Friday, November 2, 2012

Abducted by Levithan Love

David reading from Every Day
Many of you know, David Levithan is my favorite author. Well, last Friday I was finally able to attend one of his book signings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! David was extremely nice, as was Rebecca Stead who was there to promote her newest novel Liar & Spy.

I had the best time and lucky for you guys...I took notes!

Originally I tried to spend time making this post flow from one topic to another and it was getting waaaaay to long, so if this piece seems choppy I apologize.


* The first question that someone asked to David was regarding the ending of his newest novel Every Day. This person literally started to say "I wanted to ask about the ending of Every Day because I didn't understand when........"

Now, I'm not normally a big stickler about spoilers, but with David being my favorite author, his books are seriously sacred for me. I haven't read anything about Every Day and I would have been devastated if, as this person was asking their question, David hadn't thrown up his arms hollering "NO NO NO!!!!!!" and stopped the person before they got to far into their spoiler.

My copies of Every Day and Will Grayson
David simply said that he did leave some questions at the end of Every Day, and yes he has his reasons. He also said that Every Day is the first book he has ever written that has the possibility for a sequel! So color me excited!!!

* Another thing that David mentioned about Every Day was that when he sat down and started writing out the idea of a person who wakes up in a different body every day, he thought the book would be about what would make each day different. What would be different about going to bed a tall dark overweight guy and waking up a small pale dainty girl? But what he found the further he got into the idea was that the only way to survive a life like that would be to focus on the similarities and commonalities among all humans.

I'm kind of shocked that wasn't an obvious hook for David, because I think that is what so many of his books are about! But I'm so glad that is what this one is about and I can't wait to read it in February as part of my Levithan Loveathon!


After David and Rebecca each got a chance to read from their respective books and before they turned to the audience for questions, they took the opportunity to ask questions themselves of each other.

my copy of Every You Every Me
"To Courtney - with every good wish
David Levithan" 
* Because Rebecca's second novel, When You Reach Me, won the Newbery Award, David asked her what it was like to have to follow that up. Rebecca said it was awful! She said that before when she was writing she wrote with the mindset of "No one is ever going to read this..." but now when she writes she is overwhelmingly aware of the fact that people will be reading!

David echoed this answer when he was asked if he preferred co-authoring books to solo-authoring books. He said he definitely prefers working with others and that it does affect his writing when he is aware of the fact that he is writing something for Rachel Cohn or he is writing something for John Green.

* David was asked how he felt about one of his books being banned, in regards to his first novel Boy Meets Boy. Simply put, he said that it sucks. It really sucks. Because people aren't basing the ban on his writing or on any pornography or vulgarity that is going on in the book. The ban is based on the ideas behind the books. Ideas that are based in equality and acceptance  But most people don't know that because the mere title of the book stops them in their tracks.

My copy of When You Reach Me
"To Courtney, Wishing you a life
of mystery and wonder
- Rebecca Stead"
* In regards to NaNoWriMo, David said that one of the hardest things he can do is sit down to write a novel, knowing that his intent is to write a novel! The majority of his first stories started out as short stories for Valentine's Day. He wrote them with the intent for them to be small little stories but they just kept growing on him. So while he respects NaNo for the tool that it is for a lot of people, he also understands that it can be a hindrance for others.

So David is definitely a pantser (ie someone who writes by the seat of their pants) and so my friend Holly (a pantser) was grateful for this bonding moment with David. But even though I am a planner, I still found this to be a very helpful point.

* Another point that they made that I could not wait to tell my friends, was when someone asked them what their reaction is when they find another book that seems to have a similar plot to the one they are working on.

David said his reaction was to scream "F%#K!!!!!!!" Which he did scream actually! Right there in the children's section! He then said that the important thing is to not give up on a book just because you find one that is similar. You have to think of the story as having threads, if you find a story that pulls the threads in one direction, all you really have to do is back up and pull it in another.

My copy of The Realm of Possibility
"To Courtney - With many possibilities
- David Levithan"
Rebecca said that when she was writing one of her novels, her editor called her and said that a novel was being released, The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. She was instructed to merely read the reviews for City of Ember and that was it! It was important for Rebecca to understand that her story and what she had to say was still important. By reading the reviews for that book she could back up just enough and pull the threads in just enough of a different direction that she was able to finish the book and not give up on it.

I'm pretty sure that was all in regards to When You Reach Me. She also said you have to be careful because you can start to see similarities between your ideas and another when none actually exist. When she was writing First Light she convinced herself that the novel Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer was her exact same novel...when it wasn't in the slightest.

My copy of Liar & Spy
"To Courtney - High five
-Rebecca Stead"
* At another point in the conversation they were both asked how they got into writing. For David it was a more natural progression because he was already in publishing working as an editor. But for Rebecca it was a greater leap of faith when she had to make the decision to leave her job as a lawyer to focus on her writing. She said that it took her years to feel comfortable actually calling herself an "author". But she wanted to take the time to say to all of us aspiring authors how important it is to not do that. If you write you are an author! Whether or not someone else likes it or even reads it. And we should all have pride in what we do and not try to minimize it. When we do, all we are are really doing is degrading ourselves.

The interesting thing about this book signing was that Rebecca (whose main characters are around 12-13) and David (whose characters are usually in high school) write for such different audiences. David asked if it was hard for Rebecca to revert back to that young age and with out any hesitation Rebecca said "Nope!"

What I found fascinating was that neither David or  Rebecca spend too much time visualizing the worlds in which their stories take place. I mean like, at all! Rebecca said that if the real life embodiment of her characters were to pass her on the street, she would not recognize them! The most she ever does is give her main characters a name and a gender, that is it. And yes, she does that intentionally. She wants any reader to be able to pick up the book and see themselves in the characters.

David said that he had been taking a poll among their fellow authors and it was about 70/30 for those who visualize and those who don't, with them, the non-visualizers, in the minority.


my copy of The Lover's Dictionary
"To Courtney - Ineffably Yours.
David Levithan"
One of the things that I love the most about David is how much he loves other authors. And I was not disappointed at the book signing because David was literally chomping at the bits to ask Rebecca his last question. Which was "What books would you want to recommend?" And of course he couldn't wait to ask her because he couldn't wait to give his own answer.

Her recommendations were:

~which David agreed was very good...

And David's recommendations were:


David was so excited to recommend these books that he had already purchased a copy of Ask the Passengers to give to Rebecca and he had a stack of extra copies of that one and Endangered up at the signing table in hopes that more people would pick them up! 


Me and Rebecca Stead
I was so nervous during the conversation part of the evening but when it finally came time to meet the authors I pulled myself together. 

I managed to tell David that he was my favorite author. Him and C.S. Lewis. His response was "So you like to stick with the -LE- section" and I was like "Yes, exactly, I don't like to venture out to far!" 

Then I told him about my blog and about my Levithan Loveathon! He laughed and said that he thought it was a great idea! I told him that if he ever needed an ego boost in February to check out my blog. He said he might have to take me up on that! Rebecca over heard and said that was the nicest thing and that she might need an ego boost from time to time too. 

When I met Rebecca, I unfortunately didn't have much to say because I haven't had the chance to read her books yet. But she was incredibly charming during the entire evening so she has a fan for life in me now! I bought When You Reach Me and Liar & Spy that night and I can't wait to read them! 

This all happened last Friday which was before Hurricane Sandy really hit the east coast. My thoughts are with them both now because Rebecca is a native New Yorker and David is from Hoboken NJ. I know that David decided to spend the week in TX but I'm not sure what Rebecca's plans were after the signing. I pray that their families and homes are safe! 

And I also want to send a big thank you to my friend Holly for coming with me to Austin and bringing her phone, which has a way better kick ass camera on it then mine does. Because if she wasn't there I wouldn't have this...

David Levithan and Me!!!


fakesteph said...

DUDE! I'm so excited that you got to meet David Levithan! I know how much you love him!!!!!!!!

Kimberly @ Midnight Book Girl said...

Such a cute picture! I can't believe someone was just going to blurt out the ending like that! I would have freaked out!!!!

Elena said...

You are sooooooooooo lucky. I'm jealous :(

I'm glad that you had a great time :)

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

This your best post ever! Seriously, I'm so glad you took notes- I kind of felt like I was there (hopefully no one minded David's Tarantino moment in the children's section, but I kind of think that the type of parents who let their kids read Leviathan probably aren't the type to mind a few F bombs).

I seriously love all the inscriptions too! I'm fine if the author just signs their name, or says something lame like To Kate, From Author X, but both David and Rebecca really gave it a personal touch. I have not read any of Rebecca's books, but now I want to!

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