I had the FABULOUS opportunity to go to a book signing with not just ONE great author but TWO last night! Julie Berry - author of SECONDHAND CHARM, SPLURCH ACADEMY FOR DISRUPTIVE BOYS series, and THE AMARANTH ENCHANTMENT! And the wonderful Jessica Day George! Author of THE DRAGON SLIPPERS series, SUN MOON ICE and SNOW, and her princess books PRINCESS OF THE MIDNIGHT BALL and PRINCESS OF GLASS!
First Jessica was up to talk about her books and journey becoming an author. I have seen Jessica at MANY events, so I am sure you have all heard about her books and journey from me before. But some of the stuff she said was just great! So here is the list of paraphrased info!
How do I come up with ideas? I ask myself a question. Something that I am wondering about. And since I can't find the answers anywhere else I write a book about it. Ex. What if you met a dragon and they didn't want to eat you, what then? Wouldn't your feet hurt REALLY badly if you were forced to dance all night long until your shoes wore out? Wouldn't it really hurt to dance in glass slippers?
For the dragon series, one of the themes in it is that dragons collect things. If you were hundreds of years old, what would you do for fun? What would you collect. One of them collects shoes. So you could say she has a shoe fetish - since most of her books involve shoes.
And lastly she said: I write books because I felt like there were no fun books when I was a kid. Our options were Narnia, Babysitters Club and Nancy Drew. Narnia was great but you can only read that so many times. And I hate babysitting. So I never liked any books that were preachy about being responsible and babysitting to earn money.
Jessica is always a hoot and so fun to chat with!
Then it was Julie's turn, and to be honest I was VERY VERY VERY excited to see her! I just love this lady! We had only met once before but we have kept in touch. She is possibly the MOST genuine person I have ever met in my entire life. Massachusetts is VERY lucky to have her!
Julie just had several books come out that I have reviewed on the blog recently: SPLURCH ACADEMY FOR DISRUPTIVE BOYS series (the first two books were released together) and SECONDHAND CHARM her second YA fairy-tale-esque story that was just beautifully written and so so good!
Here are some of my favorite Julie moments.
As Jessica has a shoe fetish, I seem to have a jewelry fetish in my writing.
I was thinking about good luck charms, and what would happen if someone had some innate ability that if they put on a charm and everything went out of hand, that it was super potent in their hands. Like a luck charm and all of a sudden your chicken was laying golden eggs, etc. Then I thought what about a love charm? What about a young lady that seemingly has been fairly ignored by the boys in her village suddenly got a love charm that was very powerful, and everyone was noticing her!
Julie said she also gave her character a goal that had nothing to do with the romantic aspects of the book. She wants girls to know that their entire lives aren't just boys. (Which might I add, I love about her characters they are strong women, but still willing to love. I think sometimes it is one or the other and with Julie you get both!)
Then these two lovely red heads took questions together. (Notice Jessica is knitting! I have never seen her at any event without something to knit!)
Q: What are you working on now?
Julie: I have two new ideas. One is sort of a Dickensian London story, and the other is set in the future in space.
Jessica: So a really great crossover idea.
Jessica: I am working on a new books series called TUESDAYS AT THE CASTLE probably for even younger readers than Dragon Slippers (which by the way I wrote Dragon Slippers for me, and then when they said it was for ages 10 and up I thought "I'm not 10!"). In this new book the Castle Glower is alive - if it likes you you get great things like a nice room and a garden to walk through, if it doesn't like you you might get thrown down a trap door into the dung heap. They should be out next September.
(*note: I think these all sound awesome and I can't wait to get my hands on them!)
(another side note: a great reason to go to indie bookstore signings is you often good refreshments!)
Q: How did you meet? Why did you decide to sign together?
Jessica: Red heads are in a secret club.
Julie: That and we have the same publisher, so they got us together over the internet to review each other's books and we have been e-mailing ever since.
Jessica: We actually just met for the first time 2 hours ago at the Starbucks next door.
Q: When you're working do you collabroate with others?
Julie: No, I don't like other people.
(Which I might add was so so funny. Because these two ladies are SO much fun to be around. Obviously they were talking about their creative process being more individual than say, and author who has a writing group.)
A young girl in the audience asked a question that made me laugh, but these ladies handled it very well!
Q: How old were you when you started writing your books?
Jessica: I decided to be a writer when I was 11. I wrote my first short story when I was 14 and got an A++ on it. For years I was a short story author and won lots of contests and things in school. I wrote short stories exclusively until I was bout 21. Then I decided I would write my opus, my novel and it would be the best thing ever. Of course 188 rejections and several novels later I realized it would be work. But it is very rewarding!
Julie: I was late in the game. I didn't start writing seriously until I was 31 or 32. My whole life I wrote in a journal, and I always wanted to write fiction. I was really scared to write fiction because I really wanted to be good at it. I knew everything I had tried to do was rubbish, so I just didn't try anymore. I was scared to try.
Then I was lucky enough to get a job writing a humor column in a local newspaper and the great responses I got really gave me the confidence to try writing fiction, to go for my dream.
Then after the signing and everything my friends and I went to Cheesecake Factory with Julie and had a WONDERFUL time catching up. Talking books, writing, life. Here is me, upcoming author Sara Larson, and our good friend Jena with Julie of course.
I had so much fun catching up with Julie again! And Jessica as always was so fun as well. She had to get home to her kids, can you believe it! :) It was such a wonderful, wonderful night! I will never forget it and I am SO grateful that I can call Julie my friend.
Please check out these two amazing women and their books the next time you are at your local bookstore or searching books online! I know there is SOMEONE in your life that would love their books!