Spark a Reaction YA Author Panel

 John Corey Whaley

 Sherry Thomas

 Veronica Rossi

 Lisa M. Stasse

 Julie Murphy

Last night I had the privilege of meeting some amazing authors at the Central Irving Public Library. The room was nearly filled with many YA lovers that came to listen to these inspiring authors! Moderator Mary H. asked some amazing questions! The responses given had everyone laughing, creating a fun, entertaining, engaging experience. I took what notes I could so that I could share with all of you!

Mary’s first question of the night had all the authors thinking!

Were there any characters that surprised you from what you originally had planned?

Corey gave a comical response while the other authors pondered the thought.

Sherry replied: We don’t know where we are till we get there. 

She went into further detail explaining how some authors map out their stories, and others just dive into the writing, that they expect the unexpected. Sherry Thomas then went into detail about how one of her characters from The Burning Sky did in fact surprise her. He had a dark side she didn’t expect to see in him. This character has an interesting run in with the main girl that pretty much results in him thinking shes a “b****” and holds her hostage.

Corey’s response to Sherry’s:You’re talking about my life story!

Sherry said: So you’re a prince that turns into a toad?

Corey:No, I’m the b****

Of course everyone was laughing  by this point!

Veronica Rossi’s reply to the question was: Life is unexpected and fiction should be too.

Mary H. then asked each author to describe something about their books.

Veronica said she created a world based off how the water rippled in pools when you swim down to the bottom and look up. She likes to paint images while she writes, and this image of the ripples gave her the idea for Aether Storms which are used in the Under the Never Sky trilogy.

Sherry’s response to the question was: My book is basically Harry Potter with cross dressing. 

Sherry then further explained that in The Burning Sky her main character is a girl with magic pretending to be a boy in an all boys school that has no magic because she’s trying to hide from someone. (The Burning Sky sounds amazing by the way!)

Mary asked the authors what their best response from a reader was:

Corey told a story about an older lady at a book club that didn’t like something in his book and that everyone else at the book club spent the rest of the time trying to convince her to like it. At the end of the meeting the old lady hugged him, but still refused to change her mind!

Veronica Rossi joked about how a reader once said if Veronica killed off a main character from a book that she would kill Veronica Rossi. Veronica laughed about it! She then talked about how her favorite responses are when readers share her books with loved ones and that it gives the readers something they connect with and bond over. She gave an example of a husband and wife, and another of a grandma that shared the trilogy with her daughter and granddaughter. Veronica loves it when books bring loved ones together.

Lisa M. Stasse said her favorite response was from her editor whom told her that she was missing a character in her original draft and Lisa said it was the most brilliant idea ever.

Mary H. asked: Do you laugh and cry at your own writing?

All the authors responded yes on that one. But that their goals are to make readers cry more than they do. (Might I just add in a HA there!)

Mary H. asked: What is the weirdest, coolest, strangest thing you’ve googled?

Veronica Rossi replied: throwing up while gagging.

Julie Murphy said: Dali Parton’s bra size.

Sherry Thomas didn’t reply to the question and I didn’t get to write down Corey’s answer but I’m sure his was hilarious since most of his answers were.

Mary H: What’s your advice for other YA male authors that don’t feel like they fit in the YA scene?

Corey made a few jokes and then said “get over it.” Which everyone in the audience laughed.

Sherry said: “a little ignorance is a blessing.” In referring to the facts concerning writing in the YA scene. Sometimes it’s best just not knowing and to just write and forget about the statistics.

Corey said: “just do it.” Then went into detail about how a writer shouldn’t worry about stereotypes. He also said the best thing to do is to just write and “find your voice.”

Mary H. asked: Where do you find the most inspiration for your stories?

Sherry immediately replied: the parking lot at Costco.

Everyone laughed including Sherry.Sherry then said she was actually serious. She was walking out of Costco when a line just formed in her head as she was walking to her car.”On the night I was born stars fell.”  Was the line that came to her, and from that line she created The Burning Sky. (So cool!!!)

Veronica Rossi said that for her it was personal experiences. She was born in Brazil and moved to the US. She said she felt like a fish out of water. She put that part of herself into Under the Never Sky.

Both Lisa and Julie agreed with Rossi saying that their first books are sort of collections of their experiences up to that point. Their first books are parts of themselves.

Corey talked about how his books are based off of his personal issues, such as having anxiety. Corey then said his books were “my own little therapy sessions.

Mary then asked the audience if they had any questions and many people asked some great questions, but unfortunately I didn’t get them written down! Mary then began a lightening round, which was sort of like a fill in the blank! This was a very funny, but maybe a little strange part of the panel. Here we got to learn weird facts about the authors which included favorite superheros. Corey went into details explaining why Spiderman was the best. Another weird fact we got to learn was which actor or actress they would want to play them in a documentary. Many answers were great, but I honestly can only remember Corey’s whom said it should be Matt Damon. The Spark a Reaction YA Author Panel was so awesome! After the questions we got to line up for book signings! I talked to each author, but only got my books signed with Sherry Thomas (which I haven’t read The Burning Sky yet but it sounds AWESOME), Lisa M. Stasse (which I have an AWESOME giveaway planned for) and Veronica Rossi, whom I’ve met before and was so excited to see again! She even remembered me from the last time I saw her! So sweet!

Here’s the group:



Here’s Lisa M. Stasse:


Here’s me and Veronica Rossi:


I thoroughly enjoyed this panel! It was so much fun! These authors were amazing and just so awesome! I completely turned into a fan girl for Veronica Rossi even though I’ve met her before! She was so wonderful to talk to! I also spoke with Sherry Thomas and Lisa M. Stasse, both of which are  such nice authors! I did meet John Corey Whaley and Julie Murphy as well, both of which have very interesting books! In the next few weeks we will have some awesome giveaway goodies that I got from the YA panel! So you will have to check back soon! In the mean time check out the author’s websites listed below (just click on their name and it will redirect!) and add their books to your goodreads (just click on the name of the book!)

Noggin by John Corey Whaley
The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
Under the Never SkyThrough the Ever Night, and Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi
The Forsaken, The Uprising, and The Defiant by Lisa M. Stasse
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

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