Today I went to my first book conference and... I'm hooked. I want to go to more! I definitely plan to return to this one each year (as scheduling allows) and maybe even bring some kids back, too!

It truly was a reader's heaven.

When I first heard of the conference and read through the line-up, I only recognized three names: Laurie Halse Anderson, Shannon Hale and Ann Brashares. And then there was 25 other authors I had never heard of. Or thought I had never heard of.

Many of them are pretty big names in YA lit right now, and I had seen their books on shelves or read one of their books before. It was fun to sit through panels and feel like you were just hanging out with these awesome authors--many of whom are equally awesome people.

Because it's the Teen Book Conference, there were a lot of teens present. And it was great to listen to the questions they would ask. While the most famous question of the day was, "How do you deal with writer's block?" (there were lots of great advice and occasionally pat and unhelpful responses to that one), a lot of kids ask really deep questions about the writer process, their characters, and just who the authors are as people.

Those were my favorite questions. While I definitely wanted to glean advice from these great minds, I was more excited to learn about their lives and feel like I knew them personally.

The three authors I definitely knew before the conference (see above) were just as awesome as I imagined they would be. They were witty, funny, passionate about lots of interesting things... as I tweeted at some point in the day:

The tweet all authors favorited! I felt so fake-famous!

My favorite moment was sitting in the panel Ann Brashares was in. My friend Lara wanted to go because of another author Matt de la Pena (her 8th graders just finished reading one his books). So we're both geeking out of being super close to them (we sat in the front row on the floor just so that we could be) and took some pictures. At one point, Ann looks over at me and I smile and wave and then she smiles and waves... and I honestly did as silent of a squeal as possible and began freaking out.

I'm sure she thought I was a cute young teen and not a grown 28-year-old, but who cares? At that time, it was the best moment of my life, haha.

Normal Picture

Our stalker selfie with Ann and Matt in the background
Lara and I with Matt de la Pena! The 8th graders at our school will be so jealous!

Picture with Ann Brashares. One of the best moments of my day! 

Anyway, being there really inspired me to think about my writing some more. And not living in fear. And just doing what I love. And yeah... all the things you should feel when you're around greatness. If you're interested in finding out more about the conference, check out the website or get on Twitter and search the #TeenBookCon. Lots of good stuff! Can't wait until next year!

Fingers crossed that I carry all the new tidbits of wisdom and inspiration with me and start creating!

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