Friday, February 13, 2009

Meet the Panelists : Laini from Grow Wings

Only 1 day until the Cybils Awards are announced!  To get you excited, I'm featuring a Fantasy & Science Fiction panelist (or two) every day until the awards are announced. Our last installment of Meet the Panelist spotlights Laini from Grow Wings.  Laini is the author of the fabulous Faeries of Dreamdark: Blackbringer and she brought lots of great input on writing to our discussons.  I visited her blog for the first time in October when I found out that she was on the panel.  Now it's one of my favorite blogs to read!

When did you start blogging and why?
I started blogging three years ago, when I'd sold my first novel, Blackbringer, but the pub date was still many months away. I've found an amazing community and so many kindred spirits who care about the same things I do. Blogging makes it possible for people to find their *tribe* in a way we're not all so lucky to do in our *real lives.*
What are some of your favorite posts that you did?
I'm fond of this post, about my first talk as an "author" at ALA (it's about fantasy).
I also post very short pieces of fiction on my blog, of which this is a favorite.
What was your favorite part about being a Cybils panelist?
The avalanche of books in the mail was great, of course, and the couple of live chats at the very end were so much fun! I was really glad to experience the awards process from the inside -- it was fascinating to see how opinions of a book could differ so dramatically.
Any advice for future panelists?
Clear your schedule. It's a huge time commitment! Don't fool yourself.
What books are you looking forward to this year?
I can't wait to read Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games, as well as Wise Man's Fear, the sequel to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, which is adult fantasy and an incredible book. Of course, I'm *most* excited about the release of my own two new books, Dreamdark: Silksinger (middle-grade), and Lips Touch (YA).
Why do you blog about teen books?
My blog isn't specifically a book blog; I blog about writing and art and life, but I like to take the opportunity to try to win over readers to YA who might not already be reading it. I only really found my own voice as a writer after I let go of my college-workshop expectations about "adult literary fiction" and embraced the kinds of books I really love, which are mostly fantasy, and quite often YA. When a fantasy or YA title hits big, like Harry Potter or Twilight, it excites me that people might dip into those sections at the bookstore or library and discover most wonderful books. Sadly, in my experience, too many readers don't do that -- they reread Harry Potter and Twilight instead!! It's really frustrating. 
If you were a Cybils judge, which category would you like to judge?
I think our category is the best -- I don't know if I'd want to judge any other categories!
Where is your favorite place to read?
I don't have a magical reading nook, though some time in my life I shall create one. A tower room with a comfy daybed covered in patchwork quilts, maybe. Or a perfect armchair on a porch facing the sea. A drifting rowboat in a small lake. A witch's cottage in the woods.
Having read so many science fiction and fantasy books, do you have any suggestions for authors in those genres?
The books that stand out when I think about what I want to read AGAIN are the ones set in unique, fully imagined fantasy worlds: D.M. Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo series (I LOVED Lamplighter) and James Kennedy's The Order of Odd-Fish, which I'm sad did not make the short-list. A lot of fantasy worlds are so "been there, read that," and I love to discover a writer who brings something new to the table. When you read a lot of genre books at a time, so many of them melt together and don't stand out. 
Thanks so much for answering my questions, Laini.  And congratulations!!


  1. Just wanted to tell you: I think these panelist reviews are really awesome. Thanks for posting them.


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