#ELockhartinPH Recap + Giveaway

Monday, March 23, 2015

Yesterday, I had the most fabulous time at #ELockhartinPH! I loved We Were Liars so much (hello, one of my top 2014 reads) and I just can't believe it still that I freakin' met and talked to freakin' E. Lockhart. This overused gif summarizes the event for me:


I specifically used an Emma Stone gif because E. Lockhart reminded me of Emma Stone so much! She was so funny and animated and she speaks with these big hand gestures that's just so me Emma Stone. I think I heard a minor lisp too and the bangs she was sporting were just so on point. She throws in more-than-three-syllables words too and is very smart. She stops to think before saying anything, she's self-deprecating and just okay, I'm babbling but really, E. Lockhart is ALL CAPS AWESOME.

While I've been attending book signings every chance I get, I tend to not post recaps. *hides from pitchforks* It's just that 1) I'm so lazy, 2) I record the interview but NEVER get around to transcribing it because I'm lazy, and 3) I'm really really lazy. So starting this signing, I just decided not to record the whole interview but take notes (~so old school~) so this will be a bit of a storytelling session with me. Occasionally, I'll have exact quotes (they'll be in bold!) so there's that! Go under the cut for pictures, Emily's wonderful interviews, and a... GIVEAWAY! I'm giving away a signed copy of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and a bookmark so let me ramble and spazz and share my experience first!

Here are what I gleaned on from the forum I attended! We had a shirt printed because #wewereliarssupportgroup! (WAAAAAAAAA) This is an incomplete picture and a fail one because we're all looking at different cameras, hahaha!



(photo via Kate)
When asked which book of hers was her favorite, Emily answered with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (which I will now call Frankie from now on to save my fingers). "All my characters have a part of me in them." She said that while Frankie is a very different person from her, she thought that Frankie was better than her.

Emily also said she read a lot about pranks while writing Frankie and thanked the Internet for having lots of stuff about pranking. She found it hard to write Frankie as well because "pranks took forever to plan out".

I think it was Maricar of blackplume who asked her about her choice to include fairytales in We Were Liars. Emily shared that she likes to experiment with formats. Her Ruby Oliver series had a list for The Boyfriend List and everything else had footnotes. Fly on the Wall was about a girl turning into a fly and watching the boys' locker room. She said that she loved structural challenges and she asked herself "Can I use these to advance the story without revealing anything?" Emily personally loved reading books with a different structure and so she loved writing those too.


(photo via Kai)

Kai of Amaterasu Reads asked how hard was it to tackle an unreliable narrator in We Were Liars and Emily told us that she wrote using Scrivener, a writing software usually used by fantasy writers. It basically lets you look through your work from a bird's eye view, enabling you to rearrange scenes as you see fit and to see if clues are dropped correctly. She also apparently shared it to more colleagues than she ever did: Scott Westerfeld, Robin Wasserman, Lauren Myracle, and Sarah Mlynowski. She was usually fairly confident with telling the story she wanted to tell but since We Were Liars is a bit of a mystery, she wanted inputs. Robin Wasserman was a great help according to her because she provided in-depth edits.

Hazel of Stay Bookish posed the question of how did she develop her beautiful writing style. Writers are taught to erase themselves when writing. But writing YA, Emily realized that friends don't tell stories chronologically. I love this bit of the interview because Emily was being very animated and she was talking so fast and I remember thinking: YOU ARE MY KIND OF PERSON, EMILY. Anyway, she realized that "I could just try and talk on the page".

(I'm sorry, I wasn't able to take note who asked what and I forgot who asked what after this so yeah.) 


(photo via Kazhy)

Emily also told us some anecdotes of her high school life. She grew up in Seattle and she went to two high schools, both as a scholarship student. Her first two years, she spent at the Northwest School of the Arts, Humanities and Environment (they pledge not to have a car, they were really into the environment), where she was very miserable. She didn't have friends, she couldn't get into any drama production and she was just sad. She decided to transfer to a prep school for junior year and the school looked so different, kind of like a college. And she was fairly popular there! She was the same person, she didn't change, but she had friends, she got boyfriends, she got into drama productions, and everything she ever wished during her first two years in high school. She thinks this is one of the reasons she keeps on writing about high school, as she had two radically different experiences back then.

When asked if there's a scene she'd like to change in WWL, she couldn't really answer it. "I made the best book I had to make and I stopped thinking about it." Sure, she said she can edit it but at the moment, she couldn't think as that book's done.

Her writing style for WWL was going out of a limb. The characters suddenly speak in poetry style and she knows that it's all so pretentious. That it might not be for everyone. But she made that choice to write the book she wanted. She was ready for people to shred it for all the pretentiousness so she was just so thrilled that some people loved it.

(photo of Kate's hands sharpie-d by Algel via Kai)
Emily then went into this fun anecdote about the idea of We Were Liars and how she thought of the twist. She told us that sometimes, authors don't need to write the whole book to sell it. A pitch works just fine. She wanted to write a book about real estate and both her editors groaned at her idea, telling her that no one wants to read about real estate and property wars. One of the editors suggested putting in ~sexy stuff~ and the other one told her to make bad things happen. She was so against both ideas and she just let WWL percolate in her mind. She was just so sure about the set-up, a patriarch with three daughters and the island. She just doesn't know anything about the plot and the characters. While waiting to pick up her daughter from school at 3PM, she spent an hour in the worst coffee shop in Brooklyn right across her daughter's school (which has now been closed) and brainstormed. It was 2:50 PM and then the plot hit her and she just wrote the basic plot in 10 minutes. (EMILY IS ONCE AGAIN ALL CAPS AWESOME.) Apparently, at the back of her mind, the sexy stuff and the bad things happening were doing their magic and there's We Were Liars.

(photo via Kai)
This is exciting news because E. Lockhart has a new book coming out and it's about "international jet-setting nineteen year-old con artists" with murder and HOLD ME BECAUSE CON ARTISTS!!!! I was squealing in delight! It'll be out 2016 from Random House so guys, y'all know what to look out for!

The idea for WWL came from three things:
-families fighting over property
-grown children fighting for parental love
-younger kids hearing everything

And these three were very obvious in WWL. Emily said that all families fight, whether all the time or only during Christmas. Kids grow up arguing with each other. Grown-ups fighting and the kids asking why. These were her main inspirations.

If she was in Cadence's place, E. Lockhart said that she'll let go. "You have to go back." (Question by Kate of The Bookaholic Blurbs.)

When the bloggers collectively wailed about We Were Liars, Emily said "It hurts. I'm sorry." We'll never forgive you E, but we love you for it!

While WWL isn't really a mystery novel, it was Emily's first time writing a mystery/suspense book and she found it very hard. However, she just stayed true to the tried-and-tested mystery writing tip of having 3 or 4 suspects, all of which are lying. There are multiple interpretations of what might be going on as everyone are lying for their own reasons.

(photo via Louisse)
As for what inspired her to include fairytales in WWL, Emily told us the story of how she read a lot of fairytales as a kid. Her parents divorced when she was two and she lived with her mom in a communal house with hippies in the 70s. (Honestly, I never thought she was around my mom's age because she looked so fresh and rad!) Anyway, they moved a lot, five houses in four years. They didn't have furniture but they kept on lugging this box full of hardbound 19th and early 20th century fairytale books. Her mom took care of it a great deal that she had to have clean hands if she wants to touch it and that her mom watches her read it to ensure that it doesn't get wrecked. Later on, she learned that these books were gifts from her father to her mom during their courtship. She then realized that they've been "carrying around a box of marital baggage" and that she was symbolically asked to hold their marriage dearly. So when she was writing WWL, which was rife full of family baggage, "fairytales came in very naturally". It was midway through the novel though when she added it.

Last question for the forum was how emotional does she gets when she's writing a book and Emily just won me over again by saying that she basically runs away from all the heavy stuff so her first drafts don't have the emotions. She puts emotions in the books during rewrites as she's scared to tackle it so she doesn't put them in first drafts. It's only during later drafts where she opens up.

As for her message to Filipino fans/bloggers:

(video credit to Kate)

"Well, you guys are all writers already. So I just applaud your spirit of inquiry and critique. I think young adult fiction especially, needs not only champions but critics. Who are willing to think intelligently and argue with one another and create an intelligent dialogue about literature for young people so I applaud you."

(photo via Kate)
Then it's signing books time! I bought a new hardcover of WWL because I NEED to have it in its hardbound glory and I'm also giving away my tear-stained paperback some time soon. Got the new paperback of Frankie too because my cover's a bit outdated but I'm giving that one away today! Also got Fly on the Wall! Picture with the one and only E. Lockhart!



Here's a picture of us at the forum!


(photo via Louisse)
After the forum, I had lunch and then I went to the public signing! Here's where I realized that E. Lockhart had a story in 21 Proms and that I wasn't able to buy it and get it signed! I was really sad about this and I was mentally kicking myself in the shins for being so stupid but then National Book Store suddenly got stocks during the signing and I got one and got it signed! SOOO happy to have stayed! SOOO worth it!



Anyway, I'll just share the bits of new information I got from the interview by Ms. Xandra Ramos. Here goes!


Apparently, she was trying to write a novel yesterday from Cebu to Manila, as they had a delayed flight. Ms. Xandra was amazed at how she could do that because it was noisy! Emily told the audience that she's used to it. In fact, when she was writing WWL, she was traveling AND editing a new book. So there's that.


(photo via Kate)
 Among her literary influences were Charlotte and Emily Brontë, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen. She went to grad school for Victorian literature and she has a PhD in 19th century English fiction. I just about spazzed there. While it can't be seen at the surface of her books as there's pop culture references as well, these are her literary inspirations.

When she was a kid, they used to go to a little house at Martha's Vineyard owned by her grandpa on her mother's side. It was a 45-minute ferry boatride where she sees these private islands with beautiful houses. Ever since, she has always wondered what the rich people who own the islands were doing, and then she incorporated this into her book WWL.

When asked if her WWL characters were inspired by people she knows, she got so indignant and gosh, you should have seen her face when she said "These are horrible people. Those are not my people. My family is much nicer than that." The universal theme in WWL that she played around is that time in your life when you realize that adults are messed up.


(photo via Kai)
About the fairytale bits, she once again told the story of the box of marital baggage they lugged around. That her mom's books were endowed objects, objects endowed with meaning. And so, with characters endowing objects with meaning came up in WWL, it was very natural to relate fairytales to that.

WWL was inspired on King Lear, with his three daughters. A bit of a Shakespearean illusion in it. You have the good daughter and two bad ones but in WWL, who exactly is the good one? It's also in fairytales. Belle is the good one, Cinderella is the good one. But in WWL, you aren't exactly sure.

On how she wrote WWL and how she decided on the fates of the characters, Emily joked that "I leaked out blood all over the page", while miming cutting her wrist and dousing the page with her own blood. She said she rewrote it a million times and that if you have noticed, it has a five-act structure and that she moved pieces of the story around a lot.

As for using the name LIARS for Cadence's group, "Everyone is a big liar in this book. People are lying to themselves and to other people." They were lying for reasons, but mostly for love. To protect someone. "It doesn't mean they're nefarious, just emotionally complicated." I really loved what she said about that.


(photo via Kazhy)
She also showed us her motto for today, which is SPEAK UP, written on her right hand. The liars wrote mottos on their hands for how they wanna live for the day. She then recited and laughed over the silly mottos in the book. Then she told everyone that she has stamps they can stamp on their hands with Be a little kinder than you have to and Do not accept an evil you can change and the crowd went wild!

Ms. Xandra mentioned that Emily has written 35 books and Emily backtracked a bit and got humble, saying that 35 sounds a lot but they were mostly picture books. Ms. Xandra was inquiring about them as they're planning to have some at the library Mitch Albom and NBS established in the typhoon-devastated areas in Tacloban and Emily said she'll surely donate some. ALL CAPS AWESOME.

She then went to describe her books and gosh, it was the funniest thing ever! She was speaking so fast about WWL and I LOVED IT. The Boyfriend List is a comedy and that "if you don't wanna cry, you can read this." Emily admitted to loving to think about torturing her characters. The technique is to ask: What is the worse thing that can happen?

She then goes on to describe the plot of her books in this fashion, asking and asking again what worse thing could happen, and it was amazing. She gets so animated! The key is to have "escalating series of catastrophes".

As for Frankie, she wanted to go to a boarding school so she wrote a book in a boarding school. For Fly on the Wall, "Do you know what happens inside a boys' locker room? Read Fly on the Wall." BEST. PITCH. EVER.

(photo via Kazhy)
She tells the audience that she writes YA in the morning when she's productive and something for a younger audience at night as it's not as tiring.

I didn't know this but apparently, WWL has been bought by a movie company and a screenplay has been commissioned and is currently being edited. HOW EXCITED I AM FOR THIS I CAN'T EVEN DESCRIBE. Emily said she doesn't have a fantasy cast but that we can feel free to suggest actors as she doesn't know younger actors. Haha! The movie company that bought it was the same group with Dumb and Dumber and she said she honestly don't know how the movie will pan out. Fingers crossed it's gonna be great!

Her advice to aspiring writers is to write on a regular schedule. Her novels are around 60,000 words each. She then described that a single email to a friend telling a story is 250 words. Two emails in a day make 500 words, which will take you a maximum of an hour to write. If you write for five days a week, you'll have 2,500 words. 10,000 in a month and a novel in six months. "You have to rewrite it maybe 700 times. The first draft is always the hardest thing. Just do it."

Now, some questions from the audience! Emily warned us not to ask spoiler-y questions so the next question was about her favorite YA authors. She said Andrew Smith, Rainbow Rowell (and that she likes Eleanor & Park better than Fangirl), and Jaclyn Moriarty, an Australian author mentioned in WWL.

As for her plane ride, she's reading a battered copy of If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon she found in the streets of Brooklyn before her trip to the Philippines. "I've been reading Sidney Sheldon but I wouldn't recommend it to the youth of the Philippines. It's so dirty. It's filthy dirty. It's rape-y." Emily said that she reads anything and that "I'm an equal opportunity reader." 

Writing books in another genre wouldn't be in the horizon for Emily. While she loves reading fantasy books, she thinks she doesn't have that kind of imagination. And while she also enjoys reading historical fiction, she says she has no patience to do research for it and get immersed in that time era.

She then tells the audience how YA is a very new category, which only started in the 1960s, with librarians making shelves of adult books (The Catcher in the Rye and the likes) they think young adults would love. She loves writing YA and she encourages readers to discuss.


(photo via National Book Store)

Last question for the interview was her message to readers or what's the takeaway message she wants people to have from her books. She thanked everyone for coming and here's where wow, Emily just won more of me over (as if I wasn't yet). She paused a bit, thinking how to phrase it, and she ultimately said that she doesn't want to send a particular message but an invitation to think, discuss, argue, question, be opinionated, change your opinion, and to connect with other readers. Wow, just wow. Perfect answer.

And that's #ELockhartinPH in not a nutshell for you! If I can only easily diss out 3000+ words like this. Now, for the giveaway!

I have a signed paperback The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and an E. Lockhart bookmark for a lucky Philippines resident! Sorry, I can only afford shipping locally. The winner will be notified via email and failure to reply within 48 hours will forfeit the winner of the prize. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This awesome day wouldn't have been possible if not for National Book Store and for that, I am very grateful! MWAH MWAH MWAH


Check out these recaps as well (and win at some of them)!

22 comments:

  1. UGH! The whole event seemed so fun! I'm so bummed I missed it! I really love Kai's question about Scrivener and it seems totally worth it to invest in that! And its kinda fun to know that there are softwares like that, more than just writing in front of a laptop in ur MS word or pen and paper. Ahhhh! <3

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    1. Apparently, Emily has been using MS Word before but she switched to Scrivener for WWL. Too bad you weren't there, Jayvee! But a lot are giving away books so good luck on those!

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  2. Everything, because I love E. Lockhart. >.< But the most part I love, that really catches me was when she explained about the 'lying' in we were liars. That the characters were lying for reasons cos' I too lie for reasons not just for the sake of lying. :))

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    1. I love that part as well! Not because someone is lying, he/she is bad because there are always reasons behind it. "It doesn't mean they're nefarious, just emotionally complicated."

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  3. I've never been to a real actual book event of any international author (which is actually really sad boohoo) that's why I'm glad you guys do recaps like this! Anyway, my fave part of the interviews was when Emily discussed why she incorporated fairytales in WWL. I found it sweet :3

    PS. I didn't know she had other books! So thanks for the chance of winning one! :D

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    1. This is actually her award-winning book and the one that skyrocketed her to her fame, I think.

      I'm glad you like my recap, it's long but I think I covered everything she discussed. Good luck with the giveaway and thanks for dropping by, Ailla!

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  4. I love everything about the interview. I love We Were Liars so much that she became my favorite author. I was stunned at how it turns out. I was so jealous, I was not in her book signings. But.. I hope she comes back soon! It looks like everyone had fun. I love it! I would love to have Frankie too!

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    1. Wow, she's your favorite author! This is amazing. WWL was so special to me too. She said she's willing to come back maybe when her next book is out. Who knows? Maybe she will! Thanks for checking out my recap and I hope it made you felt like you were somehow there too. Good luck on the giveaway!

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  5. My favorite part of the interview was about how she just wrote the basic plot for WWL in 10 minutes! What an amazing mind she is.

    Glad to have read your recap. You're the first to do one for this recent E. Lockhart event, among the bloggers I follow. And thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. I wrote the recap immediately because if I postpone it, I'm sure I'll just get lazy or maybe forget some of the events too. I'm glad you appreciate my recap and the giveaway. Thanks for dropping by, Jennilyn!

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  6. This post is so adorable. You're so luck you got the chance to meet her. I just love meeting author and getting along with them just as if they were my friend.

    Alex @ The Book's Buzz

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    1. I definitely feel infinitely lucky and I can't thank National Book Store enough for the chance. Thank you for checking out my recap, Alex!

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  7. My favorite part was when she talked about her favorite book of hers, which is The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks. Now, I'm really curious about the book.

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    1. I haven't read it as well and the awards + her saying that definitely moved it up the priority list. Thanks for dropping by, Rose Ann!

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  8. ooh this sounds like so much fun!! the events in the PH always look like massive events!! and yay for Jaclyn Moriarty love. that was one of my fav parts of We Were Liars.

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    1. Hi Elena! I'm spazzing in here a bit because you dropped by!!! I guess it's because an author is only likely to visit here in the Philippines once so every bookish person who's nearby goes to the event. I haven't read any book by Jaclyn Moriarty and now I think I'll be checking them out. Thank you for stopping by! <333

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  9. All of it, because when she tackles about lying.. I like and curious to read this great book of E. Lockhart

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    1. I agree though that the whole interview (and both of them) were amazing and it's hard to pick a favorite bit. Thanks for dropping by!

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  10. Gaah. I kinda wish I went too, Dianne! But, oh well. I like the part where she said the first draft is the hardest because IT REALLY IS! I'd say I hope you had an amazing time but I think its pretty obvious you did.

    PS. I started writing daily fake tattoos ever since WWL and I never stopped. I almost always get a double take, are-those-real from adult relatives. Yeah.

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    1. You should have gone, Miel! It was fun and with you having read WWL, it'd have been awesome to soak in the awesomeness that is Emily. Thanks for dropping by my recap!

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  11. I haven't read any of her books yet, I wish I'll win one. :)

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Comment away!

By the way, this is an awards-free blog. I appreciate it though, really. :D

 
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