Before this entry begins, I want to apologize to my reputation for the damage I'm about to inflict upon it. Up to this point, I've maintained a semblance of cool (Maybe? A little bit? No? Ok). But now? Let me introduce you to Swimfan Sarah.
Cos I'm about to rock out with my nerd out. All over the internets.
So, this past weekend, my mom and I journeyed to the state capitol for the Texas Book Festival, which is like Renfest for bookworms (thankfully, there's no chainmail involved). I'd never actually attended the festival before, but this year, there was a panel of YA authors including Libba Bray and... Sara Zarr WHAT WHAT!!!!! Yeah, she's just the author of ONE OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS EVER, aka Sweethearts aka Cameron Quick aka WILL YOU MARRY ME?
Because I am a super spazz, we arrived about an hour early for the panel. Not only that, but we were the first ones in line, which is really shameful when you're at a festival of nerds. I mean, seriously. that's just sad.
But WHATEVS! I didn't care cos I was about to see some v. successful YA authors LIVE AND IN PERSON! And they were going to talk! About books! Sweet fancy Moses hold me down!!!
When the panelists finally walked in, I turned to mom and excitedly whispered, "Sara Zarr looks EXACTLY like her book jacket picture!" And my mom just sweetly nodded, cos she's my mom, so she can't say what everyone else would say, which is, "SIMMER DOWN SWIMFAN. Simmer down."
As expected, the panel totally BROUGHT IT. Libba Bray is deliciously crazycakes in person (again, no surprise), while Sara's got this really great, dry sense of humor. I wasn't familiar with the third author, Jessica Lee Anderson, but she instantly won me over when she followed up Sara and Libba's singing (yes, there were spontaneous bursts of song) by simply stating, "TEQUILA!" Um, yeah. I need to publish a YA novel ASAP just so I can hang out with these party people.
It was really interesting (and inspiring) to hear about how these three authors take their passion and make it happen, everything from how they got their agent to how they sit down and write to how they tell characters good-bye when it's time to move on (I really canNOT grasp how Sara Zarr said good-bye to Cameron. Like, if I were her, I'd all snotty and crying like a baby and shrieking, "Come baaaack!" while pathetically running after Cameron's car as he frantically drives away).
Here are two of my favorite things that Sara said, obvs paraphrased cos I didn't like whip out a recorder or anything (I'm not THAT cray of a swimfan):
On her writing process:
Sometimes I start to think that my first book is the only good thing I've ever written, and I'll never be able to write something that good again, and then I just lie down on the kitchen floor in a fetal position and cry until my husband gets home and tells me to get over it. But... uh... I wouldn't really recommend that as a writing process.
On what motivates her:
I'm really motivated by negative emotions. Like, I want to prove something to the people I went to high school with. Or I don't want my editor to hate me.
Needless to say, WATCH OUT SARA ZARR, cos you've got a big fat BFF charm coming yr way!
It's unfortunate that I didn't actually have one on hand, cos I GOT TO TALK TO HER AFTER THE PANEL!!! Ok, well, maybe that's fortunate. I mean, for my chances of looking like a halfway sane person.
And guess what? When I told her who I was, SHE HUGGED ME!!!! SARA ZARR HUGGED ME!!! See, I kind of, um, maybe, comment on her blog. Sometimes. And also maybe I've replied to a few of her tweets, esp. those concerning a certain future husband of mine named Mark Ruffalo. And yeah, ok, I sent her a few restaurant recommendations for Austin cos I believe v. strongly that everyone should have equal access to tasty business. But it's not like I staked out any of those places. or, you know, even thought about doing that. At all.
Anyway! We took a picture together! Look it's like we're friends!
I was trying to keep that crazed swimfan glint out of my eye for photogenic purposes.
But YAY! Best YA day ever!! And now Sara knows me! Kind of! And we can be internet friends!! Until she finds this post and totally gets creeped out! Hurrah!
I can't WAIT for Jenny and me to go to Book Week next year so we can have this kind of experience MULTIPLE TIMES. And also so we can build up FYA's reputation in the literary community, of course.*
*By build up, I mean, people will see us and say, "Swimfan alert!" as they rapidly walk in the opposite direction.