The time it was about pink

Posted October 25, 2016 by Stacee in Signings | 11 Comments

As soon as I saw that Gretchen McNeil and Kasie West we’re going to be touring together, it was a definite thing.

Michelle, Keiko, and I grabbed some Starbucks and got on the freeway around 10am. The plan was to get to Pasadena early and grab lunch, but traffic didn’t actually let that happen. But, we did see this:


…so there’s that.

We got to Vroman’s around 1:15. We grabbed front row seats, bought books, and settled in to read.

img_6699 img_6702

The authors came in at about 2:45 and Gretchen and Kasie both hugged me as they were walking up. All of the ladies did some mingling with the crowd before the event started.

Each of the authors introduced themselves and talked about their book before opening it up to audience questions. {Gretchen talked about how this was the first cover she had with pink on it and when Kasie talked about her books, she said that all of them were pink.  The idea of pink was referenced several times, but I didn’t get all of them.}


To Gretchen: How did you come up with the math?

G: It’s all an illusion. I went on a website and found some equations that had a lot of letters. I found out that Microsoft Word has an equation writing thing, so I had fun making it up. They’re based on real equations, but they’re just gibberish.

To J.R.: Is The Row based on true events?

J: Not really. I was inspired by a Sesame Street and John Oliver mash up. He was talking about the percentage of men who were in the prison system and how Sesame Street did an episode about what it was like to have a parent in prison.

What do you wish you knew about publishing when you were writing your first book?

K: Are you Robin Benway?

R: Yes.

K: I love your books.

J: Now you have to answer first.

K: You can’t volunteer someone to answer first.

G: Well, you did have the outburst.

K: It takes a long time. I sold my first book and it took 2 years to come out. There are some things that you get warned about and you don’t believe it will happen to you.

J: I always felt like I was in a rush and one of the best things to know is that it’s a hurry up and wait sort of game. I could have relaxed a bit more. Once you’re on deadline, there isn’t a lot of time.

B: I learned that I will never be the exception to the rule. I always heard that it would take 10 years or a million words to get published and I thought it wouldn’t be me. It was 9 years before I was published. Everything takes so long. If your editor says they’ll get back to you in a week, it’s really a month.

img_6734 img_6739

G: I wish someone had told me — well, I guess my agent did tell me — it’s a marathon, not a race. You have to continue. You can’t make a career out of one book. You can’t enjoy your debut or end of a series, because you have to have another book ready.

K: We sound so jaded.

G: I love debut authors because they’re so happy. It’s like “Yeah, go start that street team. Go make your own book trailer.” You won’t do that again. And I can say that because we’ve all done it.  We’ve all been that happy debut author.  For me, I needed to look at a 10 year plan.

B: Never say “I’ll be happy when…”  I’ll be happy when I get an agent…I’ll be happy if I get my book sold.  If you always say “you’ll be happy when”, you’ll never be happy. Find the happiness in the journey.

What keeps you writing?

G: I used to be an opera singer, but not a very good one. Somehow I found my way into this odd career. I was always a storyteller and I finally found the right combination.

B: I was with Egmont and I was 2/3 of the way in with this book when they closed. It was a really dark time. Thankfully another publisher bought my back list and bought the third book. I didn’t know how it was going to work. My agent wanted something new, but they bought book 3. Then I gave myself a year off and I needed to figure out if I wanted to continue to do this. My kids asked if I would write something for them. My kids helped and my husband co-authored. It became a joyful thing.

J: I spend a lot of time not asking myself that question. It’s sort of a compulsion. My brain wouldn’t tolerate stopping. Even if I stopped publishing, I would keep writing. And if I stopped, I couldn’t do things like this.

G: Well you could, but it would be weird.

J: I would be the one in the black van following you to events.

G: We would just tell you to get in and go to Yuma with us.

K: I’ve tried to take a break and it didn’t work. I love it. Now it’s my career. It’s my job.


What are you working on next?

K: In January I have something called By Your Side and it’s about two teens who get locked in a library for the weekend.

G: That could go another way.

K: I could see that it would go a different way if you did it. Spoiler alert, it doesn’t.  It’s all pink over here.

J: I’m getting ready to take a story about teens in the Paris catacombs and their tour guide gets crushed. They don’t know how to get out.

K: I love this book.

J: It has a really high body count.

K: And guess one of the character names.

J: There is a character named Gretchen and it is named after Gretchen.

B: I’ve got the middle grade I wrote for my boys. It’s about a boy who sees his mom disappear in front of him and finds out that he’s a time traveler. The only way to find her is with help from his dad, who died 12 years ago.

G: I’m writing the unsellable books. It’s a Prom Night time loop. It’s like Bill and Ted in kitten heels. {There was a lot more to this and it sounds hilarious.}

After that, it was time to line up for the signing. I got to Kasie first and she laughed at the stack of books I had for her and commented that it was always a stack because we don’t get to see each other often. I then started gushing about By Your Side and how much I loved it.  We chatted for a second about it and I told her it was good to see her.

img_6749 img_6755

I slid over to J.R. and she asked if we had met before.  I told her that I thought she was at Mysterious Galaxy before and probably in Vegas too.  She laughed and asked if I was the one Kasie screamed at from across the room and when I said yes, she remembered meeting me.

img_6750 img_6757

And then I got to Gretchen and started gushing about how much I loved INYMPDG.  We chatted for a bit about the book and then I told her that I would probably read her grocery list.  She said that she would start emailing me lists that had things like “applewood smoked bacon” to see what my response would be. I told her I could be that person if she needed it.

img_6751 img_6758

As I was with Gretchen, Jennifer Bosworth was there and she said hi and we hugged.  From there, it was just a sneak out sort of thing.  The event area was crazy packed and the bookstore sold out of Gretchen’s books.  As always, Gretchen and Kasie are some of my favorite ladies, and the camaraderie of the four of them together was fun.

Tags: , , , , , ,

11 responses to “The time it was about pink

  1. Oh how we love these posts. Whenever we see one of your event posts we read it immediately although it’s entirely possible that this is our first time commenting on one of them….

    We’re so envious of all the books you get signed and the cool questions and answers that you get to ask/listen to/record. It’s just so amazing!

  2. Ahh this was SO amazing to read!! I love it and they all sound so nice and fun. And I emphatically agree about how much waiting is involved when you’re trying to get published. I’m so glad they all stuck through because they’re AMAZING WRITERS!! I’m particularly looking forward to JR Johansson’s new book!

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.