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Fierce Reads Visits Saint Louis

Fierce Reads, a group of five young adult authors, stopped in Saint Louis September 20 as part of their cross country trek. Hosted by Left Bank Books amidst the beauty of the Saint Louis Ethical Society, fans picked the brains of these women behind the words, from writing to reading and so much more.

Let’s start by meeting the fierce authors featured, followed by my favorite questions and answers of the evening.


  • Ann Aguirre, seasoned author of multiple novels spanning genres and audiences, including Outpost, sequel to Enclave
  • Jessica Brody, comedic novelist of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father
  • Elizabeth Fama, author of Monstrous Beauty, an historical mermaid tale
  • Lish McBride, author of the quirky Necromancer series
  • Marissa Meyer, debut author of Cinder, the first in a cyborg fairytale quartet

How do you get back into the mindset of a young adult in your novel(s)?

  • Aguirre has young adult children to help her keep up with the slang! On a serious note, however, she tends to avoid using slang to keep from dating her novels. Instead, she focuses on the mental maturity instead of the chronological age of her characters and writes true to their back story.
  • Brody joked that individuals tend to write at the age they stop maturing. In her case, she accidentally discovered that for her it happens to be as a 15-year-old girl!
  • Fama admitted to not thinking about her readers when she writes. She simply writes for herself.
  • McBride confessed with a laugh that she never matured, but in all seriousness, advised not to over think it. After all, high school was an awkward and difficult time, scarring many of us in a permanent way. Those years are still with us.

What did you find to be the biggest problem areas to write?

  • Aguirre finds writing the deaths of her characters to be the most difficult, and unfortunately, it happens a lot in her novels!
  • Fama’s novel alternates character points of view, so she ultimately wrote two separate stories. She found the weaving of these stories to be complex, comparing it to a puzzle as she literally pieced it together on her floor.
  • McBride simply stated “middles” – middles of stories and middles of a series may have led to “lots of flopping around on the floor!”
  • Meyer discussed two difficulties: (1) foreshadowing future books without losing the excitement and (2) writing the villains.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

  • Aguirre doesn’t believe in writer’s block. Just like in other jobs, you work through it. Talking the story out, solving the problem, and utilizing resources such as a writer’s group can get you through the issue with your story.
  • Brody takes a similar approach, defining it as a solution that has yet to be found. She tries to work through these “stuck” moments by getting a massage, taking a walk, or changing the format of how the story is written (i.e., screen play instead of a novel).
  • Fama just tries to power through the block with the intent on fixing the problems during revisions.

The authors also shared what they read while they write (research to romance to mysteries) as well as building platforms via social networking and beyond. Each provided their unique perspective on their craft, but one thing was common among the group – their passion for writing and their ability to make the crowd laugh. It was an engaging night that left both readers and writers wanting more, and so you do not feel left out, I leave you with teasers of what to expect in the near future from these fierce writers:

  • Aguirre: adult sci-fi, steampunk, sequels, AND paranormal
  • Brody: superhuman sci-fi thriller suspense with a dash of romance
  • Fama: alternate history, day boy, night girl
  • McBride: firestarter woman and wererabbits
  • Meyer: Rapunzel stuck in a space satellite

Thank you to Left Bank Books for sponsoring the event and to the five amazing authors who allowed their imaginations to be explored!

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