But really. I am lucky to live within distance of so many talented people and get to meet fab authors and writers at events. Shannon Messenger was someone who's MG book Keeper of the Lost Cities I'd heard a LOT about - and I may have gushed just a smidge when I saw and met her at the YA or Bust event. Since then, I've had the pleasure of seeing her at a few more events, and she is always the cutest, sweetest, bubbliest person ever. So when I found out Shannon was having her launch for Keeper at the Oceanside BN, there was zero question that I would be there!
The entire event can be summed up in these words: So adorable and fun!
This is the first event I've gone to for a middle grade book (I don't think those happen often...anyone know?), so I admit to having to adjust to having so many kids running around. Full disclosure: children make me nervous. I just don't know how to talk to them! I will either baby talk to a 15 year old, or start chatting about college classes and textbooks to a 4 year old. It just doesn't work with me.
But! Seeing adorable middle schoolers talking so excitedly with Shannon about her book? Totally worth it. Shannon's face was so lit up, and the kids were so engaged and into the story...that is a total dream for an author, and getting to witness it was pretty magical. It makes me excited for the hopeful one day I will get to talk to someone who has read something I've written.
Also: one of the best set ups for an event ever! Shannon's family had brought tons of balloons, and she went all out with a fantastic baked goods spread (I chose the rice krispy treat over the ginormous cupcakes - delicious!), plus had a bunch of amazing goodies to give away or hand out...she knows how to do a Launch right!
|Look at that set up! Plus, do you see Ella the Elephant on the table? So cute!|
It started with Shannon discussing who she is and giving a small summary of Keeper, and after she read aloud a scene (if you've read it, it's the scene with Keefe!). There was a small bit of time after she finished reading an excerpt, so she answered questions - and let me tell you, it was mostly children asking her questions and it was so freakin' adorable I just wanted to squeal! There was a massive line for signing at the end, but that was fine for me because I was in line with Andrea Ortega and Amy Tintera and got to chat with them.
As per my usual event recap posts, let's do a bullet list!
- Before the event officially started I overheard a bunch of fifth and sixth graders chatting with Shannon: they're doing NaNoWriMo! And they were talking with her about what they were going to write.
- Keeper went through literally TWENTY drafts. The final hardcopy version? Draft 20.
- She had to change Fitz's hair in the story because he was originally blonde like Sophie and it made them look like brother/sister on the book cover.
- A young girl told Shanon that the Sophie on the book cover looks like her, and Shannon laughed and said "When I was 12, I was not that cute."
- Keeper took about 4 years total to write. Two years of planning, two years to write.
- When asked how she felt about writing the book, Shannon said it was stressful but a ton of fun.
- Shannon always like writing, but was very into the idea of doing art. When she realized art may not work out, she went into screenwriting. And then she realized she liked the writing part, but not the Hollywood part.
- Shannon is very proud of her book, but also thinks it's scary that it's out in the world now.
- A very adorable boy asked her if she liked magic things when she was young, to which Shannon replies yes, she really liked unicorns but there actually weren't too many magical books out at the time (like Harry Potter).
- She called Keeper a book written for her 12-year-old self because that was the age she ran out of things to read. She loved the Indian in the Cupboard series and wanted to write her book report on it, but her teacher told her it was too young for her, and gave her Little Women.
- When Shannon was growing up, there was a small gap in books available during Middle Grade years, and that's one of the reasons she wrote Keeper.
- Shannon gave charm bracelets and necklaces to a bunch of kids based on who came the farthest to see her.
So yes, definitely one of the best events I've been at - and possibly the best in terms of cuteness! I'm so happy for Shannon to get to see her book out and interacting with children who have read it. While I have not yet finished my ARC, I am about 50 pages in...and I seriously love it so far!
|ARC on the right, beautiful shiny hard copy on the left!|
|I had her double sign my ARC since I had her sign it a few months ago when I saw her again.|
I love doing these events, especially since I got to see a bunch of writer/author/reader friends that I don't normally see. Anyone coming to YA in the Sun? Because that's where we'll all be next!
Have you read Keeper of the Lost Cities?
*Photo Disclosure: I did my best to choose photos that didn't show any of the children's faces - if you are the parent of any of these kids and are uncomfortable with the photo being on my page, please contact me here and I will remove ASAP! Thank you!