Archive for the ‘Ann Cannon’ Tag
Saturday I drove 40 minutes south for the first annual Teen Book Fest at the Provo City Library. When I arrived, the first thing I encountered was the table where high school students could register for extra credit. Before I realized what the table was for, I got in the back of the line. When I discovered it was not the line for me, I was very happy I didn’t need extra credit, and also a little sad. I loved those students. They clustered around doorways in groups of three or more, tried not to look too interested, and asked the authors questions like, “What is your favorite kind of cereal?” They were the ‘teen’ in the Teen Book Fest.
And what was I? Not the teen. Not the book. Certainly not fest, darn-it. If I hadn’t hired a babysitter to come and watch my kids for me, I might have stayed home. It’s hard to go time after time to these author events and wonder, ‘Will I ever get my revisions done? If I do, who will want to buy my book?’ But I convinced myself that I could learn something by attending, so I put on my new red pea-coat and headed out the door.
I’m so glad I did. It was wonderful to see Ann Cannon, author of The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love, and hear her read from her book. She talked about the inspiration behind Scout, the book’s female protagonist, who happens to be a closet romance-reader. For fun Cannon brought along The Romance Writers’ Phrase Book and she entertained us all by sharing some choice excerpts. I loved what Cannon said about writing characters who are real, and how a part of the author goes into what she/he writes.
I also got so much – courage, inspiration, illumination – from the panel I attended with contemporary YA fiction writers Sara Zarr (Once Was Lost), Ann Dee Ellis (Everything is Fine) and Carol Lynch Williams (The Chosen One). They talked about why they write for teens, why they write realistic stories that come with the hard-edge of truth, and the challenges they face as writers. I loved what they said about the writers who influence them, and about the importance of hope in their writing.
While I was at the Book Fest, I had the chance to speak to another local author, Ally Condie. Her new book, Matched, will be released soon. It has already received great reviews and a lot of media attention. I can’t wait to read it. I’ve heard Condie speak at other author events and admire how honest, funny, and kind she is. I loved what she said recently on the blog, throwing up words. When I read what she wrote about writing as a hobby I thought, “That is it, exactly.” So I’m going to let her words be my portrait for today – my portrait of a hobby:
I’ve heard several young adult writers talk about the fact that they have an inner age similar to the audience they are writing for. I never liked that idea. After all, who wants to be stuck in adolescence? Not me. I liked to think that I had surpassed the terrors of the junior high locker room, the politics of the cafeteria, the acne, the hormones, the turf wars. Finito. So why did I always find myself writing for and about teenagers? I wasn’t sure.