Hi everyone! A few days ago I was invited by Eventbrite to join in on a fun project of sharing my dream book panel. Eventbrite is the world's largest self-service ticketing platform, which organizers use to plan conferences, promote and sell tickets to events of all sizes. I actually used Eventbrite last year when I went to the San Francisco Golden Gate Author Event and I can certify that this awesome company is the place to go to look for other bookish events near you! ;)
I had never really stopped to consider who would be in my dream book panel before Eventbrite's invitation considering that I have never really attended a panel (the book signing I went to was only that, a signing), but it certainly proved to be such a cool thing to pull together and now I cannot stop thinking how this panel is one thing I would absolutely LOVE to have happen one day!
And since I live in Mexico and my chances of attending lots of panels are kind of slim, I spent A LOT of time devising who would be in my dream panel (one that I would do my very best to attend to) and what it would be about. The result panel:
A Quiet Kind of Kick Ass (in YA Fantasy)
I'm a huge fan of kick-ass heroines and heroes in YA (specially Fantasy). I love how they are able to bring down entire nations/kingdoms with their superb skills with weapons that they are born with or acquire throughout their journey, but here's a secret: I am a HUGE fan of the silent type of heroes and heroines. The ones that are not usually in the spotlight but that do make a huge impact in their stories. The ones rarely recognized but are crucial to the success of the typical kick-ass heroine or hero. The ones that act through their voice and smart actions, instead of wielding a sword (or any other physical movement).
So if I had the chance to attend a panel, I would love to listen to a few of my favorite authors discuss their characters who fit into the "quiet" kind of kick-ass category.
Who would be in this panel and why?
Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner's Curse Trilogy
I think that Marie would be a great choice to have in this panel since her trilogy has a great example of the quiet kind of heroine (well, at least considering the first book). Marie's main character, Kestrel, is one that prefers to use her mind instead of the weapons she is expected to use in fights. She is quick-witted and manages to manipulate her surroundings in order to achieve what she needs, without actually fighting her way out of it. Of all the YA fantasy books that I have read, I don't recall another one that has a main character (in the main series) who falls under this category, so it would be excellent to have Marie's input.
Danielle L. Jensen, author of The Malediction Trilogy
Not only is Danielle L. Jensen my favorite author ever and I would love to finally meet her, but I know that she is perfect to talk about the quiet kind of heroines (or heroes) since Penelope, one of the main characters from her upcoming prequel to the Malediction Trilogy, The Broken Ones, is actually the inspiration behind this panel. We only get to truly meet Penelope in this prequel novel and I am in awe of how amazing and underrated she is. In the original series she is merely a ghost and painful memory to one of the characters, but in this prequel novel you get to see how important she is to the success to the plight of the characters in Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress, and Warrior Witch. With that said, her male lead, Marc, is also the quiet type who deserves a lot more of recognition!
Renée Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and The Dawn duology
Renée Ahdieh's characters in this duology are simply amazing, but one that stood out to me is the younger sister of the main character--Irsa. She might be young and not be battle-active, but she has a certain grounding presence and maturity about her that even some of the older characters lack. I would love to hear more about her from Renée herself and listen to her thoughts about these type of characters that are elemental to any storyline.
Kiersten White, author of And I Darken
Okay, I might be cheating a bit about my only-fantasy panel by having Kiersten White, but I seriously believe that there is a fine gap between historical/paranormal/fantasy storylines and that the lines need to be blurred just to listen Kiersten White's thoughts about this topic. In her latest book And I Darken, Kiersten White writes the points of view of two characters who fall into the typical battle ready kick-ass kind of character AND the quiet kind of kick-ass--Lada and Radu respectedly. Focusing on Radu in this book he begins as a weak character because he doesn't have any fighting skills, but as he grows, he discovers that he has a powerful power up his sleeve--his charm. He doesn't need to fight and yet he climbs ladders faster than his brutal (and kick-ass) sister. The comparison between Radu and Lada would be pretty amazing and beneficial to appraciate both type of heroes/heroines (if we can call them that). It is also worth mentioning that Kiersten White also wrote another duology with this type of character arc, so she is definitely a pro on the subject!
What Questions Would I Ask?
A few questions I would ask to each author (in no particular order):
- What are some of your favorite "quiet" YA (Fantasy/Paranormal/Historical) heroes/heroines?
- What traits do you make sure to give these characters?
- Are generic kick-ass heroes/heroines easier to write than these "quiet" kind of heroes/heroines?
- Why is it that these type of heroes/heroines (almost) always end up being set aside as secondary characters? (I really wish they didn't!).
- Why are they generally "soft" or begin as soft in contrast to the typical kick-ass character?
- There is also a tendency that these characters hardly make it to the end of the series, why is that? Is their inefficiency to be the action-driven character their fault and reason of not surviving their worlds?
- Why, in your opinion, do we need more of the quiet kind of kick-ass heroes/heroines?
- If stuck in a YA Fantasy/Paranormal world full of politics and war, what personality/category would you fall into?
Who would moderate?
Because this is MY dream panel, then I will certainly imagine myself brave enough to be the moderator. This would be the only way for me to get the answers to all my questions!
Where would it take place?
YALLWEST in Santa Monica, CA. This event would be easier for me to attend as I usually visit California once or twice a year. It's a fun free event with lots of attendees and I'm sure this panel would gather quite a crowd.
And that's it! What do you guys think? Which authors would be in your dream panel? (You are more than welcome to create your own post!)