Love Ya May Festival Highlights
Arriving at Love YA and seeing the Letter Library from Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley set up beautifully and a selection of stalls erected at the venue was enough to get me excited for the day to come. A brilliant Welcome to Country and didgeridoo performance by Derek Sandy continued to delight and impress. The first panel of the day began as we welcomed Ellie Marney, author of White Night, to the stage. Hearing the story of writing White Night was something that I was really looking forward to because of the unique twist (no spoilers) that set the book apart from other YA romances. Marney explained how the book was influenced by her own upbringing, and how to incorporate personal traits and experiences seamlessly into characters and plots – advice I’m sure many aspiring authors, including me, were grateful for.
Marney was followed by Steph Bowe, author of Night Swimming, and Cath Crowley. Listening to these two spectacular authors pausing their questions and answers to fan girl over the other’s work was not only amusing to watch, but showed that even authors as distinguished as these two can fluster around those who they look up to. This panel in particular was awe-inspiring to me, because I was able to hear about Bowe’s experience publishing her first novel in 2010 at only 16, and following it up with two more in 2013 and 2017.
Paula Weston’s panel followed a break in which the audience members were able to survey book stalls, signings, and swaps, as well as get food or temporary tattoos. During this panel, I felt very out of the loop, not having read her Rephaim series, but hearing Weston speak about it and the praise it was given by both the audience and Kristina Schulz, made me eager to get my hands on it. Weston talked about the inspiration for her latest novel, The Undercurrent, and the amount of research that goes into book writing that some readers may not know about, and all authors are painfully aware of.
We then moved from the more familiar world of writing to the art of book reviewing. I hadn’t been to a panel for book reviewing before, although I had watched Piera Forde and Jeann Wong on their YouTube channels, so I knew I could have high expectations and not be disappointed. This panel gave everyone in the audience a good laugh; Forde and Wong were relatable to audience members as they shared tales of their lives as book fans. I’m sure others who attended the panel would agree with me that it was very interesting to hear from the perspective of the reader, and of the reviewing community, rather than the perspective of the author, and that including a panel on book reviewing at the event really made it stand out. This panel marked the end of all panels for the day, and the attendees were given the option to return to some of the stalls, and make a mad dash to buy some cheap books from the book swap stall (and, if you were me, choose a book that was the last of the series). In all, Love YA was a very light-hearted, interactive event that any book lover or aspiring author would find both greatly enjoyable, and very informative.
By Love YA Youth Ambassador, Rebecca
The next Love Ya installment is on sale now. View the September 2018 Love Ya program.