I-40 during Rush Hour is practically guaranteed to put me in a bad mood. It’s not totally clogged, or at least not enough to make it reasonable to find another route. It’s just…slow-moving, to the point of painful. Even at 6:00, on my way to an event at Quail Ridge books at 7, it’s slow enough to make me annoyingly not-early. That, having to double back to apartment because I thought I’d forgotten my phone (it was in my purse) was making me do what Emily calls my ‘murder walk’ on my way in. It’s almost enough to make me swear off Quail Ridge Books, only they keep pulling great YA authors like Marie Lu in to speak.
Who would YOU pair Adelina with, or my meeting with Marie Lu
My mood didn’t magically dissipate when I walked in–I could hear that Marie Lu was already speaking, and it sounded as if the event had been going on for a little while, but I couldn’t sit because I had to pick up mine and Em’s books. And yet, as I was standing in line, tapping my feet in annoyance, I heard Marie Lu musing on ‘people I’d ship Adelina with…hmmm…the Darkling, maybe?’ That was as good a way as any to lift my spirits.
I got my books and slipped into a seat near the back as Marie Lu finished telling us why Adelina and the Darkling would be a good/horrible mix. I had the Legend series in my bag, and my brand-new copy of Midnight Star cradled in my arms, along with Em’s brand-new copy of Midnight Star.
I sat down in time to hear the conversation shift to Marie Lu’s newly announced book, Warcross, which was exciting. Em had mentioned she had a new book/series/thing coming out, but I hadn’t heard any details. It was exciting to sit and listen to Marie Lu describe it in her own words, especially since I didn’t know anything about it.
Warcross is described on Goodreads as ‘two teenage bounty hunters are hired by a young billionaire to catch a hacker in the world’s most phenomenally popular virtual reality video game’, and is expected to be published in 2017. Marie Lu added that it was set approximately ten years in the future, and that fans of the Legend series could expect it to bear more than a passing resemblance to Antarctica. (For people who haven’t read the Legend series, it’s a world that basically functions like a real-life version of the Sims). She also mentioned it’s something of a tribute to her love of video games, and that it’s the only first draft she didn’t hate writing.
Her new DC Comics book also came up. Again, Em had mentioned something about YA authors being recruited to write novels that tie into comics/movies, but I didn’t know that Marie Lu was in on the plan. She talked about how she’d decided to write about a young Bruce Wayne coming into his billionaire inheritance, which sounded VERY cool. She also dropped hints that it was going to heavily involve a special inmate of Arkham Asylum, for those who actually know the Batman storyline. Later, in the Q&A, she talked about how difficult it was to balance between writing her own story and writing a DC Comics story.
What I enjoy about the Quail Ridge Books events is that the Q&A is long enough that everyone feels satisfied, while not being too long. Especially this time, the questions were often quite interesting. There were questions about the books, like what Marie Lu imagined Day and June doing nowadays or whether there really was an alternate ending to The Midnight Star. But more of the questions were directed towards Marie Lu as a person/author, which I appreciated. It was as if the teens in the audience really wanted to try and reach her as a person, not just as someone who wrote the books they loved. And she answered each question thoughtfully and at length. She also took care to make sure as many people as possible could ask questions.
Finally one of the Teen Board members announced that the Q&A was closing, and that we should all get in line for the book signing. We did so, me somehow managing to balance five books. I wasn’t that far back in the line, but it still took a while to get my books signed. Marie Lu was very engaged with her readers, answering questions, making small talk and moving around for pictures and selfies. She even signed some fan art of Adelina that a girl had made. While I appreciated this as a reader, it was difficult to wait in line–fortunately, it was made easier by a very entertaining toddler. I only wish I were less shy and tongue-tied, or that I’d had the courage to mention how much I liked her boots (excellent taste in shoes seems to be a trait of YA authors).
That being said, I left with my head held high, in my own excellent boots and the knowledge that every single Marie Lu book on my shelf was now signed.