Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween Teen Scream Recap

I had the pleasure to attend the Halloween Teen Scream event hosted by Wicked Good Books and Harlequin TEEN at the Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, MA earlier this week. Salem kicked off the Halloween Author Tour with three amazing authors, Kady Cross, Gena Showalter and Amy Lukavics.

The event had fun intros, Q & A, delicious refreshments, a costume contest and a book signing. It was definitely a memorable night with Elizabeth from Book YAbber and Marci from Reading in the Tardis.

I found it interesting how the some of authors didn't start their careers wanting to be authors right away. Gena studied microbiology and nursing before dropping out of the programs to pursue writing. Amy was in a dental assisting program and decided to write at the age of 19 because dental assisting provided too much pressure. A light bulb popped in her head with the idea, "I could write a story." Her first three books are dark contemporaries before she decided to write what really loved. Horror. And with that, Daughters Unto Devils was born! Kady has always loved writing when she was younger probably because her mother was always making up stories. As a teen, Kady wrote a lot of stories with angst and Duran Duran. After writing about 35 books, only one book Kady wrote did not get published.

For authors who are looking for advice, Kady, Gena and Amy provided excellent advice. Kady told inspiring authors to read outside your comfort zone because it can be inspiring and new genres can be created. Amy said perseverance is valued as much as creative drive. Patience is required and learning not to quit is super important. When writing a novel, you want to look at completing a complex puzzle and not trying to finish a marathon. Amy prefers not to set a word count when writing. Gena and Kady prefer to set a daily goal for themselves. However, social media can be very distracting when trying to reach a word count or when on deadline.

But what happens when your editor disagrees with something you wrote? Gena remarked how when she turned in The Darkest Kiss manuscript, her editor did not like Anya, the Goddess of Anarchy, as much as Gena did. Her editor wanted her to rewrite the manuscript with more sophistication but Anya is pure chaos! Gena claimed how she can't make Anya more sophisticated! Gena battled for two months and won! Her editor allowed Gena to keep Anya how she was written originally. Gena discussed how authors need to voice out their opinions on what they are passionate for.

What are the authors #1 horror inspiration? For Amy, even though it's cliché Stephen King inspired her. She is very fond of Carrie. Kady prefers Dracula with Frank Langella while Gena never really watched or read horror.

In terms of marketing and promotion, the authors believe in word of mouth. Kady wants to be better at promoting her books but she commented how "you can only write the best book you can" and hopefully readers will pick up the book. Gena believes in social media since its information is easily shareable. Kady jokingly mentioned how doing events with more well-known authors also boosts the word of the author to the public. Amy loves the social media interaction because it is more genuine and organic. Many authors are good friends and will promote their friends' books on social media to spread the word.

All three authors had some cool moments and interactions with readers over the years. Gena loves how readers will dress up as characters in her books and she remembered one time when a girl gave Gena flowers and told her her books helped her when she had cancer. Kady met a 9/11 firefighter and her books helped the firefighter through tough times. Her favorite interaction is when she was shopping with a friend at Torrid and the saleslady was ringing up clothing. The saleslady saw Kady's credit card. Kady's real name is Kathryn Smith and the saleslady was mentioning how her favorite author's name is Kathryn Smith. She pretty much freaked out when the Kathryn Smith at Torrid is the same person as the author. She was so excited she went to the back room to call her mom. Amy described how a fan remarked how a book dedication was misprinted and Amy later found out that the fan is the same person who co-wrote a book with Guillermo del Toro.

One member of the audience asked each author what is their favorite character they wrote about. Kady loves her Jack Dandy in the Steampunk Chronicles. Gena has a soft spot for William in Lords of the Underworld. Amy's favorite character is in a book that didn't get published. She loves her Gemma.

A reader was curious about the authors' ages since they all look so young. Surprisingly Gena is 40-years-old even though she looks like she is in her teens or early 20's. Amy is 28-years-old even though she looks in her early 20's and Kady is 44-years-old even though she looks like she is in her 30s.

And one of my favorite questions is what are the authors working on next? Kady is working on the second book in the Sisters of Blood and Spells duet. She hates the word duology and prefers the word duet. She is also working on a book about a revengeance spree against a girl who is assaulted. Gena's next book is Firstlife which is a Everlife novel. She is working on a bunch of other titles such as Strawberry Girl and The Darkest Torment in the Lords of the Underworld series. Amy has another horror book coming out next year called The Women in the Walls!

Elizabeth, Marci and I had a blast at the event. Hopefully you were able to catch Kady Cross, Gena Showalter and Amy Lukavics on tour this week.

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