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June 11, 2013

Teen Board: Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY

On Saturday, May 18th, I was fortunate enough to be able to go the 8th annual Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY at Nazareth College. This is an event where many different YA and Middle Grade authors are able to join their readers for Q&A sessions, and autographing session.


Readers were able to go to four different sessions of their choice, depending on the authors they enjoyed reading. The four different sessions at which I went to were the following:

- Jessica Brody, Lauren DeStefano, Marissa Meyer and Mary Pearson

- Writing Workshop

- Andrea Cremer & David Levithan

- Susane Colasanti, Jennifer E. Smith, Stephanie Kate Strohm and Sara Zarr

Before heading to their first session, readers had the chance to buy books, souvenirs, and enter giveaways. At 10:00 AM authors were introduced by Guy Smiley who stated two facts about the author and asked them a question about their books.

Unfortunately Stacey Kade had lost her voice so she had to communicate through her iPhone. Thank you Steve Jobs!



Session I: Jessica Brody, Lauren DeStefano, Marissa Meyer, & Mary Pearson

The first session I went to was a Q&A session with four authors as the panelist.

The Panelists:

Marissa Meyer, author of The Lunar Chronicles

Lauren DeStefano, author of The Chemical Gardens

Jessica Brody, author of UNREMEMBERED

Mary Pearson, author of the Jenna Fox Chronicles

Facts about the Authors:

Marissa Meyer revealed that she has the outline of all four books in her series all planned out before she wrote one word of CINDER. She started writing with Sailor Moon fanfics, and she gets the last names of her characters from movie credits.

Lauren DeStefano is a huge fan of Libba Bray. She hates looking at her word count, and she refuses to believe that anyone actually reads her books.

Jessica Brody uses a method of outlining her books called “Save the Cat”. She hates researching when she’s writing a book, she would rather just make stuff up. When someone asked her on advice for writing a book she replied, “Don’t be afraid to write crap, because crap makes great fertilizer.”

Mary Pearson found that her writing process changes for every book. She keeps a goal of how many words to write each day, and she loves to read books by Lady Taylor.

Session II: Writing Workshop

The writing workshop was taught by a group of people who work at a writing school in Rochester. They had us watch a video about the Three Commandments of Storytelling by the king of storytelling himself, Andrew Stanton. Andrew Stanton is the writer of Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Wall-E.

The 3 Commandments of Storytelling:

1.    A story should start off with a well-told "promise," like a hook or sales pitch

2.    Know your rules and know when to break them

3.    Create a character that looks bad , but still the crowd still cares for.


Session III: Andrea Cremer & David Levithan

The Panelists:

Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade series.

David Levithan, author of EVERY DAY.

Facts about the Authors:

Andrea Cremer loves both her series, Nightshade and Rift, but she prefers Rift because she writes about the medieval period for which she has a PhD in. She also had four tattoos.

David Levithan is an editor and an author. He also co-writes on many of his books.

This was probably my favorite session. The first thing that Andrea Cremer and David Levithan did was read a chapter from INVISIBILITY, the book that they wrote together. It was one of the most magical things I had ever seen. They fit into their characters places exactly, and were totally confident with what they were doing. INVISIBILITY was Andrea’s first stand alone novel, while it was David’s first paranormal novel.

Session IV: Susane Colasanti, Jennifer E. Smith, Stephanie Kate Strohm, & Sara Zarr

The Panelists:

Susane Colasanti, author of ALL I NEED

Jennifer E. Smith, author of THIS IS WHAT HAPPY LOOKS LIKE

Stephanie Kate Strohm, author of PILGRIMS DON’T WEAR PINK

Sara Zarr, author of THE LUCY VARIATIONS

Facts about the Authors:

Susane Colasanti used to be a science teacher until she retired 6 years ago to keep writing her full time job, and is a huge fan of S.E. Hinton and started crying when she met her.

Jennifer E. Smith came up with her idea for THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT from talking to a 70-year-old man on a seven hour flight.

Stephanie Kate Strohm is really big on girl power, and she used to be a cheerleader!

Sara Zarr really wants Judy Blume to follow her on Twitter, and it took her three years to find her agent after writing her first book.

This panel was really interesting to see how all the female contemporary writer fit. I had to say I loved Susane Colasanti’s spunk!

After all the sessions, readers were able to go get their books autographed. It was so much fun waiting in line with other readers discussing what we loved about a certain author!!


Have you  heard of the authors Harman was able to see? Which is your favorite?