It was a Frenzy of Bloggers!

Image courtesy of Michele at Just a Lil' Lost

Something very interesting happened at the HarperCollins Canada office this past Tuesday night. HCC hosted a very special blogger event that brought in some of the best YA bloggers in the GTA. Not only did we serve them pie (how awesome is that?), and give them a goodie bag filled with amazing YA stuff, but we also introduced then to some of our favorite fall titles, with a little surprise at the end. 🙂

Everyone is VERY excited!

The night started off with an introduction from our very own Vikki Vansickle (@vikkivansickle), the brilliance behind the HCCFrenzy blog and twitter (@HCCFrenzy). She began with an overview of the nights events, then proceeded to give the floor to the very sharply dressed Jessica Anderson (@jessicalacyando) who is the creator and designer of the Frenzy magazine.  Jessica explained what it was like to interview Brad Goreski for the current issue and what it was like to have her very own fan girl moment when she finally got to meet him.

After the event I sat down with her to get a little more information on the creation and production of the magazine. Frenzy was created just over a year ago by Jessica and Melissa, when they decided they wanted to find a new and engaging way to introduce Young Adults to Harper Collins. They wanted the magazine to include books, but did not want to overwhelm readers with over-your-head book information. They addressed this issue with the inclusion of authors Q&A’s, along with special features and quizzes. If you take a look at an issue of Frenzy you can see that design is a huge part of its’ success. Jessica told me that color plays a huge role in the design scheme and it you look closely at the issues you will discover that the same colors appear throughout. I asked Jessica, what is the key to a good design? Pulling ideas from the page itself, and drawing from the subject matter. According to Jessica, it takes approximately 3 months to put together the final product, which includes designing, interviews (if necessary), permissions to use certain photographs and even writing the content that we find within the magazine.  So to sum up, Frenzy is amazing, and I want to thank Jessica for all the hard work and dedication she puts into this amazing magazine!

Back to the event we go! The floor was passed to the extremely talented Hadley Dyer, our Children’s Editor here at the office. Right off the top Hadley got to explain the perks that come with her job, saying that just moments before she was on the phone with Kenneth Oppel, telling him that he was just nominated for a 2012 CCBC Book award for This Dark Endeavour! Not only does Hadley deal directly with authors and their agents but she also explained some of the more difficult aspects of her job. She told us that many authors write countless drafts, to the point where it seems like they are going in an editorial circle, so it is Hadley’s job to decide whether to publish the manuscript as is –with the imperfections—or tell the author that she wants to sit on the manuscripts for a while, sometimes years, hoping that it will help with the editing process. These are the kind of decisions that Hadley must make all the time, and we have to say that she does a pretty good job!

Next came one of my favorite parts of the night, the Fall YA Preview! In this portion of the night, Shannon, Jessica and Vikki displayed their reader knowledge on some of the most exciting book for Fall. First up was Vikki with her first pick, Breathe by Sarah Crossan. Vikki described this debut YA novel as a realistic dystopian society that reads like a survivor novel. Not only is the cover absolutely gorgeous, but this book has been on my to-be-read list for some time now!

Next Vikki talked about a very interesting book called Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon.  It’s the story of two computer hackers on the run from a shady organization.  It has been compared to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which according to Vikki is completely wrong. I say, put this book on your shelf and let us know if you agree or disagree!

Shannon was up next, and we all know that she can’t hold back her excitement when it comes to YA, and her first choice was Starling by Lesley Livingston. I recently picked up this book and fell hopelessly in love with it. Shannon let out a bit of a warning for those that are not familiar with Mythology, considering there are plenty of references throughout the novel. But lack of knowledge will not hinder your enjoyment of this book, I promise! She also talked about how awesome the main character is, so if you love a good, strong heroine this is one book to watch for!

Shannon then moved on to Such Wicked Intent by the amazing Kenneth Oppel. As seen by her reaction in the photograph, Shannon kind of loved this book. According to her, she cannot say much about this book without given away spoilers, so instead I will give the jacket description which reads: Tragedy has forced sixteen-year-old Victor Frankenstein to swear off alchemy forever. He burns the Dark Library and vows he will never dabble in the dark sciences again—just as he vows he will no longer covet Elizabeth, his brother’s betrothed. If only these things were not so tempting… Many have said that it is better than This Dark Endeavor, including our very own Cory Beatty (@CoryBeatty). Although it would be very hard to top the first book, I suggest going out and reading it and letting us know!

Shannon then moved on to her final Fall pick, which was Ten by Gretchen McNeil. It’s one creepy story about ten teenagers stranded in a cottage during a storm. Well, as Shannon said on Tuesday night, if you loved Agatha Christies And Then There Were None, you will absolutely love this book! But if you are not familiar with Agatha’s stories, the cover should obviously drag you in:)

The floor was then passed back to the lovely Jessica Anderson who dressed to match the book she was chatting about, Debutantes by Cora Harrison (clever!). I have read this book and I will tell you that if you love fashion, the 1920s and a little bit of mystery, you will love this book! Just ask Jessica 🙂

After the Fall Preview was over, Vikki once again took to the floor to talk about one of our favorite books of the year: Insurgent! We asked around to see which faction everyone associated themselves with, and many said Dauntless. But then Vikki asked if your allegiance changed after reading the book. Surprisingly many said yes, changing from Amity to Erudite or vice versa. Some changed from Dauntless to Amity and so on. It was quite interesting to see the shift, especially after seeing the alliances from the first book. The conversations quickly changed when Vikki opened up discussions about love triangles and if anyone saw the possibility for one forming in the third book. Many disagreed with the notion, but some actually agreed saying that there are two characters that emerged throughout the novel that could vie for Tris’ affection in the third book. What do you think?

Getting towards the end of the night we welcomed a very special guest into the office! The amazing and lovely Tahereh Mafi joined our little soirée to a very loud round of applause! The author of Shatter Me surprised the bloggers by talking about life as an author. She discussed that she just finished the first draft of the third and final book, making a joke saying that at the moment she is calling it “Untitle Me.” She explained the reason behind the Novella Destroy Me that comes out in October, saying that it is a bridge book between Shatter Me and Unravel Me. This novella is from Warner’s point of view, which she says is the result of many of her fans loving him so much, and because she wants to explain why he disappears from the latter half of the book. We can’t wait to get our hands on this! After the discussion we moved onto the signing portion of the night where

Tahereh took pictures and signed books all with a huge smile on her face. Not only did she know all of the blogger from either twitter or their respective blog sites but she also talked with each person directly, having a mini moment with each, which I thought was absolutely amazing to see. We would like to thank Tahereh for coming to the office and allowing all the bloggers a chance to meet one of their favorite authors and to celebrate the success of Shatter Me!

Thank you to everyone that came to the event! I had a blast!

Follow me on twitter @chevy27

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Canadian publishing professionals and bloggers. Looking for savvy readers to talk books with us!

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