Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kelley Armstrong

Today I was given the opportunity to introduce Kelley Armstrong at my town library. For those of you who don't know who she is, go here for more information. She is a fantastic writer, and I personally look forward to reading more of her books. If you're into paranormal dark fantasy stuff, check her out! She has novels for both adults and teens, so chances are she'll have something you like.

So basically, I've been psyching myself out about this night for about a week. I only had about that much notice. If I'd been given more notice, I would have been panicking more earlier, and maybe not freaked out so much tonight. I made a few jokes about how my friend Spencer could get hired at the library after my intro was done, because they'd need someone to scrape bits of me off the ceiling. Luckily, it turned out to be a false promise, as I didn't explode. Which is good for me. Not so good for Spencer's job prospects.

Before the evening officially started, I got introduced to a bunch of people. Two librarians, the man who organized the Grimsby Author series, and Kelley Armstrong herself. I'm ashamed to admit that I geeked out a little (a lot), but she was really nice. I think she was nervous about speaking too. She even said, "When my publishers told me that I was touring, I was like 'what?' I'm a writer because I communicate best through writing."(A little paraphrased, obviously. I don't exactly have a perfect memory)

She did a great job of speaking though. She laughed and joked with us, gave out little prizes (Spencer got a bag, the lucky bastard), and read excerpts from The Summoning and The Gathering, the first books from her YA series. The Gathering is the first book of the second trilogy of the Darkest Powers Series.

She got a lot of questions about what was next for some of the characters in the Otherworld series, but those questions didn't mean a lot to me, seeing as I haven't yet read any of those books. I will next chance I get. My friend Rebecca (who was there at the event) has a bunch of the books (most of which she got signed tonight. She's a big fan of Kelley), and she says I can borrow them. I'm pumped.

The questions I thought were great were primarily about Kelley's writing process (being a writer myself, I always like to hear how other authors write). She writes most of her books using an outline. She said that she used to be a "pantser" (A writer who writes with no outline or plan, only an idea in their head) but became a "plotter" when she got published and suddenly had deadlines to deal with. Having an outline helped her to avoid going off on a tangent. Which can be detrimental when you have to cut out 75 pages because you've drifted so far from the actual plot line.

Someone also asked her about writers block and how she deals with it. She told us an amusing story about a writer friend of hers that snorkles in her bathtub to get through writers block. She then told us that she didn't do anything quite as exciting as that, but tried to cut writers block off at the source by outlining. She also gives herself permission to suck, because "No one ever has to see the first draft." That is one peice of advice that I totally agree with.

This post keeps getting longer and longer, and, even though no one is likely to read it,  I want to get this all down.

Fun fact: Kelley Armstrong first wrote The Summoning as a NaNoWriMo novel! It was her first attempt at YA fiction, and she didn't want to waste a lot of time on it if it wasn't going to work out. So she wrote it in the month, and, though she decided that it needed a lot of work and ended up rewriting it entirely, actually got it down, which is pretty exciting.

I think that's everything I wanted to get down. I will probably remember more things later on, but I'll write them down somewhere else. Also, if you've been wondering why I haven't been uploading any short stories lately, it's because about 5 novel ideas have attacked me recently, and it's getting difficult to think outside of the lines of those novel parameters. But I should be back with an interior monologue and a dialogue before too long, if my Writers Craft teacher ever photcopies them for me.

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