Last September, Adam was invited to Anderson’s YA Literature Conference. Now, I was trying to conserve money, so I didn’t plan to attend due to the $100+ price tag. Until I saw that Stephanie Perkins was going to be there.
STEPHANIE PERKINS you guys.
I don’t know if you know how much I love Stephanie Perkins. First of all, her books are amazing. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is one of my absolutely favorite books ever. Second of all, her transparency about her struggles with depression is brave and I am grateful to her for being willing to share with us what she goes through. As someone who also deals with depression, I felt like I wasn’t alone.
So I decided that I needed to go to this conference. And I am SO GLAD I did.
I met some amazing people there. I got to network, and let me tell you something. When a published author asks about your work, asks to see your work, it’s a flattering feeling. (And later, getting feedback from these successful authors–I can’t explain how much it meant to me.) Something about being around authors, and books, and watching the panels and talking to people–it’s soooo inspiring. One of the things I love about the YA Lit community is how supportive it can be. I’ve been a part of it since 2005 (10 years) and while some of my friends have gone on to be published, or become agents or whatever, I still feel like that community is my family and that I have a place there. I just need to stay diligent and keep working and keep pushing.
You guys, I GOT TO MEET STEPHANIE PERKINS. Not only that, but she knew who I was and hugged me more than once. She is super lovely and just amazing all around.
me and stephanie
I don’t know if she realizes how much of an inspiration she is to me.
I also got to meet Kendare Blake. I’d loved her ANNA DRESSED IN BLOOD and GIRL OF NIGHTMARES, but I didn’t put two and two together when I was reading the guest list that she was the author of those amazing books. There was Demitria Lunetta, who wrote IN THE AFTER and IN THE END, two books I really enjoyed. I got to meet T.M. Goeglin, who wrote the amazing COLD FURY series, and we chatted about Sarah Jane Rispoli, who is one of the ass-kickingest heroines I have ever read. Joan Bauer is a true gem, and I was blessed to meet her. Alaya Dawn Johnson, who was just cool and also super beautiful. I spent a pile on books (as you can see by the picture up there).
Being around all those authors makes me realize that my dream of being a published author has not gone away. It went into hiding for a long time, and I know now that I wasn’t ready to be published. I wasn’t ready to do whatever it takes to get my book out there, and I wasn’t ready to be successful OR a failure. Now I am. Now I am ready to see my name on the NYT Bestseller list. Now I’m ready to dive headfirst back into the YA Lit community I used to be so deeply involved in. Because now I’ve found a balance, and I’m not using it to escape my life, but to enhance my life.
Who knows? Maybe one day people will be coming to see ME at Anderson’s YA Lit Conference.
But first, I gotta finish writing this book!