A couple of weeks ago, the second annual Vulture Festival presented a one-on-one convo with John Green -- and the New York FYA Book Club was there to see it! Here's #NYCFYA's Danielle Klimashousky and Anna Marie Smith with the scoop.
It's not every day you join John Green in watching his own Vlogbrothers videos on a big screen. But that was one part of Vulture Festival's conversation with John Green, which also included insights on low-tech Youtubes, Liverpool fandom, being a former chaplain, and other highly anticipated topics.
Of course, though, he primarily talked about his writing. John can't imagine a world in which he is not a YA author (neither can we!), but he finds it difficult to draw on his own high school experience; he is so far removed from it that the memories get distorted. I mean, all of us on this blog love to relive high school through the lives of YA protagonists - but think about it, would you really want to relive high school? You make choices in curating your story in your memory. When you're living it, you don't know what will be important to future you, you can only see it looking back. John feels inspired by teenagers, because they believe that anything is possible and still believe everything is important. They believe that one person can make their voice heard, that they can actually bring about change. He finds his fans especially inspiring, and sees them as a smart, curious, and interesting group.
John expressed that he feels his books so far are about stories and why stories are important, but he wants to explore more about why people are important and what makes personhood mean something. He also wants to write more broadly about the American experience. Also, look for him to be focusing more on parents-child relationships in upcoming books. Since he became a parent, he has started thinking a lot more about that connection and its importance. The birth of his son also made him fully understand unconditional, eternal love (collective awwww).
Something unexpected was John’s discussion of The Fault In Our Stars. He described how people love sharing their favorite TFIOS cry stories, which came as a big surprise to him because he didn't initially consider the book to be sad. Apparently, he was stunned when his wife Sarah cried reading the first draft, so he asked her, "It's sad, but funny, right?!" He honestly expected people to find it uplifting.
The conversation moved on to Paper Towns, of course. When asked his favorite moment filming Paper Towns, John told his about the all-nighter where they shut down the entire six-lane interstate in Charlotte, NC, and spent the night walking across an empty highway with Cara, Nate, and the cast. He wanted the story of Paper Towns to capture what it’s really like to be friends in high school, and I feel like this favorite moment he chose embodies a lot of that high school friendship ideal - just hanging out, talking, alone in your own space.
We left the John Green talk for Vulture Fest's high-end swag lounge, full of booze, Bananagrams, and, in place of a photo booth, a live gif creator - and we made our own little infinity.
Your Authors, Danielle and Anna Marie
Thanks for stopping by, Danielle and Anna Marie! You can find the New York FYA Book Club on Facebook, send them an email, or just show up at their next meeting! And don't forget to follow their #YASummerShowdown 2015 shenanigans here!