The LA Times Freakin’ Festival of Books!

Terrible picture of me, but it does prove I was there with Veronica, Lissa, Lauren, and Victoria (sadly, not pictured here).

In case you haven’t seen on Twitter or Facebook–or on the Today Show with Ryan Seacrest and Veronica Roth this very morning!!–I was lucky enough to moderate a panel at the LA Times Festival of Books called “Outer Limits,” and if there ever was a fantasy panel of YA writers, it was this one: Veronica RothLauren OliverLissa Price, and Victoria Schwab.  I mean, seriously.

I’m a bit late to be posting about this, because I wasn’t entirely sure what to say about it.  It was awesome.  I was super nervous, and discovered that evern rock-star writers get nervous before stuff like this, too, which was cool.  I was prepared with some juicy questions, though, and even managed to get a few laughs.  My real job, though, was to stay out of the way of the talent.  The four novelists were full of excellent advice about writing, and reflections on their work, from naming characters after your friends and then deciding to kill the character anyway, to Victoria’s short-and-sweet statement about drafting that has become something of a mantra to me: “You can’t fix what you haven’t written.” (Truer words were never spoken.)

For someone who is still an aspiring novelist (yeah, me), it was an inspiration and privilege to be able to speak with them about their craft.  And the envy monster didn’t even bite me once!  (Because if there is one thing that’s great about being 37, it’s that the 24-year-old-famous-writer ship sailed a looooonnnng time ago).

There is a lesson here, too, about cultivating your friendships with other writers, because long story short, it was my YARN-founded relationship with Aaron Hartzler, whose truly excellent YA memoir Rapture Practice just came out, that I have to thank for getting to do this amazing thing.

If you want to real more about what happened live during the panel, check out @YAardvarks‘ live Tweets and recap on their site.

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