One of the many things I did during my internship over the summer was work on marketing and promotion in my focus groups for tonight's culminating event for Teen Read Week 2010. So I was super excited to be able to attend the event at TU tonight.
Melissa Marr is the author of the Wicked Lovely books, with the fifth and final book, Darkest Mercy, due out this spring. Over the summer I read the first four books, with Wicked Lovely and Fragile Eternity (books 1 and 3) being my favorite. Knowing that she has to tie the story up, I am really looking forward to book 5. She also has her first adult book due out in June.
Tonight she came and spoke as our big event for Teen Read Week. She was real, honest, approachable and funny. The audience in turn was respectful and kept the questions coming. She talked about her childhood, relationships, mistakes she had made, inspiration for her stories, and advice for inspiring authors. She was open about her past, experiences and beliefs. Was she what I expected, yes. But she was filled with wonderful stories and completely won me over.
One of the best points she made was that every story starts by answering one of two questions. 1) How did we get here? or 2) Where do we go next? Every story needs conflict, that's the basis of life, so start with asking yourself how you can really screw this up and then what happens next.
Her advice to aspiring writers was brutal and great. If the only thing that is preventing you from writing is a lack of time, her question back at you is this. "How many hours a week do you spend watching TV?" Turn off the TV and use that time to write. If you always have with you a way to take pictures and a way to take notes you will always be prepared when inspiration strikes. Eliminate your excuses.
Oh, and she was a YERD!! Yay for yearbook:)
I really enjoyed tonight, and know that if I ever get a chance to hear her speak again, I will jump at it. I left with a smile on my face and a signed copy of Wicked Lovely in my hands.