The time it was a day trip to Arizona

Posted October 10, 2016 by Stacee in Signings | 7 Comments

When the Fierce Reads tour was announced, it wasn’t coming to California. It was coming to Arizona and I debated going. I love Leigh like crazy, but she’s in LA, so I knew I would see her eventually. My main draw was Emma Mills. The week before the event Keiko said she would go with me…and that solidified going.

We left Cali at 7am and made it to the state line just after 9am.

6 2

We stopped at a Starbucks and the drive thru line was ridiculous. I decided to jump out of the car to see if I would get my drink in store faster than in the car.

I did.


We continued driving. Yuma was about 150 miles from Tempe and it got hot fast. It was 88* before 11am and by the time we got to Tempe, it was 100*.  We made it to Tempe around 1pm after being stuck in some traffic. But then I wouldn’t have been able to see this awesome mud flap.

4 7

There were a few stops we made before heading to Changing Hands, but we got there just after 2. The event wasn’t set up, but one of the employees was just about to start putting out chairs. We ended up talking with her and she let us have reserved seats.

10 9

The event space started filling up quickly even though it wasn’t officially opening until 3:30. By 3:45, it was standing room only and we migrated from the cushy bench we were sitting on to our actual saved seats. The authors came out after 4pm. The moderator introduced them and then asked each of them to talk about their newest book.


For Leigh: describe your process for developing each character.

L: Some of the characters arrived right away and I think is that a first draft is like a horrible first date. It’s only through the revising that you get to know the characters. You’re writing these emotional arcs that maybe aren’t deserved yet.

For Caleb: LSL is one part mystery and one part LGBT. Why did you integrate both?

It was sort of inevitable. I knew I wanted to write a book that addressed LGBT. When I grew up there wasn’t anything and while there’s a lot now, it’s still not enough. I wanted to contribute and I like books where people get murdered. I had two half ideas and I couldn’t figure out how to make it work until I put both together.

For Emma: how does fanfiction influence your writing?

Only that I read a lot of it. I discovered fanfiction and it blew my mind. I’ve asked a few people if they read it and they say “Yeah, when I was 12.” But it’s current and relevant. I wanted to bring it into the book because I loved it so much. It was something that I did partake in.


L to E: What’s your fandom?

E: I have so many. In the book it’s called Wereschool which is loosely based on Teen Wolf.

How did your location influence where your setting is. Did you go there?

L: Yes

E: I’m from Missouri, but I had friends who lived in a small places in Florida and we would visit.

L: I spent a day in Amsterdam. There’s a bit of Victorian London and Vegas and old New York.

And where’s Ravka?

L: It’s heavily influenced by Russia. I wrote Shadow and Bone when I was broke and there wasn’t a research trip.

C: I wrote a gay teenager who came out while living in Michigan and I was once a gay teenager who came out while living in Michigan, so there were a lot of research trips.

L to C: Did you journal when you were younger?

C: I didn’t really, but I did have a blog.

L: I forget how young and spry you are.

14 15

For Emma: what was the inspiration for writing teen friendships that were so authentic?

When I was growing up, my friend group was the most important. I never had the problem of choosing between two handsome lads. I wouldn’t call it a traditional romance, but it does have romantic elements. The friendship is the most important.

For Leigh: is there one of your characters who is your favorite?

L: There’s a little bit of me in all of them. The obvious one is Kaz because he’s a monster and so am I… Or really it’s because of his disability. It was more that I had to go from an invisible disability to a visible one. He’s a stone cold badass and that’s what I want to be. Nina is the best version of me. {she said something about Wylan and the voice in his head, but I didn’t catch it}

For Caleb: How has traveling influenced your writing?

I’ve seen a lot of things and I’ve learned a lot. Like how carbon fiber is built. Or how an ostrich egg is incubated.

L: He got bit by an ostrich.

C: And I met Fabio.

L: The ostrich is way better

C: Or I could say I got bit by Fabio. I had planned on writing a book about an ostrich and then someone gets stabbed. My new tagline is going to be “Reading is FundiMURDER” If anyone wants to use that, they can. I’ll be waiting for the royalties.


What is your process?

C: I know someone who types half of their book on a phone. For me, I do a lot writing on my head when I’m going on a run. I know that makes me sound like a jerk. I’ll come up with an idea. Sometimes it a settling or character. Then I’ll do a character sketch to learn about them. Then I’ll outline, which will be anywhere from 5-20 pages. It’ll have all of the beats. I need to know all of the things that are going to happen so I don’t write myself into a corner.

L: I always write to an outline. It could be a sentence and then twelve lines and then it keeps getting longer and longer. I have to keep going and keep momentum. If I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’ll write “put awesome scene here” and come back.

For the heist, I wrote in Word and Scrivener and had a white board and used Google calendar. I had things happening in real time and for weeks later I would get notifications that Wylan and Jesper were on the roof.

E: I have a technique of writing the interesting parts first. Once I have a large chunk, I’ll thread them all together. It’s very unstructured.

For Emma: who do you relate the most?

I’d love to say Frank, but it’s probably Sloane. Some of the thoughts and questions about life she has are the same as mine. The closeness with her father is not exactly the same, but similar.

For Leigh: how did you organize your ideas for the book?

I write to the reveal. Ally Carter said that we’re writing two cons: one for the characters and one for the audience. A main thing I kept getting back from my editor is that I needed to put more on the stage. You have to let people in early. I have to go back and leave breadcrumbs.


For Leigh: Which character interaction is your favorite?

It’s all about the found family. SoC and CK are very much a found family and it’s impossible to pick something out. The heist is the machine, the rest of it is what you’re watching.

How did you choose the perspective to write in?

E: Caleb and I write in first person. I like to stick to a closed story. When I’m reading, I like a lot of POVs. Like in Crooked Kingdom.

L: I heard that book was good.

C: I think for LSL, it had to be from his POV. I needed to leave Flynn with this feeling of did he really know January.

L: I knew that when I wanted to write a heist, it was going to be third person and with multiple POVs. I actually had someone ask me if I could have built suspense a different way because there were too many cliffhangers.

What was last book you read and rated 5 stars?

L: Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis. I thought it was going to be a female Dexter type book, but it wasn’t at all. It was really powerful. It’s dark and takes apart rape culture.

E: Last Seen Leaving was my last 5 star read.

L: I heard that author was a real jerk.

C: I heard he was really attractive.

E: I ended up taking it to the gym and working out way longer than I wanted to because I couldn’t stop reading.

C: This is going to sound shady, but Crooked Kingdom.

L: I heard that author is definitely a jerk.


Have you ever turned a family member or friend into a character?

C: I’m horrible at arguments and when I started writing I realized that I could have the last word. But it never felt deep to me and I sort of stopped. I don’t write about real people on my life. I write about emotions I’ve had.

E: I agree. I’ve never written about anyone where they came back to me and asked about it. I just did a phone interview and they asked about the art aspect and I said it was because my mom did art. They asked if the mom in the book was based on her. And I was like “No. No. No.”

L: Genya and David were based on two of my friends I think should date. They both read the book and neither of them picked up on it.

There were a couple other questions, but I focused on getting the last photos and backing stuff up. After the event was done, they had us line up by row and brought a couple people over at a time. I was able to meet one of the publicists, Heather, and chat with her for a minute before Brittany saw me and called me over.

I got to Caleb first and he was impressed by the stack of books I had. I gave him my arc of LSL and Emma the books I had for her.

c1 c2

When Emma opened my book and saw my post-it, she asked about my Twitter handle. I said it was me and her and Caleb both thanked us for driving over.

e3 e1 e2

Keiko and I chatted for a few minutes with them before getting in line for Leigh. When we got up to her, I gave her my book and then asked if she would let me cheat on the cards so I could get a Nina. She said yes, but just because it was me. And that I couldn’t make it obvious. I fake coughed and Emma did too and I starting flipping over all of the cards until I saw Nina.  Then Keiko told me to pick for her and I ended up dropping a few cards and Leigh started laughing and said, “You’re really bad at this.”  It’s true.

lb1 lb2

After Leigh signed both of our books, she asked about our drive. I told her Keiko drove like a maniac and we got to Arizona in 4 hours, but I kept telling people that it was 6 since we were already getting looks for saying we were from San Diego. Leigh said she would keep Keiko in mind for a getaway driver. She then asked if we were spending the night in Arizona and when I told her that we were leaving after the event, she got all serious and told us to drive carefully. Then smiled and said it was so good to see us.

From there, we left! It was exciting to be back on the road just after 5pm. Huge thanks to the staff at Changing Hands for being awesome.  As always, Leigh is delightful to see and Emma and Caleb were so much fun. I highly recommend all of their books and seeing them in person if you get a chance.

Tags: , , , , ,

7 responses to “The time it was a day trip to Arizona

    • Stacee

      Ha! I feel like that’s a completely understandable way to feel. I’m quite lucky to live where I do and see everyone I do.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

  1. I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but thanks again! I know how much time these posts must take up and I enjoy them so much. I am glad you got a shot of Leigh’s stockings. I would kill for those. I wonder where she got them? Ha ha. :)

    La La in the Library recently posted: THE SUNDAY POST #81
    • Stacee

      Honestly, if it’s a regular recap, it doesn’t take too much time. I type it up while it’s happening then try to catch all of my typos and fix punctuation and add photos. If I’m moderating and need to transcribe, those take forever. For example, the Night Vale event was 75 minutes of audio and it took me over 3 hours. For some reason, I’m unable to listen to it as if I were there. I constantly pause.

      Probably more info than you wanted, but whatever. :D

  2. Eee, you are just so, so amazing Stacee. <3 I LOVE that you always drive so far to meet your favorite authors :) I wish I could do it too; I totally would if I could. <3 Hugs. And yay for having an awesome time :D Eee. Loved reading your recap. <3 I actually got my personalized Crooked Kingdom by Leigh from this event too, only via shipping, haha :) Thank you for sharing. <3

    Carina Olsen recently posted: Review: 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent
    • Stacee

      Thankfully, I have excellent friends who are always willing to go with me! It’s an added bonus that everyone usually makes it to the west coast eventually, so it’s just a matter of us getting to them.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!!

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.