Kristen Simmons, Natalie D. Richards, and Mindee Arnett at Books & Co

Last night I got to see three authors at Books & Co in Dayton: Kristen Simmons, Natalie D. Richards, and Mindee Arnett. Simmons and Richards were there to talk about their new books, Metaltown and One Was Lost respectively, and Arnett led the panel. She asked them lots of questions, from what two sticks inspired their stories (like the two sticks necessary to build a fire) to what labels they think their characters would have.

I was interested in reading Metaltown ever since I saw its cover a few weeks ago, but after hearing Simmons describe how Les Miserables was one of her inspirations, I am so excited to read it. Richards’s book sounded interesting and creepy as well, about a group of campers who wake up with words on their arms.

Bookmarks, Buttons, and a Tattoo!

I asked them if they had any advice for authors about to publish their first book, and they gave me lots of great guidance:

  • It’s easy to get discouraged, but don’t give up—keep writing.
  • The reality of publishing is never as good as the dream, so remember why you are doing this in the first place. Only your story is going to come close to the dream.
  • Publishing is brutal and hard, like becoming a parent. But you have to let it roll off you and get back up again.

I love going to these author events, and Books & Co has so many of them. There’s even three groups of YA authors this week alone, with Lorie Langdon and Carey Corp last Saturday and Laurie Halse Anderson this Friday. My favorite part of last night was listening to the panel and all of their fellow local authors in the audience talk before the event started, and getting to go up and have a conversation with the panel afterwards. Dayton has such a friendly and supportive local author community, and I know I am in the right city to kick off my writing career.

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