YALC UK – Day Two

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If you missed my Day One post, click here.

On Sunday we arrived at Earl’s Court a bit more refreshed and prepared for what lay ahead compared to Saturday. We took solace in the fact that we actually had tickets and knew where everything was this time. We were also hoping to explore a bit more of the LFCC in between the book talks and signings.

The queue was still ridiculous but thankfully a lot more organised, and we got in after about an hour. We got tickets for all of talks that day but thought we might skip one or two to explore the rest of the comic con. When I say explore, I mean stalk Peter Peter Petrelli, the Game of Thrones cast and keep checking if Giles returned. He never did. 😦

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Murder Most Magical

With Ben Aaronovitch, Paul Cornell and Suzanne McLeod

The first event we attended was actually on the LFCC schedule rather than the YALC one, and it was all about crime fiction with a magical twist, based in London. Despite not having read any of the author’s books I really loved this talk. Dora is a big fan of Ben Aaronovitch, and after the talk we headed to the signing area to get one of her books signed.

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How to Get Published

With Phil Earle and Sally Green, chaired by Ben Horslen (Penguin Books)

This talk on how to get published was a great opportunity for any aspiring writer such as myself. I picked up some great tips, and felt pretty inspired to be honest. It’s been a long time since I thought about the novel I’ve been working on (or not) for years and this really put some wind back in my sails again.

Sally Green, author of one of this year’s biggest YA debuts, Half Bad, came across as really lovely, but I couldn’t help be envious of her story. Everything just seemed to fall into place for her quite easily.

On the other hand, Phil Earle shared his experiences too, and he seemed to have had more of a struggle with the publishing process so it was good to get that different perspective. The talk was chaired by an editor from Penguin too, and he gave some valuable insights into the editor/author relationship.

Crossover: Not Just for Kids

With Matt Haig, Anthony McGowan, Nick Lake and Meg Rosoff, chaired by David Maybury

After having a wander, and debating whether it was worth spending £20 to hug Peter Petrelli (we decided against it), we got back to catch the end of I’m too Sexy for This Book which was a talk we weren’t too bothered about but on hindsight I wished we’d stayed for. They talked a lot about LGBT sex in YA fiction and it sounded like an interesting discussion.

The next talk, about YA being a crossover genre was the one I was most looking forward to that day, and oh my, it did not disappoint. It was definitely the most controversial talk of the weekend, mainly thanks to Anthony McGowan playing devil’s advocate.

I don’t even know where to start, firstly he offended quite possibly most of the audience by saying that adults should be ashamed to read YA. He then went on to say how terrible Twilight and The Hunger Games are and that all YA fiction should be realistic and based in high school…what the hell?

It wasn’t completely serious though, there was a lot of banter, and the other panelists did a good job of shooting him down, but I was slightly miffed. I liked how Nick Lake went on a rant about why he thinks Twilight IS a great book.

One of things that came up in this talk and had been popping up in a lot of the talks, was about the term YA being relatively new. They posed the question of if The Lord of the Flies was released now, would it be classed as YA? They put it to Anthony that most of the books he considers classics would be classified as YA today. It managed to shut him up for a while.

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Read the bloody books you want to read!’

-Meg Rosoff (How I Live Now) was brilliant.

‘It’s a desperate fallacy that a book has to be complex to be worthwhile’

-Nick Lake (Hostage Three)

Sisters Doing it For Themselves

With Tanya Byrne, Isobel Harrop, Julie Mayhew, Holly Smale and Sarra Manning

This was another one of the talks that on paper, I wasn’t too bothered about but I’m really glad I attended. There was a lot of talk about how the likes of Katniss are great characters, but present an unrealistic view of girls. They asked the question, why do we have to be physically strong to be a heroine, or thought of as a strong female character?

I thought the authors did a really great job on this panel, not to mention that they managed to sneak in that perfect Joss Whedon quote. Tanya Byrne especially won me over, talking about how she is careful to never describe her female characters as thin or beautiful and just letting the reader picture them however they wish. I must read her books!

Holly Black & Sally Gardiner in conversation

The closing talk of YALC was all about fairy tales and magic – perfect! I was particularly excited because I love Holly Black a little bit. I feel like me and Holly Black need to be friends, and this only confirmed it all the more.

Afterwards we just had time to grab some free books (YAY) and head over to Holly’s signing table to get my copy of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown signed. She was lovely, of course, and she liked my unicorn t-shirt. We’ll be BFFs before you know it.

Random Happenings:

  • GILES NEVER CAME BACK 😦
  • Following Peter Petrelli around was pretty fun
  • I didn’t realise how popular T.J Thyne (Bones) is, his signing queue was constantly huge
  • It’s really heartbreaking when you see some people with massive queues, and others with none. I felt really sorry for them.
  • Someone gave me a free ticket for a Michael Madsen photo shoot which would have been hilarious, but clashed with the Holly Black talk so I had to give it away.
  • Free Sci-fi books? Oh, OK then!

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books of 2014

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (Click the image to visit them). This week the topic is Top Ten Books I’m looking forward to in 2014.

This wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I haven’t really had a lot of time to look forward to new releases, and I also haven’t read that many books that are part of series this year so don’t have many sequels on my radar. Well there are a few…

These are in order for a change (most anticipated first), and it just so happens the first five (bar one)are part of the only series that I’ve been fangirling over this year. May as well get them out of the way first, eh!?

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  • After the End by Amy Plum (May 6th): Again, I haven’t read any Amy Plum yet but love the look of her books. This one is no exception, the cover is stunning. Synopsis below.
  • Untitled (Warm Bodies #2) by Issac Marion (2014): Marion recently made this statement…

    I love that world. I love those people, and I want to show you what happens to them. So I’m writing another book about them. Another book-and-a-half, actually…but I’ll explain that later. For now, just trust that I have a story to tell and a reason to tell it, and I’ll try my best not to ruin everything.”

  • Half Bad by Sally Green (March 4th): I recently spotted this on the Waterstones website and thought it sounded awesome. It is Sally Green’s debut novel. Synopsis below.
  • Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare (Jan 28th): This looks like the very best kind of trash. AND the series is called Castles Ever After…SOLD!
  • Veronica Mars by Rob Thomas (Feb 4th): The first book in an original mystery series featuring twenty-eight-year-old Veronica Mars, back in action after the events of Veronica Mars: The Movie. I didn’t know this was in the pipeline either until now. I heart VM!

After The End – Amy Plum

She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Half Bad by Sally Green

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

What made your list?