Thursday, November 6, 2014

Louisiana Book Festival 2014



Two years ago, I took a group of about 9 members of Bookmarked to Baton Rouge for the annual book festival. We skipped last year, but there were so many young adult authors who were attending this year that I thought it was a good time to go again. Since the students had to get their own transportation to Baton Rouge which is about 90 minutes away, it cut down on who could attend. I had two members of Bookmarked join me as well as a sibling who attends a different school, and two members of BRiMS who spend every lunch period with me. The kids all had a blast. From 10:30 until 4, we attended three author sessions and three author signings, ate lunch, visited the exhibitors and authors hawking books at tables and climbed the steps of the state capitol. 

Ruta Sepetys on the left and Chris Wiltz on the right

The students with the authors, and I am standing on the right
Our first stop was a 30 minute presentation by Ruta Sepetys, who I call my friend and who visited us at PFTSTA in 2013. Ruta says that Chris' Wiltz's book, The Last Madam, was the book that pushed her to try her hand at writing. I have heard them speak before, and they are both delightful and insightful as to the state of mind of a writer. Ruta writes historical fiction that is a hard sell, but her two books are so beautifully written that it would be a shame to pass them up just because of the genre.


Our second author event was the presentation to Kendare Blake for her book, Anna Dressed in Blood, which was the honor book from the Louisiana Teen Reader's Choice awards. She spoke for over an hour because she talked about the honor book and another series of hers that begins with the book, Anti Goddess.  Her books are creepy with lots of supernatural elements. Her work is not my kind of thing, but the kids were on the edge of their seats as she described the premise for each book and her inspiration.

These two were thrilled to get Kendare Blake to sign their books

The third and last author event of the day was a panel with Natalie Parker, Julie Murphy and Tessa Gratton. These three authors had been on a road trip for 2 weeks visiting book stores and attending book events as well as finding unusual roadside attractions. All three find setting a crucial aspect to their stories, and they used their travel time to get inspired. They were funny, told stories on each other and gave the audience a glimpse into their writing process. One thing that surprised me was their description of the short stories that they posted online as writing exercises with their critique partners. They said that some of the stories were good but many were not, but the stories remain available online for all to read. I couldn't post anything that would embarrass me later. I think they are very brave ladies.

Tessa is on the left with Julie in the middle and Natalie on the right 

Books by the three authors
Meeting author, Vicky Shecter, who wrote Curses and Smoke

What a great day we had in Baton Rouge! 

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