So, I’m sure all of us book junkies can agree that one of the most exciting things to do is to meet authors in person. The ability to tell an author face to face what their writing means to us, to ask them “seriously, where did you get the idea for this book” or “you just had to kill _______ he/she was my favorite!! (insert tears here)” is pretty much priceless to bookworms. Some of us even have a bucket list of authors they must meet no matter when/where/how.
I recently had the chance to help run a YA author panel that included four of my favorite authors (and people for that matter), and I thought I’d take a few minutes to share a bit about each of these incredible women and their books. The panel included Liz Czukas, Stacey Kade, Lori M. Lee, and Erica O’Rouke… all four of which are proud Midwesterners I might add!
Liz has published multiple YA titles through various publishing routes and perfectly blends contemporary fiction, a dash of humor, and wonderful characters. Her latest release, Throwing My Life Away, just came out December 20th, and brought back so much nostalgia while I read. The main character, Mariska’s stepfather throws her high school mementos away just a couple of weeks before she and her friends are all to leave to college, so now she feels obligated to recreate each memory before time is up. The reminder to live in the here and now and the wonderful dialogue throughout this novel make it a fun read for both teens and adults alike.
Stacey, I’m ashamed to admit, was actually a “new” author for me. Although she has released tons of glorious YA titles, I somehow had never read one. What was I thinking?! Her newest book, For This Life Only, sounds like an incredible read about dealing with loss and finding your way after you think you have lost all faith. Listening to Stacey talk about her upbringing as a Pastor’s daughter and the reasons she has always wanted to publish this story gave me goosebumps. I have a feeling this book will be a top read for me in 2017, and I cannot wait to dive in and meet Jacob Palmer and hear his story.
Lori M. Lee is one of the kindest souls and has epic writing skills. Her world building and character development in her YA book Gates of Thread and Stone are flawless. A cool mixture of fantasy, science-fiction, and a tad romance, these books can be adored by readers of all genres. Her main character Kai, cannot remember anything about her life prior to her adoptive brother, Reev, finding her when she was 8. When Reev goes missing, Kai goes on a mission to find him despite whose path she crosses and what mess she’s entering into. Lori is also working on a short story for an upcoming anthology that I cannot wait to get my hands on!
Erica O’Rourke also has lots of wonderful YA (and a new adult mystery, Time of Death, under pen name Lucy Kerr!), but my all time favorite is the Dissonance duology. I was so immersed in Del’s story as a time walker who can travel to parallel worlds. The concept of parallel worlds has always intrigued me, but the way Erica ties this idea into a story about family, love, finding yourself, and finding what’s right floored me. I’ll admit I’m slightly obsessed with these books and their characters… and wouldn’t mind if there were more books about them (Erica, are you reading this??).
These are some definite must read YA authors for you all! And I had an absolute blast listening to each author talk about writing process, their books, their inspiration, and even the funny foreign titles that their books get (have you ever looked up alternative titles for books… I have learned they can actually be quite amusing!).
Which authors have you met and absolutely loved? Anyone on your author bucket list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Hugs, and happy reading to you all!!