It was only 4 days before the Montgomery County Book Festival 2013 would kick off in The Woodlands, Texas. Many of my author friends were going to be there. I was debating on if I should just make a day trip out of it or not – just to see everyone as an attendee and to get some more books signed. I commented about the festival on Facebook and Twitter, and the sweet Tabatha Perry–one of the head gurus of the event–encouraged me to just come! After a random direct message conversation with Tabatha in which I asked if she still needed or wanted any authors on panels, I somehow ended up getting added to the author line up at the last minute. HOLLA! What an opportunity!
A few text messages later, Cory Putman Oakes had offered me the extra bed in her hotel room (this is why she’s my author BFF) and my plans for Friday night had cleared out for me to go. The road trip down was smooth and full of loud music (even though I drank THREE bottles of water in the first hour. Whoops.) Friday night started out with hugs from old friends and introductions to new friends. This huge group of authors (40 or more??) was full of big personalities and lots of energy. I felt so blessed to be a part of the scene and get to meet so many movers and shakers in the industry.
Saturday was the real fun! I was on the panel entitled, “Reality Is Great, But I Wouldn’t Want to Live There” – we were all fantasy/magical/otherworldly writers. Not only did I get to panel again with BFF Cory Putman Oakes (The Veil), but I also loved the time I got to spend on panel discussion with Janni Lee Simner (Bones of Fairy, et al.) and Wendy Delsol (Stork, et al.) I loved how our questions were specific to our genre: topics like the art of writing villains, the role of good and evil in fantasy, and how our childhood affects our storytelling.
One of my favorite aspects of the Montgomery County Book Fest, though, was the TEEN ZONE. If you’ve ever been around me when I’m with teens, then you know I’m in my COMFORT ZONE. I love kids (of the teenage kind) and I really enjoyed the opportunities I had at this festival to engage in personal conversations with them. We hung out in the library and made buttons together, as well as took the Phantom Island Tribal Quiz to see what tribe/personality all these teens had. It’s such a cool way for me to get to know my readers. I even had some kids who came at different times to my signing table and just sat and chatted with me about their own projects and goals. Those moments were hands-down my FAVORITE parts of the festival.
I want to say a big THANK YOU to Tabatha Perry for giving me a chance and being so flexible about adding me in so late. I also want to thank Natasha Benway and all the other librarians and volunteers and people who put this event together. It was a pretty seamless experience – so organized! It was wonderful to see so much passion for reading and writing all in one place for a day. I hope I get to go back someday.
Oh… and there were zombies. YEAH.
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