February 28, 2016

Event Report: Montgomery County Book Festival 2016

I enjoyed the Montgomery County Book Festival when I went last year, so I decided to attend again.  I once more skipped the opening keynote and just attended the three author sessions.  This year the festival downsized, and there were rumors that this was the final year.  If so, it will be sad to lose such a fun event.

A School for Unusual Girls Murder By The Book once more sold the attending authors' novels, although they had a thin selection.  Sometimes this was because part of an author's backlist was through another publisher, and sometimes it was because they just didn't have that many copies.  I did manage to buy a copy of A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS by Kathleen Baldwin before they sold out.

Murder By The Book also advertised two upcoming YA events at their store: Soho Teen Night on April 20th at 7:00 PM with Adam Silvera, Joy Preble, and Brianna Baker (AKA Robin Epstein) and Tor Teen Night on April 21st at 6:30 PM with Alan Grantz, P.J. Hoover, and David Lubar.

There was also a vendor table from comic shop Space Cadets Collection, selling various collectibles and comics (new and used).  I picked up some cute toys from the bargain bins for my niece and nephew!  Proto Makerspace did some robotics and 3D printing demonstrations.  It looks like they have some cool classes.

RidersTruthwitch I first attended a session with Susan Dennard (my reviews), Veronica Rossi, and Kathleen Baldwin.  All three introduced themselves and their books before launching straight into a Q&A.  This was a good format because all three offered long, thoughtful answers to the questions they were asked.  (The panel could have used a moderator, however, because one guy kept asking questions instead of letting other people have a turn.)  I was surprised to learn that all three of them don't use outlines (although Dennard and Rossi have in the past).  Baldwin's metaphor for it was that she writes like a bloodhound sniffing out the path.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch I then attended Daniel Kraus' session.  He gave a very thoughtful overview of his books and his process, although he only talked about SCOWLER after some audience prodding.  He said that it was a book he wanted out of his head, and after that he never wanted to think of it again.  His newest book, a two-part novel called THE DEATH AND LIFE OF ZEBULON FINCH, first came about after a conversation about zombies experiencing the ages when he was in college.  He passed around his outline for one section, his original timeline (covering Zebulon's life and physical deterioration as well as what was happening in history), and a little cheat sheet about the slang and popular entertainment about one of the decades the book covers.  It was really fun to get that in-depth look at how much planning goes into a long, complicated novel.

We Were Liars I finished the day by attending E. Lockhart's session (my reviews).  She's gotten very practiced about talking about WE ARE LIARS without giving away the story.  She talked mostly about stories that inspired her and that are somewhat like the story in WE ARE LIARS, both fairy tales and personal anecdotes.  She had a quiet but dramatic way of talking that I really enjoyed.  She didn't answer many questions, but that was mostly because our group ran out of them after just a few.  (Hey, it was the end of the day!)

Hopefully this wasn't the last year, but if it was, the Montgomery County Book Festival went out on a good note.

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