As you may or may not know, I’m a college student at Boston University. So when I heard about the Boston Teen Author Festival, I decided I had to go. It was a free event and took place on a weekend. What excuse did I have? I ended up having a LOT of fun so I’m really glad I was able to attend.
BTAF took place in the Cambridge Public Library and the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Admittedly, it was super confusing trying to figure out where you were supposed to be and when. I kind of thought there would be signs up to help direct you to where you needed to be, but no such luck. There was a map in the schedule/program they handed out, but it was really confusing so that didn’t help much. Luckily the authors knew where they were going and were really helpful (thank you, Lori Goldstein) and there were plenty of volunteers and organizers that could help direct you too.
I ended up going by myself, but I was able to meet up with a few people who I met on Facebook in the OwlCrate group, The OwlCrate Society. I met up with Justin, Linda, and Michelle who were all really nice and it was really great to meet them all.
There was a welcome panel that had all 35 authors (if you want a full list of who was there, check out the BTAF website). It was pretty short but was basically an introduction to each author to familiarize yourself with them if you didn’t know who they were. They introduced themselves and their book(s) and each answered two questions: one was given to all of them (who would your MC be best friends with?) and then the other question depended on which row they were seated in. It was fun to get acquainted with them all.
After that, I headed to the “Speculative Fiction Reflecting Our World” panel which was really interesting. The authors at this panel were Victoria Schwab, Michael Buckley, and Malinda Lo. I had read books by both Schwab and Lo which is one of the main reasons I wanted to check out this panel. Like I said, it was really interesting. They talked about why they like writing speculative fiction and what they aim to do with their writing. Michael Buckley was hilarious and told a story about how when he started writing, there was a woman who read the first book in his Sisters Grimm series and hated it and left a one-star review. Then she bought the second book and hated that one too and left another one-star review. So he found her contact information and sent her a message to tell her not to bother buying the third book. I thought that was so funny, but honestly I would have hated to be that woman getting a message from him. Bad author behavior, but still a hilarious story.
Once that I ended, I went to the “Magic Beyond the Grave” panel which featured Roshani Chokshi (who I now have a crush on by the way), Zoraida Cordova, and Daniel Jose Older. I haven’t read anything by any of them yet, but have Chokshi and Older’s books. Their panel was a lot less structured and kind of just felt like 3 friends hanging out and having fun, but I honestly loved it. It was great to see them all so relaxed and just being themselves. They did have a lot of interesting things to say too. They talked about the different stories and mythologies that influenced their books and how their personal lives have influenced their writing as well. Cordova and Older got into a (friendly) argument over whether or not authors should have outlines. It was just a really laidback and fun panel.
I was starving after that so ended up skipping a panel and going and grabbing lunch with Michelle at Starbucks. BTAF did have a food truck set up outside, but none of the food sounded good to me since I’m a pretty picky eater so I just grabbed something small at Starbucks along with another coffee (7am on a Saturday does not work well for me). We also stopped by the Porter Square Books’ table where they were selling books by all the authors and I grabbed Adaptation by Malinda Lo and Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz (which I then found out was a sequel, so I ordered the first book off Amazon). Then we hung out and talked a bit before the next panel began.
The last panel I went to was Identity Crisis where Nicola Yoon, Lori Goldstein, I. W. Gregorio, and Martina Boone all talked about how they tackled identity in their books. This was probably my favorite panel of the day which is kind of ironic because I don’t own a single book by any of these authors. But basically, they talked about the different aspects of identity that they discuss in their books and I promptly added all of their books to my TBR because they all sound really great. I got a few bookmarks from them too which was cool. 🙂 (Side note: I totally forgot to take a picture of this panel and I’m really mad at myself.)
After the panels were over, the signing with all the authors began. At first, it seemed like it was going to be incredibly hectic because they had all the authors in one room and there was a HUGE line to get into the room. But once they opened the doors and everyone actually got in, it wasn’t bad at all. Schwab’s line was a mile long (as I expected), but everything else went really smoothly and was pretty quick. I was able to get all 6 of my books signed in about an hour and was pretty mad that I decided not to bring a Schwab book with me. I figured it was going to take awhile to get books signed and didn’t want to waste time in her line and really didn’t think I’d have time to hit her line and still get my other books signed. Once I realized I did have time, I was going to go buy one of her books at the table outside but they had packed everything up already. 😦 Oh well. I still got 6 books signed (and almost every author complimented me on how I spell my name which was kind of funny).
My highlight of the day was definitely getting to meet Roshani Chokshi. I had actually talked to her once or twice on Twitter so it was great to meet her in person. She was really, really nice (and also absolutely gorgeous – seriously, I’m in love). Meeting her has definitely pushed TSTQ further up on my TBR.
This event was super fun to go to and I loved getting the chance to meet and chat with some authors. It was great to listen to them talk about their writing processes and inspirations too and has me inspired to try writing myself (which okay technically I’ve tried to write before, but I never stick with it). I’m hoping that I’ll be able to attend more events like this and be able to return to BTAF next year.
Have you ever gone to an event like this? Which of these authors would you have wanted to meet?