Over the past few weeks, I've had the opportunity to attend a couple of really awesome SCBWI events. First, the SCBWI Carolinas fall conference.
I heard the tenacious, talented Beth Revis speak about not giving up, revision, determination...and that first, INCREDIBLE chapter of her novel, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE (the rest of it is damn good too!).
Carrie Ryan was also there - and was also super nice! (Her books have such fantastic titles - I totally have title envy!)
I got to spend some quality time with a new crit partner, Maggie, and meet some truly wonderful writer folks. It is always surprising and gratifying to me how friendly the industry professionals who attend these events are...they're so generous with their advice and time. There's a sense of community, comraderie...the only other place I've felt that is on Twitter, and it's even better in person. :-)
The other event I attended was a writer's schmooze in Asheville, where I had the great pleasure of hearing Stephanie Perkins speak. She's the author of two of my very favorite books: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and the newly released LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, and is an incredibly thoughtful, interesting person. And yes, I was a TOTAL fangirl and arrived with several copies of LOLA for her to sign (and okay, drove 2.5 hours to see her. Which was SOOO worth it, by the way!) :-)
What struck me about both events was that it was nearly impossible to tell who was aspiring, who was successful...who had a book deal, or a book published, or a manuscript written, by their attitudes. EVERYONE was kind and friendly and supportive. There was no line between pubbed and unpubbed or big deal, modest deal. Everyone who attended these events - at least all the folks I talked to - were just genuinely excited about writing, about the community... and, in the case of last weekend, the GORGEOUS weather and general awesomeness of Asheville.
I love, love, LOVE the YA lit community. I've said this before and I'm SURE I'll say it again...but it's the best professional community I've ever belonged to, and I am thankful for every single writer, agent, editor, librarian, and bookseller who's a part of it.
And everyone who's made ME feel a part of it.
** I am also VERY thankful to Stephanie and her husband Jarrod for introducing me to the deliciously chocolatey wonders of Asheville. Soooooo yummy! (MAJOR HOTSAUCE was also very grateful, when I arrived home with a piece of amazing chocolate cake just for him.) ;-)