Monday, March 12, 2012

Manic Monday: Hooray for Books! Reflections on the 2012 Tucson Book Festival

Young Reader and Her Best Friend
at the Tucson Festival of  Books
This past weekend I attended the fourth annual Tucson Book Festival on the campus of the University of Arizona. It was a fun, educational and exhausting weekend dedicated to the love of books. For writers, it is a great opportunity to attend workshops and panels - for free!

I attended a funny and informative workshop on World Building in science fiction and fantasy. The panel included Maxwell Alexander Drake, an award-winning fantasy author, Sam Sykes and Janet Hobbs (among others). These fabulous writers shared how they go about creating their amazing fantasy worlds and gave tips and pointers. For example, if your story is set in a current or past time on Earth, make sure you do your research to ensure that you are accurate about details. Drake commented that that's why he "makes it all up" - that way he doesn't have to worry about accuracy!

I was impressed with young Sam Sykes and decided to purchase one of his books, Tome of the Undergates (The Aeons' Gate, Book 1) and get an autograph. Fortunately for me by the time I got through the purchase books line, there was no signing line in front of Sam. I got to spend a few minutes chatting with him. Sam's twitter profile (@SamSykesSwears) says that he's the "angriest man alive." Yikes! But I found Sam to be funny, personable, and passionate about story. Sam and I discussed whether male fantasy writers and readers tend to prefer a more "world" driven story while female fantasy writers and readers prefer character-driven stories. Sam thought that was true to an extent and commented that he thought female writers were "ahead of the guys" on creating character-driven fantasy fiction and that the guys were playing "catch up." Sam says that he's a character-driven writer and that  the worlds he builds and details he includes have to relate to the characters and make sense from their point of view. I'm looking forward to digging into Tome of the Undergates (The Aeons' Gate, Book 1) and read Sam's character-driven high fantasy. If you enjoy fantasy, check it out and let me know what you think.

And weigh in on this: Do you think female fantasy writers are more character-driven than males? And what about readers, do you like your fantasy to be character-driven? Or are you more into reading about amazing fantasy worlds?

One of the things I love most about the Book Festival is wandering around, coffee in hand, checking out all of the booths. One of my favorites this year was the booth for the publishing company Inner Traditions Bear & Co. They specialize in "books on indigenous cultures, perennial philosophy, visionary art, ancient mysteries, spiritual traditions of the East and West, sexuality, holistic health and healing, self-development, as well as recordings of ethnic music and accompaniments for meditation" (from their website). I love to read this kind of stuff as inspiration for stories, sub-plots and theme. Science, metaphysics, religious and spiritual theory and philosophy. I know, I'm a geek of epic proportions! Here's my haul from Inner Traditions.

I can't wait to dig into that book Grey Aliens and the Harvesting of Souls. Harvesting of souls?! What the heck is that all about? Since I'm engrossed in revising H.A.L.F. (which deals with hybrids that are part human, part grey alien), I'll see if this book has any fun details to inspire my imagination.

Then there's that book Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body. In Emily's House, there is quite a bit of time travel. I didn't want to create a machine for time travel but instead created an energy form of time travel. I thought I'd just made it up. But this Seven Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body book is discussing the same thing. Who knew? Since I'm revising the second book in the Emily series, Emily's Trial, right now too, maybe these mystical books will inspire me further.

Do you have a book festival where you live? If so, do you attend and what's your favorite part?

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