The Smart Chicks Kick It Tour In Naperville

Author Carrie Ryan shares insider details from the Napperville, IL stop on the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour. Check out all the action as Ryan reports on the latest news from her fellow authors, some of their best trivia answers and other highlights of the event.

When I got an email from Melissa Marr about the Smart Chicks Kick it Tour, I was a little star struck at the list of authors included. These are authors whose books are on my best bookcase, who I’ve looked up and I had a pretty fangirl moment of excitement that I’d now have the chance to meet and hang out with them. And let me tell you -- these are some Smart Chicks who are pretty awesome! 

Authors Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong posing with a fan

Thanks to all the amazing readers and fans who have been coming out and cheering and asking questions and just generally being fun to hang out with. And for those of you who weren’t able to make it, here’s a taste of last week’s Naperville (just outside of Chicago) event hosted by Anderson’s Bookshop.

A definite high point was hearing all the other Chicks share exciting news: Jackson Pearce has just sold her first contemporary YA novel, Purity, to Little Brown; Jennifer Lynn Barnes happily announced that she’s just turned in her revisions on Trial By Fire, the much anticipated sequel to Raised By Wolves. Melissa Marr shared very awesome movie news that she’s super excited about (and will have more details to share soon); Kelley Armstrong was greeted with a loud round of applause at the announcement of more books in her Darkest Powers series, Alyson Noel’s latest release Radiance is an instant bestseller, and I also shared some movie news I hope to make more official on my website soon.

Naperville definitely came prepared with some great questions for the group: how we found our agents (some of us were recommended by friends or writing instructors, some old school cold queried, some found agents after subbing straight to editors and getting positive responses, and several of us talked about how important research and perseverance were to the process). 

We were also asked about why we chose to write YA (because teens are so passionate, because you get to write about so many first experiences, because the story came to us with a teen narrator, because we wrote the story the way it felt right and an agent told us it was YA) and also what advice we had for other writers (Write! Write! Write! Also, be gentle with yourself because it can be a tough and very long process, oh and don’t forget to read a lot as well). 

When asked what the hardest part of the job was, Alyson pointed out the difficulty in bridging the gap between the story in your head and how it ends up on the page while I answered that the hardest part is whatever I’m doing Right Now (right now I’m revising so that’s the hardest and next week when I’m drafting that will be the hardest for sure). I have to say, I loved Jackson’s cake analogy that the hardest part is handing your editor a most beautiful cake (draft) and having the editor say “So wonderful! Just add an egg!” which is pretty much a perfect encapsulation of the revision process.

In the lightening round, hosted by the effervescent Jackson, we discovered we’re split between outliners and pantsers (those of us who write by the seat of our pants), split between allegiance to a certain vampire or werewolf (lots of carrot answers on that one), and almost all answered the “what do you do in your free time” question with “what free time?”

There was much swag to be given away (advanced copy of Melissa’s next book Darkest Mercy, a basket with every Smart Chicks book, the chance to have a character named after you in the Smart Chicks anthology of short stories, shirts, wristbands, zombies!) followed by hours of signing and chatting one on one with readers. 

The entire evening was a total blast and once again reminded me of just how much fun it is to hang out with such amazing Smart Chicks!!

- Carrie Ryan 

The Smart Chicks with a fan at the Naperville event


Want to see more photos from the tour just check out the Smart Chicks Kick It Tour website. And join us later this week for the final post from the Smart Chicks! 

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