This past weekend, I had the honor of meeting four lovely ladies who have written some of the best Young Adult books of 2011 and 2012:

The Dark Days Tour was scheduled to stop at my local indie bookstore, Blue Willow Bookshop, on Saturday February 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm. I arrived at 3:00 to grab a seat close to the front and to get my signing line ticket. Thankfully, I arrived right before the rush. I snagged a seat in the second row, dead-middle, and fidgeted with excitement as I watched the crow grow. I was surprised by how many people showed up, but only because Blue Willow is a small shop; not exactly a Barnes & Noble behemoth.

The excitement in the air was palpable. There were many women and young girls there, as was expected, and a few guys, too; presumably there for “moral support”. My own “moral support” was outside talking on his cell phone 😉

The Q&A sessions started promptly at 4:00, when the authors arrived to take their seats in front of us. Jodi was visibly nervous, but smiling all the same, and Courtney was adorably awkward. Cynthia and Brodi seemed to handle the crowd like pros, but maybe they were really good at hiding their nervousness. The second thing I noticed was – don’t laugh – Brodi’s hair. It is so pretty!  Not even the humid weather from the recent rain could affect it!

Here are some of the questions that were asked of the ladies, and their answers:

Jodi – What was your inspiration for the walls of the city in Incarnate?

I just thought it would be really creepy. I was going for creepy.

Brodi & Cynthia– What was your inspiration for your book(s)?

Brodi: The story came first and was inspired by those “real life” high school rumors that typically go around when someone disappears for a few months, then shows up out of the blue.

Cynthia: Unearthly was inspired by an image of a boy in a forest fire; then she heard the narrative voice of Clara, who wouldn’t stop talking until her story was told.

Cynthia was asked if she thought she might be part-angel and if Unearthly was her mission 🙂 She said she’s thought that before…

Do you know how much of your books are “tweaked” for international versions?

The authors were unsure of just how different the wording is in international versions of their books, but they know that there are some differences.

Planner vs. Pantser?

Courtney: Planner – always an outline
Jodi: Pantser, typically, until Incarnate
Brodi: Pantser
Cynthia: Pantser

Cynthia – Have you read the Immortal Instrument series and were you inspired by it to write Unearthly?

Cynthia has read the Immortal Instrument series, but not until after Unearthly. She has been told that her book is similar.

Favorite Authors?

Courtney’s include Melissa Marr and Laini Taylor
Jodi’s include Marissa Meyer and Rae Caron.
Brodi’s include Cormac McCarthy and Laini Taylor.

Is it harder to start or finish a series?

Finish, unanimous!

Do you know what you’ll be doing next?

Mum’s the word from the authors!

Cover Talk:

Courtney was involved from the beginning. She was able to pick models and outfits.

Jodi had input on hers, but did not originally want a girl’s face on hers. When she saw the girl with butterfly wings on her face, she was hooked, and now loves her cover.

Brodi had input, too and thinks the cover is very close to her original vision, in which a girl was walking through swirling clouds. As it turns out, Brodi’s favorite color is red, though the color of the dress on the cover is not a product of that.

Cynthia did not originally want a girl’s face on her cover, but is very happy with how it turned out.

How did you start writing?

Cynthia has always wanted to write, and started with fan-fiction in high school.

Brodi loved math in school and did not like writing. Dreaded it, in fact! She started writing in college, found she enjoyed it, and it’s all history from there!

Jodi has always enjoyed telling stories since she was young, and started writing in the 3rd grade.

Courtney has always loved horror stories and watch Scooby Doo religiously 🙂

Both Courtney and Brodi had baskets of candy with them, and each time someone asked a question, they received a piece from each. Chocolate was just a bonus at this amazing book signing! Cynthia gave away two “Team Tucker” cowboy hats and Jodi gave away a pair of fingerless gloves (that she did not knit this time around). How generous are these gals?!

After the Q&A, we went right into the book signing. I had lucky line number #6, so I didn’t have to wait long. Each of the ladies had book swag for everyone to take if they wanted to, so of course I did! Cynthia had bookmarks for Unearthly, and Brodi had a bookmark and temporary tattoo for Everneath and a necklace with a Dead Elvises guitar pick. Courtney had Angelfire bookmarks, and Jodi had Incarnate bookmarks, stickers, and even cute little knitted butterflies! They were all so gracious and patient.

I was unable to snap any great pictures with my phone, but if you’d like to see pictures from the Dark Days Houston Tour, check out my friend’s blog:CariBlogs.

Have you had a chance to attend a Dark Days Event?

Have you read any of these amazing books?

Share your thoughts and comments below! 🙂