Brisbane Writers Festival and New Friends

Hey guys,

Last Saturday was the 5th of September, 2015 and this meant that it was Brisbane Writers Festival time! I had been eagerly awaiting this day for weeks, maybe even months, mostly because my all time favourite author was going to be making an appearance. Cassandra Clare had arrived in Brisbane!!! *Squeals with delight*

After a stressful week of dreaded QCS exams and despite having even more exams the following week, I felt like I could afford to spare a single day of my study filled weekend to go see my favourite author. So off I went, driving in to town with my bright yellow ‘loser’ L plates on the car and hoped to meet Li Cunxin (author of Mao’s Last Dancer) to get my book signed. But unfortunately I don’t think he was signing. So I scurried (thanks for the word, Brett) across the Victoria Bridge to what was the Love YA session. This session ran all afternoon with various authors giving speeches ranging from the importance of human characters right through to publishing pathways. After having waited around to see Li Cunxin, who I never ended up seeing anyway, I arrived late at the first session of Love YA.

First up, it was Christine Bongers, Deb Fitzpatrick and Daniel Herborn. While I arrived late to their talk, I still found their chat rather interesting. I am now finding I want to read all of their books, as I have never read any of theirs. This is dangerous! I really do not need to extend my TBR pile any further!! But the deed is done! These authors discussed love, relationships and the feature of ordinary humans in their creations. It seemed that they had all written about their own experiences and I find that this makes a book very relatable for the reader. That gives me even more incentive to read their books.

Next was John Marsden. This session I didn’t see much of as about two weeks ago, I joined a group on Facebook called Aussie YA Bloggers & Readers. While I had known that some of them were going to be at BWF, I had no idea whether I would find any and meet them in real life. However, at the end of the first session, I did. I met Brett, Jeann and Maureen, and later on Meleika. These people were all so lovely and I found myself fitting with them straight away. It was like I had found my people! For an introvert such as myself, I was surprised to find that I had absolutely no problem talking to them and developing a friendship with them. I went to lunch with Brett, Jeann and Maureen before heading back up to the John Marsden presentation just so I could get my book signed.

David Burton, Eliza Henry Jones and Kristina Shultz spoke next and they talked about the various pathways to publishing. This I found to be one of the most interesting topics of the day as someday I wish to be published.

Finally it became the moment I had been waiting for. Cassandra Clare and Holly Black!! It was so good to hear them talk. They were hilarious and had the whole room laughing the entire time. There were so many people dressed up as shadowhunters, runes included, that I almost felt a little bit left out! I felt sort of bad for Holly Black as Cassie got most of the questions from the crowd. I guess not as many people have read Holly’s books as they have Cassie’s. I confess… I am one of those people. I have never read a Holly Black book. I’ve just hoarded them. While I got a book signed by Holly, I had to pretend that I had read her books. She asked me a question about it too and I just about died.

I also got Cassie’s signature and got to ask her a question about writing. I asked her: Aside from reading and writing more, what advice do you have for aspiring authors? I got her stumped for a little while before she finally gave me an answer. This is what she said: Write the book that you want to read. If the book you want to read doesn’t exist yet, write it.

I had wished that I could go to BWF all weekend, but unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to have another study-free day.

My City of Heavenly Fire book is now signed and now sits proudly on my shelf with the front page marked in black ink, and so does my Spiderwicks Chronicles book and While I Live (John Marsden). I had such a great time at the Brisbane Writers festival and already can’t wait for next year. I’m already wondering which American authors are going to be making an appearance. I love the new friends that I’ve made and the interests I share with them. Hurry up next year!!

~Maddie xx

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