Event Recap: YA Panel at Wellesley Books

YA Panel at Wellesley Books, from left to right: Nicola Yoon, Marie Rutkoski, Emery Lord, IW Gregorio, and Lori Goldstein

Howdy folks! Kim back on BM with an event recap from a an excellent YA panel at Wellesley Books, featuring Lori Goldstein, I.W. Gregorio, Emery Lord, Marie Rutkoski, and Nicola Yoon. This was such a fun event, with an interesting, diverse group of YA authors. Here are some of the highlights from that great evening:

Lori Goldstein was the moderator and she asked some great questions. Starting easy, Lori asked the panel how their book came about. Interestingly for her Winner’s Trilogy, Marie Rutkoski started with the term “winner’s curse”, which comes from economic theory when you win an item but paid more than what everyone else thinks the item’s worth. So you win it, but you really lost. Marie “wanted to write a book where someone pays not a high financial cost, but a high emotional one.”

These ladies were having fun! (From right to left: Nicola Yoon, Marie Rutkoski, and Emery Lord.)

I.W. Gregorio was asked about what was the hardest aspect for her to put on the page with None of the Above. Ilene said that it was that writing these experiences outside of your own experiences. And about knowing how far to push it, bc you “want to show the drama without being melodramatic” and that it was “very important there be hope”. 

Ilene also did a lot of research and interviewed a lot of intersex women. They beta read and made changes up to second pass pages. For intersex people, surgery is very controversial. To address that Ilene said, “My character made a very clear choice as to why she had surgery, but I also made sure to have a character who didn’t.”  

Lori asked Emery Lord about how she balanced the many aspects of her books, the mental health issues, the romance, etc. Emery said, “With When We Collided, I wanted to portray the seriousness at hand but at the same time in your life there might be something not serious happening too. …Something dark can be happening but overall [a person can] be having a really good life. It’s not always the worst day ever or the best day ever.”

When the authors were asked about their writing quirks, Lori responded that she can only listen to instrumentals, nothing with lyric, and she will listen to that music over and over. For Becoming Jinn, Lori played the Downton Abbey soundtrack on repeat. For Lori it was a cue, “now is work time”. 

Omg. I met Emery Lord! She was the sweetest and signed that crazy stack of books!

Emery’s quirk was also musically inclined. Rather than outline, Emery has a playlist where there’s a song that will correspond with a chapter. And while writing that chapter, Emery will listen to that one song on repeat, over and over again. Which helps because when she needs to go back to a certain chapter she can play it’s corresponding song and be put back in the write headspace for it.

Nicola Yoon’s writing quirk is that she writes by hand between the hours of 4-6 AM. At first it was because she was writing around a full time job, but now it’s just habit to write at that time. And Nicola has to start writing by hand. Then every 3-4 days she’ll go through and type it up, and that’s her first revision process.

Meet the authors:

Lori Goldstein was born into an Italian-Irish family and raised in a small town on the New Jersey shore. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Lehigh University and worked as a writer, editor, and graphic designer before becoming a full-time author. She currently lives and writes outside of Boston. Lori is the author of the young adult contemporary fantasy series BECOMING JINN (Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan).

I.W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. A graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, she studied creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University. While a surgical resident, she published in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. NONE OF THE ABOVE (Balzer & Bray / HarperCollins, Fall of 2015) is her first novel.

Emery Lord is a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes fluttery and so painfully awkward you could implode. She lives in Cincinnati in a 100 year-old pink row house with a scientist, a one-eyed beagle, and a dog named Winston Churchill. OPEN ROAD SUMMERTHE START OF ME & YOU, & WHEN WE COLLIDED are out now with Bloomsbury.

Marie Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She holds a BA from the University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. Marie is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and fiction writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and two sons. The WINNER’S TRILOGY is out now with Farrar Straus Giroux.

Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING is her first novel.

Author: Kim

Everything can be made better with a good book or some relaxing knits. 😀 Find me on IG @kimberlyh12 or on Twitter @enervated.

6 Replies to “Event Recap: YA Panel at Wellesley Books”

  1. I absolutely loved this recap, it sounds like the event was a lot of fun but I really admire I.W. Gregario for writing such an enlightening book outside of her own experience. None of the Above was really fantastic and confronting and it’s great to hear that she did extensive research to put it together!

    1. Thanks, it was a lot of fun! I haven’t read None of the Above yet, but after hearing her talk about the process and the research that went into making sure the experience was authentic I’m very excited to give it a try. 🙂

  2. Love hearing about their writing process. It sounds like it was a successful day.

    1. For sure, and it’s always so interesting to find out what writing quirks an author has. It might not work for other people but it’s what works for them. 🙂

  3. Sounds so fun! And such a great group to have, too.

    I wish I could go to things like this, but at least I get to read about them online 😀

    1. It was a lot of fun, and they were just great to listen to! And I agree. I’m glad people post recaps for the events I can’t get to. 🙂

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