I drove up to Pasadena last week for the wonderful event with Renée Ahdieh, Alwyn Hamilton, Romina Russell, and Marie Lu at Once Upon a Time Bookstore. This was my first time visiting this bookstore, and it was so cute!
The event began with the authors telling us which Hogwarts house they are from. Alwyn is a Hufflepuff, Romina is a Ravenclaw, Marie is a Slytherpuff, and Renée is a Slytherin. They then sorted their characters into the houses which was fun. Marie talked about how Adelina is definitely a Slytherin but that Adelina thinks herself as a Gryffindor. Renée explained how Shahrzad is definitely a Gryffindor and Khalid a Slytherin. Alwyn placed Amani as a Gryffindor and Romina placed Rhoma as a hufflepuff.
Each author talked about how they start writing and what inspired their current stories. Renée discussed George R. R. Martin’s two types of writers—architects and gardeners—and how she was an architect as she begins with characters and their traits. Renée likes to map out different little scene summaries that go with the cheaters and traits. Marie chimed in to say that she considered herself to be more of a gardener. With The Young Elites, Marie started writing a book about a hero and her editor was honest with her and said she didn’t like the story but she liked the villain.
Alwyn began Rebel of the Sands because she read something about how girls can’t be action heroes so she came up with a character. The world came later when she had an idea about it at midnight. Romina is the opposite and started with the world first. She always wanted to write scifi and even wanted to be a scientist. She was on the phone with her editor when she had a flash of the world and story and knew she could write it.
It was very fun watching these authors interact—definitely one of the most entertaining panels I’ve seen recently! It was wonderful meeting them afterwards, and I also got the chance to meet the lovely Karina from the ! Big thanks to Renée Ahdieh, Alwyn Hamilton, Romina Russell, Marie Lu, and Once Upon a Time Bookstore for a great event!