Texas Debut Authors Panel Recap
Last night I had the honor of hosting 6 up and coming debut authors from the DFW area at my library branch in Grand Prairie, Texas. 2012 Printz and Morris winning author John Corey Whaley was our host for the evening moderating the panel, and he is a very funny guy. In fact, everyone on the panel was informative, entertaining, and great to spend an evening with. If you have a chance, I highly recommend inviting them to your school or library to talk. We talked books, both writing them and reading them, fears, guilty pleasures and more.
So, let’s begin our recap shall we . . .
- Was once a middle school teacher, though he claims he wasn’t a very good one.
- He absolutely does not like Faulkner. At all.
- He just turned in his next book, which he can’t talk about. But the theme is apparently “absurdity”.
- Has recently moved and is getting ready to make another move and teach a class on writing.
- Is currently reading The Shining because he wanted a book that would creep him out.
- Is a gentleman and really wanted to make the evening about the debut authors.
- Is the author of the upcoming The Murder Complex, set in a future where the murder rate is higher than the birth rate.
- She absolutely loves Twilight and doesn’t care who knows, she says she owns it.
- She is afraid of “those creepy men who hit on you.” And you know, that is a legitimate fear.
- While writing she asks herself, “What would Angelina Jolie do?”
- She says that The Hunger Games is her “guilty pleasure”.
- Has 3 dogs
- Is only 21 years old and is about to get published. She wrote her book when she was in her teens.
- Is the author of the upcoming The Dollhouse Asylum, where teens are forced to reenact the lives of tragic literary couples or die. Such an intriguing concept.
- Although I begged, she would not say which literary couples appear in the book. I am intrigued. Which couples do you think have to make an appearance?
- Mary Gray is the mother of 3, so finding writing time can be a challenge.
- Her favorite book series is His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers, book 1 is Grave Mercy and book 2 is Dark Triumph.
- Is also a huge fan of The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan, which inspired her to write a creepy book.
- She is afraid of strawberries. I’m not making that part up.
- Does not like Dickens.
- Is the author of the upcoming book Tracked, a science fiction space race with deadly consequences.
- Is afraid of “jerks”
- Does not like James Joyce
- Can write anywhere with any type of background noise
- Is a librarian (Woohoo for librarians!)
- Says her guilty pleasure is Supernatural (how is that a guilty pleasure I ask!) and if you visit her on Twitter, you can see a picture of her with Sam, played by Jared Padelecki.
- Is reading House of Leaves and Eleanor and Park at the moment.
- Is the author of the upcoming Side Effects May Vary, a story about a girl who his diagnosed with cancer, goes and gets retribution on all the people she doesn’t like or has hurt her in life, and then finds out she has gone into remission. Again, such an interesting concept for a book. When discussing writing Murphy said she was interested in knowing what kind of girl she would be, what would her family be like, etc.
- Hates Jane Austen but loves Degrassi, Blue Valentine and British TV Shows.
- Told the funniest story about being severely sunburned when she received the call that her book had been sold and how she could barely hold the phone because of the pain.
- Is afraid of Cicadas because bugs just shouldn’t be that big, it’s scientifically incorrect.
- Is an academic librarian.
- Thinks the most beautiful couple ever appears in the book The God Shaped Hole
- Says everyone should read Eleanor and Park RIGHT NOW.
- Is the author of the recently released Pretty Dark Nothing from Month9Books, a story about a girl who sees demons in her sleep and doesn’t know if they are real or if there is something wrong with her.
- She recently moved back to Texas from Scotland.
- Is a gamer.
- Says it took over 7 years to get her book sold and published.
- She knew she wanted to be a writer as a kid. (Many others on the panel did not. Mary Gray was the only other panel member who said she has known for a long time, since childhood, that she wanted to be a writer.)
- Is afraid of roaches. She said this is weird, we all assured her it was not, perfectly reasonable fear if you ask me.
- Says the Shining is the creepiest book she ever read.
- Is the author of The Dante Walker series, a book about a teenage boy who dies, becomes a soul collector for the devil, and is then given 10 days to collect the soul of a girl named Charlie.Book 1 is The Collector, already out. Book 2 is The Liberator, coming out in August I believe.
- Is terribly afraid of monkeys. Animals should not have thumbs – she believes this strongly.
- Watches Teen Mom as her guilty pleasure.
- Listens to hard rock like Korn.
- Is more organized than others on the panel in her writing process. She has outlines, character profiles, etc. in a series of folders and subfolders on her computer. Most of the other panel members said they did not outline and wished they were more organized.
- Is reading and recommends Scorched by Mari Mancusi, she says her excellent writing makes her feel so inadequate as a writer.
- Says The Hot Zone freaked her out and then tried to freak us all out about the Ebola virus. Corey Whaley talked about the movie Contagion, which I am actually obsessed with and watch almost nightly in the background when I read (something about it makes good background noise). I was very upset when I accidentally erased it – and everything else – off of my DVR.
I want to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone on the panel for their time and such a wonderful library program and discussion. Everyone in attendance gave lots of compliments on the night. I was encouraged to hear how all the various writers came to write ya books and that they had both an appreciation for teens and teen literature. One of the panel members said they actually liked being a teenager. I think that means they were doing it wrong. I am loo kingforward to reading all the books, they sound so good.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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