Hello everyone and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all well. So, as some of you may already know, on Friday 18th November I attended a very exciting event at Waterstones in Birmingham (my hometown): Michelle Toy in conversation with Jennifer Niven and Lauren James. I was lucky enough to win a VIP pass to this event, meaning I MET and chatted with both of the authors, and won loads of bookish goodies thanks to Maximum Pop! Books. Maximum Pop! are an organisation that talk about and promote YA fiction, posting giveaways, author exclusives, book news and more. You can follow them on Twitter here, or check out their website here. If you’re reading this – thanks so much Maximum Pop! I didn’t actually anticipate writing this blog post, but I thought it would be fun to start a new little series on my blog, and blog about all the author events I go to. So, here goes…
Firstly, I’m just going to give some background on the authors, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them.
Jennifer Niven has written nine books, of all different genres, but her most famous are All The Bright Places (YA) and Holding Up The Universe (YA). This event will be focused on these two books. All The Bright Places is soon to be made into a film starring Elle Fanning, too!
Lauren James is the writer of The Next Together series (YA) and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (released in September 2017). This event will be focused on The Next Together series.
So at 6pm, I went into Waterstones and was escorted to meet Jennifer Niven, Lauren James, Jennifer’s publicist and Michelle Toy. We had a full half an hour to talk before the event started, in which I would also receive all my bookish goodies.
I was honestly so nervous upon meeting the authors. They’re both authors I look up to and admire, particularly Jennifer Niven, and this was an amazing opportunity for me. I’ve never met any authors before this, and I really didn’t know what to expect! I also suffer with GAD, meaning I sometimes struggle with meeting new people (especially people I want to make an impression on). And as I’ve said a lot recently, I’m getting more into YA fiction, and I was so excited to meet two excellent writers from the genre.
But I really had nothing to worry about! The pair were both absolutely lovely. I told them I was nervous and they both made me feel completely at ease. They both asked a lot about me – what I’m studying, what I like to read, what I hope to do some day (English Lit and Creative Writing, everything!!!!, and hopefully become a writer). They both made me feel very comfortable and were really excited at the prospect of me becoming a writer, with Jennifer reassuring me “You will [become a writer]” and Lauren enthusing “Maybe we’ll be coming to your author event one day!”
I asked them a couple of questions, one of them being how they deal with writer’s block or how they write through any difficulties. Jennifer stated “I try to write through it […] I always have my characters in my head – I create playlists for my characters and really immerse myself in them”. Lauren talked a lot about NaNoWriMe and how that “forced [her] to write” – that’s actually how she wrote her first book The Next Together!
We all talked a lot about our love for reading and writing – of course! Jennifer’s mom was a writer, and she grew up surrounded by writing and saw “all the frustrations” that came with it. Lauren began writing at school – she had a story in her head and just wanted to get it down on paper!
They were both so lovely and it was great to be able to chat with them so casually. Jennifer even asked me “Can I get a hug?”(!) I was pretty starstruck at this point and couldn’t believe it. They both signed some books for me and I got a lot of other goodies too – look at all of these! I’m so lucky.
The event then began, with the pair being interviewed by Michelle Toy. Michelle Toy is a massive book blogger over at Tales of Yesterday, and her blog has received many awards. I dream of being as successful a blogger as Michelle, and I found meeting her and listening to all her questions very insightful. They then took some questions from the audience, and then signed everybody’s books (but I already had my signed copies!)
I’m not going to talk through the whole event and every single question here, as I’ll be here all day! I’m going to paste some of the standout quotes down below:
“I knew a boy when I was younger who was like Finch” – Jennifer Niven
“I wanted to write a book that didn’t exist yet” – Lauren James
“I write to let people know that they’re not alone” – Jennifer Niven
“I didn’t intend to write a sequel – it just so happened that when I was writing all these other ideas came to me” – Lauren James
“Since I learned the alphabet I’ve been writing” – Jennifer Niven
“Everyone is brave enough to have an adventure” – Lauren James
“We need to be able to talk about mental health” – Jennifer Niven
“I write for the girl that loves Jane Austen AND Doctor Who” – Lauren James
The event was truly wonderful and I really enjoyed myself. It was very interesting to hear a lot more about the authors and about the books they have written, and they gave some really good advice too. I had a brilliant time!
(photo credit to Michelle Toy)
Have you ever met any authors? Have you been to any book/author events recently? Do you like Jennifer Niven’s or Lauren James’s books? Let me know in the comments down below!
Happy reading 🙂