is currently working on the follow up to The Program, titled The Treatment. She is also working on Just Like Fate, a book she is co-authoring with Cat Patrick which was inspired by the film Sliding Doors. The book is about the two paths one young woman's life takes depending on what path she chooses.
Shannon Messenger is supposed to be working on book 3 of her MG novel, which is due in Oct. However, she has been distracted with the sequel to Let The Sky Fall.
Jessi Kirby is currently working on a new book about a girl whose boyfriend passes away and whose organs are all donated to different people. She writes letters to all of them and hears back from all of them save the person who received his heart. She becomes a little obsessed with finding this person and tracks him down. She only means to see him but, of course they meet and he falls for her. But she isn't sure if it's real love of a symptom of her boyfriend's heart. Sounds a bit like Return To Me, which I loved so I am totally in.
Morgan Matson just turned in a book but is also getting ready to start a new series. It's about four best friends whose lives and relationships start to change when the are 16. She anticipates the series being three, maybe 4 books long.
Kimberly Derting is working on the third Pledge novel. She also alluded to the fact that there may be news about the Body Finder series coming out in the next month or so. She is also working on a new YA sci-fi series about a girl who vanishes and goes missing for 5 years, only to return with no memory of the time lost and still at the same age when she left. The life she left behind her is no longer the same, nor are the people she knew. It's called The Taking and it sounds awesome.
|cute shoes happening|
Then I asked the authors how they chose the names for characters in their book.
Suzanne likes to use vintage baby names books to search for names. She likes unusual but classic names. She says that she likes to have a couple of interesting names and then more common names for her other characters. If they all ha unusual names, it would be too much.
Sarah told an awesome story about how she had a reader write to her saying that her name was Jude Hernandez and that people always had a hard time saying it so she let them call her Jude Henderson. Sarah thought that Jude Hernandez was a great name and it fit into the background of her character in The Book of Broken Hearts. So she named her main character Jude Hernandez as a way to help this girl reclaim her name.
Shannon also uses a baby name book but she went to the new age section for hers. Shannon's MG series is fantasy so characters needed unusual names but not names so unusual as to scare readers. So she chose a new age baby book and chose names with meanings having to do with light, since light has meaning to her book.
Jessi, a school librarian, often finds name inspiration from students at her school. She noted that one of her students who had graduated, ended up in her most recent book.
Morgan told a funny story about how she and her editor are huge Taylor Swift fans and how she started calling the main character in Second Chance Summer Taylor as an inside joke to her editor while she thought of a name. However, the more she wrote, the more she realized that the name Taylor really suited her character and she kept it.
Kimberly said that most of her character names were just named she liked. She said that Violet was the name she would have used had she had another daughter. But the names of the dead bodies are names of her nieces. She asked them if they wanted to be dead bodies in her books and they all eagerly said yes. Her nephew (I think it was her nephew) later said that it was unfair that all the girls got to be bodies and he asked if he could be a serial killer in her next book. Kim agreed.
*Side note that if anyone wants to use Thuy in a book, please go for it. :)
While the entire author line-up was great, I was really looking forward to meeting Sarah Ockler. Sarah and I got to know each other on Twitter about two years ago after I read Twenty Boy Summer while waiting for my dad to get out of a pretty serious surgery. I tweeted about reading it in the waiting room and Sarah responded, sending her well wishes to my dad. She then offered to send me a signed copy of Fixing Delilah, and she did. That was a really hard time for me and I was really touched that a complete stranger would do something so nice for no reason at all. We've kept up with each other on Twitter since then and Sarah is just one of the sweetest people. So we finally met, and it was awesome.
|me & sarah|
If you have made it this far, I commend you. The tour was super fun and I had a great time meeting these ladies. If you live near one of the Summer Lovin' stops, you should definitely go. Full tour stops are below. Thanks for reading this extra long post. Time to me to get to bed. :)
Once Upon a Time Bookstore
2207 Honolulu Avenue Montrose Shopping Park
Montrose, CA 91020
May 16 at 5:00PM
Mrs. Nelson’s Toy and Book Shop
1030 Bonita Avenue
La Verne, CA 91750
May 17 at 7:30PM
Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, Redondo Beach
2810 Artesia Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
May 18 at 3:00PM
Event with Whale of a Tale Bookstore
Mission Viejo Library
100 Civic Center
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
May 19 at 3:00PM
Copperfield’s Montgomery Village
775 Village Court
Santa Rosa, CA 95405
May 20 at 7:00PM
4326 University Way NE
Seattle, WA 98105
May 23 at 6:00PM
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 South McClintock Drive
Tempe, AZ 85283
May 24 at 4:30PM
Summer Lovin’ Panel at the Phoenix Comic-con
Phoenix Convention Center
100 North 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
May 24 at 12:00PM
Secret Lives of YA Authors Panel with Aprilynne Pike and Melissa Marr
at the Phoenix Comic-con
Phoenix Convention Center
100 North 3rd Street
Phoenix, AZ 85004
Book launch event for The Book of Broken Hearts:
June 4 at 7:00PM
Tattered Cover Bookstore
9315 Dorchester Street
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129