Adam Silvera: Debut Author Visits Jackson Hole!
June 22, 2015
Hey Friends! So, after a fun exciting weekend of play rehearsals, hiking and eating more watermelon than a normal human being should consume (two whole watermelons; three days…) I’m back and ready to tell you all about it!
Working as the Teen Program Coordinator at the Teton County Library has been such a rewarding experience. I started in March and my first major project has been to create 2015’s Teen Summer Reading program. I created a series of exciting events and was tasked to invite an author to town to help kick off the program. Luckily I managed to get my grubby mitts on Adam Silvera’s kick-ass debut, “More Happy Than Not”!
I came across the book through my wonderful, well-read agent sister Rachel Simon (Follow her on Twitter!) who told me she’d heard SO many good things about the book, and that Adam was a really cool guy. I ended up contacting SOHO Teen through the Valley Bookstore e-mail (sneaky Munz…) and Adam’s publicist Meredith Barnes sent me an ARC.
Received. Consumed. Blown away!
I’d never read a book with LGBT teen characters that felt so relevant to both my own experience and so current. The voices were authentic, the plot was heartbreaking and I suddenly wanted to thrust the book into the hands of everyone I’d ever met.
I immediately knew Adam was the author I wanted to bring to Jackson Hole. I pitched the idea to him and Meredith, and they were in! O joyous day! We don’t get very many debut authors visiting our town, so I knew this was going to be a very special event. Once we got the contract signed, I got to work with promoting Teen Summer Reading and Adam’s visit. The library ended up purchasing and giving out 15 copies to teens; they all got snatched up within the day!
After months of anticipation, Adam finally arrived! We planned a series of events for his visit: a public chat between he and I and two writing workshops: a workshop for teens and a workshop for adults.
In a bittersweet turn of events, Friday, June 19th was SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY which hindered our turnout. There were a series of other events taking place in town, but most everyone was out enjoying the sunshine. However, we had 22 attentive guests join us for the chat. Covering a whirlwind of topics that ranged from discovering one’s sexuality to the many poignant topics featured in “More Happy Than Not”, the chat was lively and thought-provoking. The following Q & A session also ignited a few really insightful topics, some of which aren’t often openly discussed in our community. Adam proceeded to sign a few of his books and we went to the Snake River Brewery for a bite to eat.
Adam’s admirable determination to meet his deadline didn’t leave too much time for extracurricular activities, but the next day proved even more exciting as we prepared for two writing workshops free to the public.
The teen writing workshop had eight aspiring teenage authors in attendance ranging from ages 12 to 16. Adam offered up some fun writing prompts (ex. Write a story about a hero who has just defeated a villain; now write the same event from the villain’s point of view!) that got the teens thinking critically. Adam revealed that turtles unsettle him, launching the teens into full-scale attack mode. Mutant turtles! Snapping turtles! Giant sea turtles! The teens felt really connected to Adam and he did such a great job encouraging their creativity and being personable.
The adult workshop followed! Nine writers, all eager to learn about YA writing and publishing, attended the workshop. The focus surrounded young adult voices and how to access personal teenage experiences (no matter how long ago) while writing for the teens of today. Some writers had YA novels already in the works, while others, including one poet, was only just starting to take an interest in the YA market. Adam’s writing prompts were equally helpful and insightful, and the adults walked away with a great understanding of Adam’s process (and a copy of Adam’s book!).
Having Adam Silvera visit Jackson Hole was a truly wonderful experience, and definitely gave me a precursor to what my future book tour experiences might be like if/when “Blade of the Outlaw” gets published. I can only encourage other librarians and booksellers to get a hold of Adam’s people (contact email@example.com) and have him visit your town. He has a wonderful personality, is absolutely hilarious and definitely is an author to watch!