So, I got this amazing opportunity to see Scott Westerfeld last Friday. I have proof:
First slide of his presentation!
The event started at 7, but since I got just a little paranoid about not finding seats, my brother and I went there a half hour early. (And it turns out, there were seats!) We quickly sat in the front row, but then my seating dilemma started. Did I want to sit in the very front row, right in front of the podium where he was going to talk, or did I want to sit a little in the back so I could take better pictures? Well, I couldn't make up my mind, and the introductions started before I could move, so we ended up having to stay in the seats right in front of his podium. Heh heh.
(So...I guess that explains the lack of good pictures. Sorry!)
Oh yes, before I forget, here's that new word I talked about in the title: authorstruck.
All right, so it's not very original...or new. I'm sure tons of people have already used that word in their writing, but it's exactly how I felt when I saw him.
Scott Westerfeld is hilarious, witty, and very, very knowledgeable. You can just tell that about him by reading his blog, but hearing him for real reaffirmed it. The way he explained everything was entertaining, and there was just so much to learn. :D He started off by telling us about his inspiration for Uglies, thinking about the science involved in it, and how the Uglies series led to Leviathan, and continued from there. Here are some tidbits from his talk:
- When his friend moved to Los Angeles, and first visited a dentist there, the dentist pulled him aside after the appointment and asked him if he wanted a 5-year-plan to perfect his teeth (and make them look like Tom Cruise's). That got Scott thinking about the role perfection and beauty in our lives, and Uglies started from there.
- It was the Japanese version of Uglies that made him start thinking about illustrations in books.
- Apparently, the Uglies is full of Japanese and Australian slang. I knew that adding wa or la at the end of everyone's names in the books was sort of a nod to Japanese custom, but I didn't know that adding -ies to the end of words was Australian. :D
- He doesn't have anything against characters whose names start with a Z. ;)
- If he feels that the story is slowing down, he makes his characters jump off of something (so true!).
- He had always wanted to write a story about a girl dressing up as a boy to do something cool, so he used Leviathan as an excuse to write about a character like that.
- He named the jellyfish creature in Leviathan a Huxley, because one of Darwin's good friends (and critic) was Thomas Huxley, a man who studied invertebrates (especially jellyfish).
- Justine Larbalestier (his wife and author, who was also there!) pointed out that Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves is one of Scott's new favorite books (out of the ones he read recently), when Scott was asked by someone about books he recommends.
- For you NaNoer's: They talked about NaNo for a while and gave a couple of tips, and told us that they have a bunch of NaNo tips on their blogs. (Scott and Justine wrote tips on alternate days last November-Scott's tips start here, and Justine's tips start here.)
When it was time to sign books, we got in line by rows, so I ended up being person #3 in line. This being my first actual book signing, I totally forgot that we actually got to talk to the author, and being #3, I had no time at all to think of anything cool to say to him, and this is what ensued:
Scott Westerfeld (as I approach him nervously): Hello!
Me: Um, hi!
Scott Westerfeld: How are you doing?
Me: Good...how are you doing?
Scott: Great! *starts signing Leviathan* So, do you have a question?
Scott Westerfeld: *laughs*
Later, however, after he gave me my books back, I gave him a little spiel about what a history geek I was and how fascinated I am by the WWI era, and because of that I totally geeked out when I heard what Leviathan was about. We ended up talking for a couple minutes about WWI, how it started a new era technology and a way of living, and how it's not fair to WWI that WWII always steals the spotlight all the time in literature and basically everything else. (In retrospect, I wish I didn't use the words geek or geeked, but hey, I was being honest. :P)
I thanked him afterwards, and walked away with my books, definitely authorstruck.
The funny thing is, until a couple months ago, I never liked Mr. Westerfeld much. Or, I didn't know if I liked him, because I never read his books. Back when I was in 8th grade, my English teacher, who's a big fan of Scott Westerfeld, introduced his books to us in the beginning of the school year (she was also at the event last friday, yay!). After that, Uglies became the Twilight of my school, before well, the real Twilight became popular. Everyone read it- my friends, girls especially and boys too (to my surprise), and I even saw other teachers carrying the books around. After seeing everyone with his books, I guess I got rebellious and decided to go against the status quo, so I opted to read Markus Zusak and Jerry Spinelli books instead. ;)
Now my friends are all laughing at me, as I wait for my library's copy of Uglies to get here, so I can finally read it, years after they have. Three years ago, I rebelled against Mr. Westerfeld's books and ardently refused to read them, but just a week ago, I sat in the front row during his presentation, sitting forward in my seat, trying to catch his every word and stood in line, eagerly waiting nervously and excitedly in line to say hi to him. Life is full of irony sometimes. :D
After I got home, I saw a tweet from another person who was there, saying that anyone who lives within a one hour driving distance of Mr. Westerfeld's events should go because it's totally worth it. I learned about writing, cat parasites, manga, women revolutionaries, and loads more, so I have to say that I totally concur with his tweet. :)
I just had to take a picture of this slide during his presentation, seeing as two of my favorite characters are on it. I adore Alek and Deryn. :)