Last Sunday I got the chance to attend Bloggers’ Forum with best-selling and award winning author, Emily Lackhart organized by National Book Stores. Emily wrote one of the most buzzed young adult book last year, We Were Liars and other young adult novels such as Ruby Oliver Series, Fly on the Wall, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks which won several awards like Michael L. Printz Honour Book, and Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel, and also a finalist for the National Book Award.
The forum was held few hours before Emily’s public book signing so basically, we have an hour or two of Q&A and chatting with her. During the Q&A, Emily is so enthusiastic and “animated” (as what the other bloggers call it). She is also contemplative giving each questions pondering before answering them. And when she answer, she hold no barred, sharing everything even her personal life to us. For an award winning author, Emily is so down to earth and easy to talk to.
She answered every questions we throw at her without hesitation, even the silly ones. And it’s really fun watching her while she answered them. When she narrates how she start pitching her idea for We Were Liars to her agents/editors as “story about real estate” we are all laughing with her. She is so lively in front doing all the gestures and mimicking the reactions of her editors for us. It was so hilarious. Wish I captured that part on video so you all see what I’m talking here.
Basically, most of the questions are about Emily’s book We Were Liars and her writing process. I asked her about her inspiration for including fairy-tale stories in We Were Liars which she answered with her history of owning a huge collections of fairy-tale books from her Mom. As a kid she read a lot fairy-tales because they have these box full of hardcover fairytale stories which they kept on lugging around every time they moved places. Even if they didn’t have much furniture or shelf, this particular box of fairy tales books is always with them. Her mom loves these books dearly that every time Emily got the chance to read them her mom has to make sure Emily has clean hands before touching the books or watch her reading making sure she won’t damaged them. Later on she found out that these books are actually given by her Dad to her Mom during courtship, which makes her realized that they’ve been carrying around a box of “marital baggage” (Emily’s words not mine) and that she was symbolically asked to held her parents marriage dearly. With that childhood background, writing fairy-tales for We Were Liars came very naturally for Emily and it was midway writing the book when she started adding these fairytale stories.
Also, Emily is writing a new book which sounds so exciting. It doesn’t have a title yet but it is about an “international jet-setting nineteen year-old con artists” which will be out next year through Random House Publishing. When Emily said “con-artist” I just picture Matt Bomer from the TV series White Collar which is a favorite series of mine. I know Matt isn’t nineteen year-old but still. Anyway, I have to cut myself before I talk too much about Matt Bomer or White Collar which has nothing to do with Emily’s book or this post.
(photo credit to Dea of Teen Readers’ Diary)
Watch Emily’s message after the Q&A:
“Well, you guys are all writers already. So I just applaud your spirit of inquiry and critique. I think young adult fiction especially, needs not only champions but critics. Who are willing to think intelligently and argue with one another and create an intelligent dialogue about literature for young people so I applaud you.”
Thanks you so much Emily for visiting us all the way here in the Philippines. It’s really a lovely and wonderful experience meeting and talking to you in person. Hope you got another chance to visit us again here. We are missing you already.
Thank you also to the people of National Book Stores and Powerbooks for inviting me to join the bloggers’ forum. It is always a pleasure joining your events.