Friday saw the return of the UK's Young Adult Literature Convention and I couldn't have been more excited. I was so lucky to attend the first ever YALC last year as part of London Film and Comic Con and it was a hit. I was so excited to be going again... and it proved to be even bigger and better than last years.
I was up, out and on the train from Darlington to London at 9am Friday morning and arrived at London Kings Cross at around 11:45pm. After 2 tube rides and an Overground I finally reached London Olympia in Kensington and as per usual there were more people queuing for comic con than I have possibly ever seen in one place in my life. But this year we had our very own YALC queue. WOOP!
So after a short wait in the Gold Pass/YALC Queue I was given my uber-awesome YALC Wristband and was able to skip the rest of the queue and go straight to the doors and go straight in. This year YALC was held on a different floor to the main area of comic con which was awesome. We had our very own 'Book Zone' floor with half of it dedicated to YALC. I couldn't believe how much more space we had than last year. It was amazing. Anyway... soon enough I was up on that second floor and given my YALC Goodie bag which included a special YALC Tote Bag, a programme, a YALC badge, a YALC pen along with some other bits of SWAG.
Check out what was on on Friday.
There was so much on I wanted to go to but they didn't start until later so first of all I went to chill out in the Reading Zone where I met some fellow bloggers. Time for a #BloggerSelfie
Panel Event: Apocalypse Now featuring Virginia Bergin, Marie Rutkoski, Francesca Haig, Moira Young and Terri Terry chaired by Gemma Malley
So after some blogger selfies and some browsing round the Publisher Stalls it was time for the second Panel of the day (I didn't go to the first one as it was about Horror and I don't read Horror) so off I went for the Apocalypse Now panel where awesome Dystopia authors Virginia Bergin, Marie Rutkoski, Francesca Haig, Moira Young, Terri Terry and Gemma Malley talked about their books and other things about the Genre.
This panel was amazing in which Gemma Malley as chair asked the panel lots of questions and we found out lots of interesting info about all of the panelists.
Moira Young accidentally stumbled into the genre. She originally wrote Western novels and then stumbled into dystopia from there, inspired by the dust bowl and the Great Depression.
Marie Rutkoski is a Shakespearean academic and she doesn't think her Winner's Curse Series is dystopian at all. She sees it more as a fantasy novel but without the magic. She was inspired by the phrase 'winner's curse' and she tried to think of a story around that deep emotional cost of an auction.
Virginia Bergin's book was influenced by an article that she read in New Scientist about bacteria in space and the possibility of it coming to earth. It started as a film script that she shelved and then after reading The Hunger Games she started working on The Rain, originally called H20, about a British teenager in the middle of an apocalypse situation.
Terri Terry said that what used to be classed as a traditional dystopian is not what most dystopia authors are writing now. The genre has become anything that is set in the future.
While talking about genres and how a lot of books can cross over Marie Rutkoski had the wonderful wisdom to explain it as Hogwarts houses. You can belong in one but still fit into another. Such as Harry Potter could have been Slytherin and Hermione could have been in Gyffindor or Ravenclaw.
Then we finished the panel with the authors recommended their favourite dystopia novels.
Marie Rutkoski: Feed by MT Anderson
Moira Young: The Drowned World by JG Ballard
Francesca Haig: The Road
Terri Terry: The Adoration of Jenna Fox
Virginia Bergin: 1984
After the amazing Apocalypse Now chat it was time for the authors to get in their seats for their signings. And the queue's were already pretty big. A bit of a tip for people going to YALC next year if you want to get your books signed by the authors leave the panel 15 minutes early to join the queue.
Anyway there was really only 2 authors I really wanted to go and see at this point and it was Virginia Bergin and Lucy Inglis. I have already read their books and loved them. Anyway I went to join Virginia's queue first and when I got to the front we had a great chat about how crazy YALC was and how all the people made us both feel a little bit anxious. We had an awesome chat about how we both love her main character Ruby and how she isn't planning to write a third book for the series but it's something that she would love to go back to if she felt that the characters needed it but for now at least she feels like she should leave this series alone. She also gave me a huge hug too. She is utterly awesome!
Then before heading over to Lucy Inglis' signing I went and stopped by the Chicken House Publisher stand and saw they were selling her new YA book Crow Mountain for £5 so I bought it and then headed over to her signing. Her queue wasn't too long which was AWESOME!!! And we had a super awesome chat about the possible sequel to City of Halves. I adored City of Halves, it's such an amazing YA Urban Fantasy and I loved it. It's publishing in the US this year and then she told me that hopefully if it does well over there then the sequel can be published within the same time frame in both countries. So US friends if you're reading this, go buy City of Halves when it releases. It's super awesome!
After the two signings were over it was time to head over to the Creating Characters workshop lead by the wonderful LA Weatherly. I'm so glad that I had signed up for this one as soon as I arrived as it was completely full and so many people wanted to attend that they had to ask Lee if she minded more people there and tried to rustle up some more chairs. Well, LA Weatherly's workshop was awesome. She talked about the character arcs and why characters are so important "they give your story heart" and then we, as a group, came up with a character called Cat who was from a family of were-cats... and let's just say it was awesome. And then came the moment we were all waiting for at the end of the workshop... the announcement of LA Weatherly's brand new trilogy.
LA Weatherly Announces the Broken Trilogy
Set in a daring and distorted echo of 1940s America, The Broken Trilogy is an exhilirating epic series of deception, heartbreak and rebellion.
Lee announced that the first book Broken Sky will be released in March 2016 by Usbourne Publishing and the first 2 books are already written and that by the time we get the first one in our hands the third one should also be finished which means quick publication and not too long between books.
At this point in the workshop I was already tweeting Lee's publicist who was sat right behind me telling her of my excitement about this series. After the workshop I was speaking with Amy and she went and introduced me personally to Lee which was OMG amazing!!! And I got to take a few pictures of and with Lee herself.
And then I went to Lee's signing to get her first series, one of my all-time favourites, The Angel Trilogy signed.
Harry Potter Party:
After Lee's signing it was time for the finale of the day. The Harry Potter Party. We were all in our houses Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Of course we had the most amazing house prefect Nina for Ravenclaw though I was a little jealous that the Gryffindor's got Non Pratt, my fave author!!! But never mind.
Anyway after our introduction we all went in search of Horcruxes... I was pretty tired at this point and was just sort of loitering when Non Pratt... freaking Non Pratt... probably my top favourite author (jointed with JLA and Sarah J Maas of course) walked past me... recognised me... and came back to talk to me. All the fangirling happened right about here!
Here's what happened:
Non Pratt walked past me then did a double take said "Are you Kayleigh" and then gave me a hug and we stood talking for a few minutes. She asked me if I was there all weekend and that we would catch up throughout the weekend as she had to go be Harry Potter then she gave me another hug and said 'I'm so glad that you're here" like OMG OMG OMG! MY FAVE AUTHOR KNOWS WHO I AM AND HUGGED ME AND SAID SHE WAS GLAD I WAS THERE! I COULD DIE RIGHT NOW AND DIE HAPPY!!!!!!!!
I left soon after that as I was exhausted, still had my case from the traveling and wanted to find my room with my roommate but before I left I got a pic of the awesome Non Pratt dressed as Harry Potter and Lucy Saxon dressed as Draco Malfoy... and they were dueling.
It was the perfect ending of day 1.
My Highlight of Friday: Chatting and hugging Non Pratt *fangirling*
My One Regret: I didn't get a picture of me and Non dressed as Harry Potter *sadface*
Check tomorrow for my wrap-up of #YALC Saturday