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Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Teens on Moon Lane

Fabulous YA event last night, thanks to Dulwich Library, fab independent bookshop Tales on Moon Lane, and the wonderful Chicklish - celebrating its 4th birthday!

Most probably the UK's very first YA book blog, founders Luisa Playa and Keris Stainton (both with fab books on display) told of how they came to start the blog together after becoming refugees from online writing groups that didn't quite know how to handle YA Chicklit, and invited along the fab Sarra Manning and Simmone Howell to celebrate with us.

We were treated to readings by the authors, followed by a lively Q&A - everyone confessed they wrote YA due to an emotional age of 16 (phew, it's not just me!) discussed the rollercoaster that is teenage life, and agreed that while slang changes with the times (and locations) teenage problems are pretty much the same as they always were - lusting after the unattainable hotty, feeling uncool, peer pressure and friendship problems - but that while relationships in adult books seemed a bit 'serious', teen relationships are fun, passionate, heart-breaking, all-consuming, yet transient (hence the Chicklish amended quote "Reader, I snogged him!") and Luisa confessed she never knew which boy her heroines were going to end up with!

This led onto a discussion on planning, leading to more confessions - "I had no idea who stole Della's diary!" (Keris), "The characters lead the plot" (Simmone) - contrasting with Sarra's journalistic "I do a twenty page chapter summary before I write anything!" although she admitted she was less strict when it came to a writing routine, confessing that she doesn't sit down to write until 3pm, then doesn't write anything for an hour and a half - and then it's time for dinner! (another Phew! - not just me!) Although, of course she added this changes when deadlines are looming! The others were similarly reassuringly sheepish about their writing schedules - complaining about writers who claim to type 9 till 5 and then do 200 star-jumps before bed! - impossible!

Inspiration varied from eavesdropping on buses to song lyrics, to reinventing their own teen years (Keris admitted her own teens were spent in her bedroom reading, not going out to parties like she should have - so writing is a way of reliving her miss-spent teens!), and titles were an issue all their own, with the fab title "Della Says OMG" not evolving till the book was about to go to print!

Thanks all for a fab, fun, interesting, and entertaining evening, which left us all inspired :)

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