Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Holly Black Visits University Place Library

My friend and fellow librarian, Larissa, invited me to see Holly Black speak at her local library in University Place, WA. This library is a part of the Pierce County Library System, which I have yet to explore. Naturally, I had to poke around before the program.

The library is a part of the City Hall and has this really great open sign.

The lobby has a warm fireplace.

Inside, I discover the teen space.

Here is their cool media set up and a Holly Black book display.

The children's area is full of educational toys, which I played with, of course.

I noticed the Science-to-Go backpacks. Details about what's inside can be found on their website here.

As cool as this library is, the reason I am here is to see Fantasy/Paranormal YA author Holly Black speak and to meet her. Back in 2002 when her first book, Tithe, came out, I was a freshman in high school. One of my friends suggested it to me because of our shared love of fairies. I had unfortunate fashion sense and often even dressed like a fairy in my early teens. As an adult, I have had the opportunity to dress up like a fairy and get paid for it at the library!

Since Tithe, I have read the White Cat series and the incredibly creepy book, Doll Bones. I learned during her talk that she also worked on graphic novels, one of which was a collaboration with one of my favorite artists, Rebecca Guay.

Holly Black is a great speaker! She had lots of sage advice to writers, which Larissa and I appreciated since we both like to write whenever we aren't librarianing. The advice that stuck out the most were these three tips for writers:

1. Read a lot. Even books that you wouldn't normally read. You will learn a lot about structure, character, and world building.
2. Write a lot. Even if it's bad or complete gibberish. If you wait until you are 'inspired' you may never write a single word.
3. Have writing partners that can hold you accountable for work. If someone else is expecting you to write something, you will be more likely to do it. You don't want to let your buddy down, do you?

I also really enjoyed her talking about her characters. She explained to us that characters in her books never wanted to be characters in books. They wanted to be lazy fairies, drinking in coffee houses and miring in ennui. She also made a really good point that no one in their right mind would want to be a protagonist in a book. Everything goes wrong for you and your life is really very challenging.

Thanks to the local bookshop, King's Books, I was able to snag a copy of Tithe (my own copy, if I ever had one, lost to the tides of time).

Larissa and I awkwardly told Holly Black that we loved her and snapped this photo. Holly confessed to us that she was almost a librarian (all she had left to take was a cataloging course). Very cool.

I plan to go read a lot, write a lot, and bother my writer friends more. Thanks, Holly!


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