Last weekend I attended what was, without a doubt, the most fun book festival ever in the history of book festivals. Yes, I speak of the notorious YALLFest in Charleston, SC. A book festival for YA authors started by YA authors (Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl of Beautiful Creatures fame) that features unseemly amounts of gooey delicious Southern pie and ends in an improv storytelling smackdown? Yes, please. Sign me up.
I felt very lucky and just a wee bit nervous to be part of such an illustrious affair. My main goal was not to word vomit on David Levithan (mission accomplished). As I said in my blog before the festival and numerous times during, I felt like the freshman at the senior prom. I kept waiting for someone to yell "FRESHMAN!" and douse me in pigs' blood because that's how my brain works.
But it was a blast. Seriously, YA authors are the MOST fun, I don't care what those historical biographers say. Here were some highlights:
- Cassandra Clare and Holly Black talking about literary friendships and just how sick they would have to be to finish each others' novels (allergies no, pneumonia yes).
- Elizabeth Eulberg describing her obsession with and subsequent stalking of the New Kids on the Block. (Have fun getting "The Right Stuff" out of your head for the rest of the day; it's still in mine.)
- Andrea Cremer quizzing writers on what the collective noun for a group of YA authors should be. Winner: "a shriek of authors." (What do you think?)
- Stephanie Perkins's adorable husband bringing us cupcakes during our signing session. I think her next book should be titled Steph and the Red Velvet Cupcake.
- Chatting with Eliot Schrefer about the sexual practices of bonobos and then feeling like an IDIOT because I used the word "personify" when I meant "anthropomorphize" and didn't realize that his most recent book, Endangered, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Luckily, Eliot is far too classy to give me a hand to the face.
- My team (Team Romance) WINNING the YALLFest Smackdown with our incredibly inventive stories about sexy snakes and blind dates with elves. (I got a magnolia crown and got to ride a saddle—yes, a saddle. Not a horse, just a saddle.)
- Pseudonymous Bosch and the same classy Eliot Schrefer delivering whipped cream pies to the faces of Diana Peterfreund and Adam Gidwitz.
- And, of course, meeting readers! I talked to readers who'd come all the way from North Carolina, New Jersey, and Australia. Sure, they were there to meet Melissa de la Cruz, but they pretended to be excited to meet me too, and for that I love them.
There were many more memorable moments, but if I told you, I'd have to kill you. That Bosch impersonator guy has sworn me to secrecy.
Have you ever been to a book festival?