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November 30, 2015

An Inside Look at the Miami Book Fair

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While we're all for curling up on the sofa with a good book, there's nothing like getting out in the world and going to a literary event where you can see your favorite authors talk on panels, meet other book lovers and come home with a tote bag stuffed full of new reads. Teen Board member Juliette G. experienced just that when she attened the Miami Book Fair on Saturday, November 21st. Below, she talks about some of the highlights of the day --- including sharing an umbrella with someone you just may have heard of. 


Gray skies threatened rain over downtown Miami as I strolled the streets looking for a new read at the Miami Book Fair on Saturday, November 21st. As showers soaked the Miami Dade College campus, I took cover inside a classroom for a panel on “Danger, Intrigue and Girl Power.” Empowered authors Victoria Aveyard and Ryan Graudin grabbed the mikes as well as my attention for the next hour. I was mesmerized as the two accomplished writers offered insight on their recently published books. Aveyard, author of RED QUEEN, shared her preference for creating female characters “who make bad decisions but learn from their mistakes.” She finds perfect characters boring! Graudin, who wrote WOLF BY WOLF, loves developing a setting in her work, usually inspired by a real place. Just living her own life provides research for her ideas. Following the question and answer period, I excitedly headed over to their table to meet the two women and receive signed copies of their books. 

As stormy weather lingered outside, I found it fitting to head into the next panel, “Bone Chilling Thrillers.” Authors Becca Fitzpatrick, Joelle Charbonneau and Peter Kujawinski offered their audience writing and publishing advice. Fitzpatrick has kept a daily journal since grade school and still refers back to it for story ideas. Her persistence paid off when her first book, HUSH, HUSH, was sold after 100 rejections from publishers. Charbonneau compares writing to “playing an instrument.” She encourages aspiring authors to practice every day. Writing every day led to her recent thriller, NEED. Finally, Kujawinski finds inspiration from childhood memories. NIGHTFALL came from his fear of the dark. Following their lively discussion, I received signed copies of their books and posed for selfies.

I left the Miami Book Fair with a bag stuffed with books and inspiration to continue my writing. My last memory of the afternoon was sharing my umbrella with Becca Fitzpatrick in the pouring rain. The author and I found each other stranded on the corner of Second and Sixth Streets as we waited for rides together. We wished each other luck on our next endeavors. I’ll take that as a sign that I should definitely pursue my dreams of becoming a writer.


Juliette G. is a Teen Board member