We picked up Ava and headed up to MGRB. It goes without saying that we were extremely early, so we killed time by having coffee. Crystal met us up there and we had a great conversation about all things books.
Around 7:15, a woman [who I think was Cory's sister, I'm not sure, but will refer to her as that for the remainder of the post] came by and starting setting things up. She put up a raffle cup and guest book [a copy of Touched for us to sign], a cake, swag bags and a candy bar.
She then walked around holding out the cup for everyone to pick the raffle tickets. Crystal and Ava both picked two numbers on accident and we all started laughing about how we were all trying to cheat. I said something about if people can figure out how to cheat at a raffle, high five to them and then she high fived me.
Cory was introduced by the lovely Gretchen McNeil. Gretchen talked about how Cory had a full time day job and two books released this year and just finished her MFA in creative writing.
Cory came out and talked about working on her MFA. She hasn't planned on writing YA, but got an idea about a girl who could heal people with her touch. She asked her program advisors if she could change to YA and ended up writing 140k words that would become Touched. She then read the first chapter.
Cory knew that she wanted to write a book where the girl did the saving instead of the type of girl who sat around, twirling their hair, waiting to be saved by a boy. Another thing she really wanted was there to be a cost to her character having powers. In the case of Touched, whatever the character heals, she absorbs. So when she heals a set of broken ribs, her own ribs crack.
After about 20 minutes of talking, the Q&A started. With that, she talked about the difficulties of writing two different books with two entirely different themes at the same time. She constantly went back to read the books and probably read Touched 80 times while writing Touched 2.
With her writing process, she is super type A and outlines everything. She will write 50 pages to get the voice of the character and then do an outline, including all of the relationship arcs for everyone in the story. She tends to write backwards, first planning the very worst thing that will happen and working from there.
She likes to collect character traits that she finds specific to a person and write them down for later use. Her examples were her mechanic brother who hates to get his hands dirty and a brother and sister who grew up in a motel and would count the space in the room by the number to steps it took them.
She talked for about 40 minutes altogether before they signaled for the signing to start. Somehow, I got up to her first [and definitely NOT from the prodding by Gretchen who told me that by now I should be taking charge and getting the people in line properly].
I thanked Cory for being at the store and congratulated her on the book released. She remembered me from Twitter [still not sure that RL picture is a good thing] and thanked me for coming out. We had a brief conversation about If I Lie before getting a picture.
And then we hung out with Gretchen and she told us about her upcoming holiday plans, preparing for BEA, and her future book plans.
Cory's maybe sister came around to start calling numbers for the raffle. As she was getting everything ready, I showed her my two numbers and told her either of them could be called so I could win. She started laughing, but I ended up being one of two winners and got this awesome tote bag full of stuff!!
Cory Jackson is as sincere as the books she writes. She has a wonderful presence and a unique style to writing. I look forward to all of her future works.
I also think that it's important to mention that inside the swag bags were blank note cards with envelopes to write letters of thanks to the military men and women, some of who never get mail. Check out the website to participate: www.amillionthanks.org