Zombies vs. Vampires with Cynthia Leitich Smith, Daniel Waters, Carrie Jones, and Heather Brewer
First, a technical note: I wanted to use what I'm learning in school, so none of this is flash photography. I'm also in manual settings. I did use autofocus to take faster shots. (Focusing is one of my weak spots due to my eyesight.)
This panel began with a discussion of how to make fantasy characters work in an urban setting and what they wear. To the right, you can see Heather Brewer demonstrating her powers of imagination by choosing to make Vlad dress exactly like her. (Vlad is Vladimir Tod, the most recent release in the series being TENTH GRADE BLEEDS.)
She did dress for the panel, in a "Zombies Need Love Too" tee, since she was undecided about zombies vs. vampires and feeling generous in the morning. As for integrating her characters, she enjoys mentioning standard things from vampire lore that would be tricky and then subverting them. Besides, not being able to cross running water is just silly.
My favorite question of the panel was, "If the zombie apocalypse comes and you and three other authors are the only ones holding out, who would you choose to be holed up with?" Heather went with her panel members, since they were already with her and would thus survive due to her being prepared for this exact possibility. That sounded good to Carrie Jones, who was pretty sure she'd be dead meat when faced with zombies. (I think she could throw her totally cute shoes at them. It worked for Clara against the Rat King.) However, Carrie did when for most terrifying zombified supernatural, as pixie zombies would be unstoppable. (She wrote the pixie-laden NEED, which I reviewed here.)
Vampires couldn't be zombified, of course, since one must die first and vampires remain undead. Heather proposed that vamp blood could cure zombism, although the audience was divided on the issue. Cynthia Leitich Smith did see on satellite radio that salt can be used to restore zombies to their former humanity. Resident zombie expert Daniel Waters wasn't sure about that, but he said it couldn't hurt to add salt to your zombie kit. (Doubt his zombie credentials? Check out KISS OF LIFE, which I reviewed here.)
Speaking of Daniel, he didn't have a true preference for the three authors he'd take with him. He only knew that they needed to be slower and tastier, rather than more skilled. Cynthia, on the other hand, did have a team picked out. Her ringer? Local author April Lurie, who used to be a nurse. Her medical knowledge would be handy, though she would later disavow her use when told of being picked at a later panel.
Then, when questioned about what they could write about if they couldn't use zombies or vampires, the authors got creative. Cynthia noted that her series, containing TANTALIZE and ETERNAL, had a werearmadillo among many other creatures. Carrie noted that she'd started in contemporary YA . . . and then threatened to write about curtains (among other things). Sitting beside her, skeptical Heather was skeptical. Daniel was less so, but this is the man who admitted he would kiss Tinkerbell (but not a male vampire, whether he be Vlad or Edward).
It was a very fun panel, and Ms. Anderson of BookPeople did a great job moderating. (She also did her own write-up of the panel, which contains many things mine doesn't.) There's a reason everyone was laughing!