Here is basically everything that happened to me at the Colorado Teen Lit Conference:
(I also live-tweeted this, so check out either my Handle @AGirlNamedOwyn in the side links or #CTLC2013)
So I got there at 7:20 AM, with registration being at 7:30. I was tired, but I knew it would be worth it.
I got my name tag (They spelled my name right! Huge accomplishment!) and managed to find the lovely person, Marge, who got me a position on the Teen Connections Panel and a reviewing article in her literary magazine.
Marge told me to find her after I got settled and, after putting all my stuff with my friend Jake’s group (he was going with a library Teen Advisory Board and this was just a coincidence),
|Jake's the one smiling|
I found Marge after I got settled.
Basically, she told me I had to interview a person who won the opportunity to interview Jay Asher and
Lauren Oliver (the main speakers at the conference).
So, after Lauren Oliver’s lovely keynote in which she made me LOL multiple times, I got to go to a room in the CU Denver and meet a lovely girl named Mahalee (Ma-hay-lee), a boy named Quentin who was our Tech Genius and two awesome people from the Denver Public Library.
Jay Asher wasn’t there yet, so we just interviewed Lauren Oliver. (She got to sit next to me, A BEST-SELLING AUTHOR SAT NEXT TO ME AND LET ME TALK TO HER)
Then we got to go to our first sessions, late. I went to one called “Writing Myths for Teens” and it was very interesting. Like how we can write things that defy the stereotype. Like teens can drink in moderation and every body is beautiful. And it was really informative and awesome. I definitely learned a lot.
I went back to the room to interview Jay Asher. Again, Mahalee had some great questions but she let me ask one, and it was amazing.
And I got to take a selfie with Jay Asher. Which warrants ALL THE FEELS.
Then, when he left (again, interview in link above), I got to interview Mahalee.
Here it is:
Me: Hi so I’m interviewing someone who interview uh (we laugh) Jay Asher and Lauren Oliver at the Colorado Teen Lit Conference. Tell everybody who you are.
Mahalee: I’m Mahalee Partner, I’m 14 in 8th grade, and I go to (I don’t want to name her school).
Me: How did you get into the Colorado Teen Lit Conference?
Mahalee: Well, I just went online… I’m a total book addict… And I saw there was a contest to meet them and they’re two of my favorite authors so I entered, not expecting to win, because I’ve never really won anything before. And then they called me up like, “You won” and I was like, “That’s really shocking, didn’t plan it.”
Me: Where did you get your questions from? (Because her questions were really awesome and concise.)
Mahalee: I came up with most of the questions and then I had my sister help me.
Me: How did you get into reading their books?
Mahalee: Well I’ve always been a book reader because my family moves around a lot and in the third grade we made a move, it was the biggest impact up to then. I became quiet and this shy little girl that sat in the background. I never really had anything to do until my mom said, “Hey we’re going to the library, want to come?” Ever since then I’ve been into reading.
Then, after that interview, we both went to a session that talked about libraries getting into social medias and blogging.
While I do believe libraries should be “hip” I don’t think they should have Tumblrs. That is too Cray.
After Session 2, there was lunch. And I got to listen to Jay Asher tell us how he wrote an Easter story and wrote a letter to himself anonymously because he wrote a positive review for Vanilla Ice. And we all offered support by “awwing” appropriately.
Then we got to Session 3, and this was my favorite. BreeErvin talked about Sex in YA books. And I thought she handled it in a mature but hilarious way. And I definitely have some books to read.
This is where we get to the Teen Connections Panel. I was a bit nervous sitting in front of a bunch of people asking some very amazing authors questions, but I am very stubbornly confident. So I tried to look chill.
But inside I was fangirling.
By the seating chart, I got to sit right next to Lauren Oliver with Jay Asher sitting on her right.
And they remembered me.
It was amazing.
Lauren started digging through her purse and grabs her phone. She proceeds to show me a picture of her fiancee who did the cutest thing with his goatee hair (tweet her about it).
Then she digs through her purse again, saying, “I am so excited.”
So I said, “Why are you excited?”
“Because…” She pulls out a book-sized pad of Post-It notes. I laugh. “I got these Post-It notes!” She was pretty damn excited.
“Those are huge!” I exclaimed.
“The importance of the note is directly proportional to the size of the Post-It so you know your notes are very important.”
“I’m especially excited because they’re supposed to stick to everything.” And then she pointed to the logo that stated this.
“Well let’s see.” And then, of course, she puts the stick note on the right side of my head above my ear.
I laugh. She goes to take it away saying, “I should probably take this out, it will hurt your hair.”
And I was like, “NO this is symbolic of our awesome interaction.” And then she laughed and let me be with my crazy.
“If you want, I can sign it.”
“Yay! Thank you.” And I heard her rummage around and then felt her write on this giant, bright green sticky note that was just sticking to my head and practically blocking half my vision.
People in the front row told me she had written, “You are awesome ^” Then her signature.
Fangirling. So. Hard
And then the Teens got to the questions.
Because I’m such an egotist, I only remember mine:
To Jay Asher:
When you were 15 or 16, would you have wanted to see your future 15 years from then?
And he said: (paraphrasing)
That he definitely wanted to and that’s what he wanted to explore in The Future of Us. And while writing the story, that opinion kind of changed. But, yeah, when you’re given that opportunity you have to.
To them both:
You both mention that receiving criticism is very important. Do you have any advice on taking it?
Lauren: (paraphrased) Don’t read reviews, just trust a small group of people whose opinions and feedback matter to you.
Jay: (paraphrased) Sometimes you just gotta know when to take it and when to ignore it.
How do you overcome writer’s block?
Lauren: (paraphrased) Writer’s block doesn’t exist… Just sit down and write, even if it’s bad.
Jay: (paraphrased) Try to write whenever you can and “Don’t get discouraged”.
(P.S. I sat through that whole Panel with that sticky note signed by Lauren Oliver on my head. It was magical.)
And then she hugged me and I shook Jay Asher's hand and I am SO EXCITED.
Go to it. Even if you don’t live here. Make effort. It’s worth it.
Someone who took a selfie with Jay Asher (AKA Owyn)