Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Fathomless: The Release Party

I know some people don't get it. But it's my obsession. Like my hubs put it, "Some people have drugs or alcohol, we have books." This is true. At least my obsession is beneficial to the brain, just not the pocketbook. I have tried, really tried to cut back on the amount of books we purchase. But my main weakness, in relation to books, is author signed books. There's just something about going to an event, hearing the author speak about the process that went into a beloved read, and then having just a few moments to speak to the author one on one while he or she personalizes and signs their work for me to take home and treasure. There is really not many things in life I can think of that bring me as much shear joy as having that signed copy in hand. And that is why, hubs and I (and occasionally my mama) will drive HOURS to go to author events that last less than an hour. I realize how truly blessed I am that they put up with me and indulge me! It took me 26 years to understand that reading can be such an inclusive hobby and bring immense amounts of happiness, on more than one level! So, yes we do go on lots of bookish adventures and "waste days" just to have precious signed books but man, I have never been happier in my life!

OK, confessional over. That just was to lead into the most recent bookish event hubs and I attended...the release party for Georgia author and University of Georgia graduate Jackson Pearce's (JP) most recent YA novel, Fathomless held at the Barnes and Noble on Northpoint Parkway in Alpharetta. (BTW, they often host book signings and whatnot so if you are in the area check them out!) Fathomless a retelling of "The Little Mermaid" fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. (I'll have a review up for the book later this week.)  In this post I just wanted to share with you some of things Jackson spoke about at the the release and some photos from the event.

Jackson Pearce
Talking about her Fathomless inspired
bracelet, it was an anchor
and adorable and her sister's. :)

Let me preface by saying that Jackson was hilariously entertaining during her talk, so we laughed a lot and really had a great time. For example, she told us about a school visit she had where they introduced her as the author of Fat Homeless (instead of Fathomless...ohmygosh! Ooops!) Jackson spoke about the challenges to writing Fathomless. First, she said writing Sisters Red and Sweetly had the perk of being based of Grimm fairy tales because the Grimm tales have many different versions and there are less variations of the Hans Christian Anderson tale, "The Little Mermaid." It was also a challenge because everyone is familiar with the Disney version of The Little Mermaid, which Jackson assured readers she is a fan of, although due to Ariel having all those sisters with different colored hair JP was concerned about the Mer-Queen's fidelity. (HA!) The original tale and Disney are similar up until a point, in the original the prince never realizes the Little Mermaid is the one that saved him. There is actually a girl from a near by temple that comes out to him while he is recovering on the beach and the prince falls in love with her and she turns out to be a princess so things work out pretty good for them. JP said she feels sorry for that temple girl because this is really her love story and the Little Mermaid is a home-wrecker the Prince doesn't even love! Jackson indicated that she really wanted to tell the story of the temple girl.

Challenge number two came in with using ocean girl lure. JP wanted her mermaid to be melancholy but it was hard to make them be sad with they don't remember why they are sad. JP said she knows how she wants you, the reader, to feel when the book is done. She shared with us a poem she wrote when she was child and it began, "Sadness is the color brown..." The point being you can pick a color and describe how that color makes you feel. It seems like it would be a pretty good exercise to get creativity flowing. Maybe. (This challenge makes more sense after you've read the book.)

Clayton must have said something because
he has both Jackson's and my

The last big challenge Jackson faced in writing Fathomless was that it is the third in the series and she had to remember the rules she created in the first two books. She talked about how adding one line the previous book caused her to have to rework this one.

Jackson shared with us that the there will be another book in this series, a retelling of the Snow Queen (YaY!), but it is still untitled at this point. And then she took some audience questions. (My notes are a little sketchy so I'll do my best to make sense of them for you.:-) Jackson told us that fairy tales are fun to write but writing two books at once is hard. In response to a question about how much of herself she puts into her characters she said that, everything she writes is a product of who she is but how you read it is a product of who you are. (For some reason this struck me as profound.) She used to work for a company that had "Beer Fridays" but said as a writer, everyday is "Beer Friday." (She said not really cause that didn't really work out to well for Hemingway!)

This section of her Q&A had more tips for writers. Jackson said that social media lets you know you have readers but it doesn't affect her writing. She talked about when she was waiting to get published and her stories of rejection. She said (paraphrased), "Until you get published you are afraid that you actually suck. Until someone wants it. It gets easier each book." And her message to young writers, "Keep writing books! It's not a waste of time. Sometimes you have to write a crappy book."

I've heard this before, several of my fav authors got rejected several times before they got published. That is just the nature of the publishing world. If you are a writer, use that as encouragement. So what, you wrote a crappy book, now you can moving on to writing a GREAT book!

My collection of Jackson Pearce (signed!) books.

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