Yesterday I had the pleasure of joining other media professionals, booksellers, bloggers, librarians and publishing professionals from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to celebrate the release of author Jasper Fforde's first YA release, The Last Dragonslayer. Set in the magical land of Kazam, the story follows 15-year-old Jennifer Strange, who runs an employment agency for magicians. But magic is becoming scarce, which means bad business for Jennifer. And when she discovers the world's last dragon is destined to die, Jennifer must do whatever she can to save it — or it means big changes for Kazam.
Attendees had the pleasure of enjoying a lovely, intimate lunch in Manhattan with the charming author, who shared his thoughts about YA, his next release in the Chronicles of Kazam series, some film adaptation news, as well as what he thinks about Fifty Shades of Grey.
Ready to dig in to The Last Dragonslayer
Although it's considered a young adult book, The Last Dragonslayer is what Fforde called "Old Young Adult," or books for teens that can also be enjoyed by adults (or "Old Young Adults"). The book certainly has a broad appeal, and although it features a teen heroine, it's a complex story that will appeal to fans of the author's adult work. If you've already devoured The Last Dragonslayer and are anxious to get the next installment in the series, Fforde told us that we can expect the second Kazam book next fall, although he can't reveal any details about it just yet!
Fforde mixing and mingling with readers
When asked if any studios were interested in purchasing the rights to any of his work, Fforde said that there have been "a few nibbles," but nothing concrete yet. He's also working on writing a script for The Last Dragonslayer at the moment, with hopes that it will become one of the many YA novels currently being snatched up for adaptations. (You can read more about YA film and TV adaptations in the works here.) But the real talk of the afternoon was, of course, centered on the hot topic of Fifty Shades. When asked if he had read the book, Fforde replied with a firm "No" but said that the novel's popularity helped boost sales of his 2011 fantasy book Shades of Grey, which he believes some buyers had mistaken for the E.L. James book. Overall, the event was a delight and readers were thrilled to spend time with a bestselling author.
Obligatory photo with the author
GIVEAWAY ALERT: RT is offering one lucky reader a signed hardcover copy of The Last Dragonslayer from this event! To enter, comment on this post and tell us your favorite author who writes across the genres. You can also e-mail your response here with the subject "Jasper Fforde Giveaway," along with your mailing address. U.S. addresses only, please. A winner will be announced November 2.