Monday, March 28, 2016

#PenguinTeenOnTour Event Recap

In case you somehow haven’t managed to see the bajillion posts I’ve put up in the past month that talk about the #PenguinTeenOnTour signing, well… I went to the Penguin event on March 25th in St. Louis. Karen Bao, April Genevieve Tucholke, Sabaa Tahir, Alywn Hamilton, Rachel Hawkins, and Alison Goodman were all there to sign books and answer questions.

The event started off with the panel discussion and the authors answered questions that were mostly about writing and characters. I’ve recapped the Q&A to the best of my ability, but I’ve summed some stuff up and left some stuff out (unintentionally, I can’t take notes on everything and still enjoy myself). 

Q: How long did it actually take you to write your book and/or get published?

Sabaa’s Answer: Six years.

Rachel’s Answer: Six months for Hex Hall.

Alwyn’s Answer: Six books.

Alison’s Answer: Six months until I was picked up. (Random note: She has a lovely Australian accent.)

Karen’s Answer: I wrote a butterfly book about climate change that was published by my school. In college/high school (note sure which) I wrote a book and contacted my orchestra instructor who was a literary agent. He helped me get published.

Sabaa made fun of Karen for being an “underachiever” because Karen is majoring in music studies and biology while writing books.

Q: Why do you like writing for young adults?

Sabaa somehow got onto the subject of loving chocolate and wanting chocolate before answering the question.

Sabaa’s Answer: Teenagers don’t have a lot of control in their lives and the corrupt government in my book kind of mimics parents and teachers controlling teens’ lives. Also, teens in refugee camps and the like have to deal with the regular problems teenagers have along with terrible situations.

Karen’s Answer: I get to revisit first times.

Q: If your characters were on a dodgeball team, who would win?

Alison’s Answer: Lady Helen wouldn’t be the one to spill first blood. However, Harper and Helen would probably be friends.

Rachel’s Answer: Harper would probably have a get-to-know-each-other party with snacks so everyone could be friends.

All of the panelists called Rachel the tour mom because she had a magic bag with random things like lozenges in it. Sabaa joked that she’d even have a cheeseburger in it.

Q: Which do you feel is more important when you write, plot or characters?

Alison’s Answer: Characters and plot are intertwined.

Karen’s Answer: World-building and characters are the ones I feel are most important.

Alwyn’s Answer: Plot came first in the first six books, but in Rebel of the Sands, the character development came in and I got published.

Q: What books would you recommend for readers?

Karen’s Answer: I need to read Glass Sword.

Rachel’s Answer: I blurbed And I Darken by Kiersten White. It was fantastic, but I don’t normally read YA when I’m writing unless I have to blurb it.

Sabaa’s Answer: I’m the same way. Though I’d recommend Renee Ahdieh’s The Rose and the Dagger and Ruta Sepetys Salt to the Sea.

Alwyn’s Answer: I have to read YA when I write. I really liked The Girl from Everywhere and The Winner’s Kiss.

Q: How do you write believable characters?

Sabaa’s Answer: I interviewed warriors for Elias like a member of the FBI and a police officer.

Alison’s Answer: You have to have motivation behind your character’s thoughts and actions.


That was the end of the Q&A, or at least the end of my notes. Immediately after the Q&A, the signing happened. 

The first author I met was Rachel Hawkins, and, while I was excited about meeting all of the authors, Rachel was the one I was most happy to meet (and the only one whose books I’d read).

She was impressed that I had all of her books to get signed and she asked me where I was from. We also fangirled over the Demonglass cover, and she told me she wanted the parasol from the cover but that it was actually Photoshopped in. 
Sabaa Tahir was sitting next to Rachel, so I went to her line next. 

I felt so ashamed because I hadn’t read An Ember in the Ashes yet, so I didn’t have a lot to say to Sabaa.

The next author I met was Karen Bao. Again, I hadn’t read her books and I had to admit that when she asked if I had. *sigh* Oh, the shame.

I made some lame excuse about being busy, but I told her not as busy as she seemed to be. She said she had two exams next week along with edits and touring to do. Eww…

I also awkwardly asked for swag from Karen and babbled about my love of buttons.

The fourth author I talked with was Alison Goodman. Because I don’t want my beautiful covers to get injured, I usually only take the book without the dustjacket to signings. Alison asked me, just to make sure, if I had gotten a dustjacket. I joked with her that I had. We also talked about history and having classes about the history of Middle Earth or other fantasy worlds.

April Genevieve Tucholke was stop #5. I think April was sick because she didn’t talk a lot during the panel. I felt bad getting only two of her books signed and not her new release. I just didn’t think Wink, Poppy, Midnight was my kind of read.

She signed my books with little devil horns, though. It was cute.

The last stop was Alwyn Hamilton’s section. Again, an author asked me if I’d read her book and I had to say no. L But she joked that she wasn’t my teacher asking if I’d done the homework. Alwyn also signed some swag for me.

I had all of the authors sign a poster Main Street Books gave out at the event.

Sabaa put devil horns and a tail on her pic, and Karen drew a unicorn horn on hers. :)

All in all, the signing was a super fun event. I met up with Carole again and we talked about other book-related events. All of the authors were nice and I can’t wait to read some of their books.


  1. It looks like you have some good pics this time. My daughter and I had a lot of fun hanging out with you at the event. It was such a nice time and all of the authors seemed to be having a great time. Awesome post!

    Carole @ Carole's Random Life

    1. Haha. Yeah, your daughter did a better job taking them on my phone than even I did. :)

      And ditto. I hope we see each other again in May. *fingers crossed*


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