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Today, Garlow wants to know: If you could have a two hour chat with an author where you could ask them anything about craft and the industry, who would it be?
Oh? Do I get to go first? Ah! I’m so excited. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met a few of my favorite authors before hand (shout out to LeakyCon 2012 where I met John Green and Maureen Johnson, GeekyCon 2015 where I gushed to Holly Black about The Spiderwick Chronicles and Freddie Highmore, and fangirled over Dream Team Ransom Riggs and Tahereh Mafi, and NerdCon: Stories 2015). But if there is any author I could sit down and talk to right now and I seriously mean right now it’s Leigh Bardugo.
I saw Leigh Bardguo at GeekyCon 2015 at a few panels, one of them where she arrived late because she was on deadline and was taking a much needed nap. I then realized last year she was on deadline for Crooked Kingdom and could have been working on Chapter 40. However, I really want to ask Leigh about her adult series, Ninth House. That series is dark. The first book is also a dual timeline multi-POV. As a huge Gilmore Girls fan, I find myself drawn to stories that are set at Ivy League schools and since Leigh is a Yale alum, I just want to hear all the gossip that happened there. I then want to know how that helped transfer over to Ninth House. (Shameless plug for the sequel Hell Bent coming out in January 2023)
And for an author who is no longer among us, I would hands down pick Louisa May Alcott.
-Briana, The Mystery Writer
I’m so jealous of Bri that she’s met all these authors! This is such an awesome question, Garlow. If I could chat with one author on Craft, it would be Sarah J Maas. I started writing my fantasy series after I read ACOTAR. I finished reading it and while I wasn’t quite mind-blown by the plot of book 1, I was enthralled by the idea of worldbuilding. She had introduced me to fantasy in this easy-to-grasp yet fascinating manner and I wanted to be able to inspire people like that too. And then the more I read the series, the more impressed I was by her ability to check all the storytelling boxes. Characters? Lovable. Plot? Twisty, turning, and captivating. World building? Unique and dazzling. It’s not a trio many authors thrive in and she manages it while churning out two books every year.
She’s also the first—and so far only—author whose writing process I relate to in that she churns out thousands of words daily with little hassle. And loves every bit of it. When I speak with or listen to most writers, they often share how writing is a struggle, and there are so many memes about procrastination as a writer that I don’t relate to, so it feels good to see a writer who writing also comes very easily to. And her two-books-a-year method is something I’d love to be able to do someday too. While I listen to a lot of her podcasts and interviews, Craft isn’t something she delves deep into in them. So I’d love to have a chat with her and pick her brain on her storytelling processes!
—Lucia, the YA Fantasy Writer!
I can’t believe all the amazing authors Bri got to meet! That’s amazing. I love this question by the way. Because my answer this year would probably have been so different from last year. Without a doubt I would love to meet Elle Kennedy. She is the Best Selling Author of the Off Campus series. One of the reasons is because I love her writing style and quite frankly most of her books.
But the main reason why I would love to meet her is to ask her about her experiences with publishing and how does she manage to create so many lovable and sexy characters without having to deal with the pesky same plot bunnies for every story. As a romance author, we rely on tropes and the growing love of the two main characters and every time I read an Elle Kennedy book, I know I will read a distinctive voice. I also love the fact that she is traditionally and self published. But if and hopefully when I meet her I will have at least an hour to ask her questions, because I’ll definitely waste at least 2 minutes just blabbering and making absolutely no sense.
-Alex, Romance Writer!
Wow this is a difficult one. Firstly, I just want to say that I probably don’t want a two hour chat with anyone because my introverted self cannot handle a conversation for this long without wanting to keel over and bury myself in a hole. I’m also terrible at choosing, so any one of Fonda Lee, Neil Gaiman or Ken Liu would be great! What’s in common with all three of them is their skill at complex worldbuilding, which is so important for SFF writers but at the same time so hard to do in a coherent way. I’d love to be able to ask them for tips and tricks when it comes to creating lush new worlds and characters that live and breathe in those worlds, and how they manage to keep track of all these different moving pieces so they can weave them into one giant story.
-Amber, YA/NA SFF!
This is such a great question, and I’m loving all your answers. Choosing one author feels SO hard… but I’d have to say Emily Henry. She’s one of the most successful romance authors out there, and honestly, I love her work so much I’d probably read her grocery lists alongside any book she writes in the future. I’d want to pick her brains for two hours about how she got into writing, what her querying/publishing journey was like, and what advice she has for a hopefully-soon-to-be-published debut romance author.
I also feel like Emily Henry is a pro at writing witty banter, comedy, and slow-burn chemistry–three things that are a staple in my books! I’d want to get some tips from her on improving my craft and surviving publishing.
-Swati, Desi Romance & YA!
This is such a fun question and I’ve enjoyed reading all these answers (Bri, how lucky you are!). In my case, I’d definitely choose Nicholas Sparks. He’s my favorite author and I just love his books. I’ve been a fan for a long time and I really enjoy the movies that are based on his novels. My favorite ones are The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and The Best of Me. I’ve seen the movies several times and I can read the books again and again. But the way, his new book Dreamland is coming out in September and I can’t wait.
If I could meet him in person, I’d like to know what’s the secret to his success and to have his books in the New York Times Bestsellers each time they release. Also how does he come up with inspiration for new ideas (since he already has 23 novels!). I’d also like to know his own story as a writer. How he began this journey, what type of struggles and obstacles he faced before becoming successful and what was the inspiration to write his first novel (The Notebook). Another question would be why does he think it was so special that it became a movie and even a musical (wow!). Finally, I’d also love to know more about his philanthropic projects and the writing program he champions.
-Mariana, PB Writer!
What about you readers? What authors would you like to meet?