So, I decided to post about a new author I just discovered--she's quite a talent and popular in the YA scene and how it made me feel to discover her when everyone else seemed to already know her. And what does that mean about me as a writer and reader?
First, I'll tell you a little about the author. Her name is Heather Brewer, and I saw her speak at a great reading festival St. Louis holds each year, THE BIG READ. Brewer is from the St. Louis area, and she drew my attention at this event because she was 1. a YA author (that's my aspiration) 2. Dressed so cool with a pink streak in her hair 3. Writes about vampires. I drug my husband over to her tent, and we sat down. Then she started talking about her series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, and these teenage fans in the audience were noticeably excited. She was a great speaker--enthusiastic and real and genuine. You could tell how much she cared about her characters, and how much those teenagers did, too. She went on to talk about the five books she had already completed in the first series (from Eighth Grade Bites to Twelfth Grade Kills) and how she is currently writing a spin-off series. I kept thinking: I am an aspiring YA novelist. I have a children's/teen's book blog, and I have never heard of this author and Vlad Tod. Where have I been? How am I so out of touch? I immediately bought book one of the series, she signed it for me, and I gushed on and on about how much I enjoyed her talk and couldn't wait to read the series.
The first book is great--it will appeal to boys and girls (tween to teen) as well as their parents. I am almost finished with it and have already checked out Ninth Grade Slays from the library. I still am having trouble getting over the fact that this author wrote five books--which they sell in major bookstores and YA bloggers write about, and I had no idea. Where's my market research? Where's my reader instinct?
So, I posed this question to our Facebook Fans: how do you feel when you discover a new author? I mean, I feel excited to have discovered Heather Brewer, but I also feel so out of touch. If she just had one book, like debut novelist Jay Asher, whom I had already read, I wouldn't feel so well. . .slow. Here's what some of our Facebook fans had to say about new authors they've found:
- Holli Moncrieff: "I was so happy to discover Elizabeth Berg. A co-worker lent me her book "Talk Before Sleep", about Berg's experiences helping her friend die with dignity, and it was such a beautiful, heart-wrenching book. I've worked my way through all of ...her novels, and it always seems like a new one has just been released. . .Both my mother and boyfriend are now fans of hers because I passed it on. :)"
- Sandy Campbell: "I feel as though I've unearthed treasure! I did that with Amy Blackmarr about a decade ago and read everything I can get my hands on."
- Beth Allard: "David Brine....wondered where he had been all my life...love his writing!"
Most of our fans said it was very exciting to discover new authors, and they went out and bought everything by that author or anxiously awaited for the next release. Believe me, I feel that way, too--I guess I'm just wondering if when anyone finds a new author that's been around awhile, if they're like, Geez! Finally, I found her or him. . .
Margo L. Dill
To read more about children's books that Margo likes, check out her blog at http://margodill.com/blog/. She often provides activities and discussion points, too.