Living in New Zealand means I don't get to go to writer's conferences very often. Or even normal conferences around my favourite genres. When I saw one was going to be only two hour drive away I knew I had to go, even if it was only for a day. There are many reasons that I could only do the one day, pets being the top of the list. But there are some benefits for the one day trip which was that I could take some of my students with me.
Let me give you some background on my students. I teacher at a high school that believes that learning in a real world context will lead to better learning. In practical terms this means we have for almost four years run a whole day writer's class. Where students can write their own fiction to the aim that it will be published in one form or another. This particular lot are the urban fantasy kind of students so when the science fiction and fantasy themed con came up it was a good fit for our writers.
So we left early in the morning. Watched the sun weakly try to peer through the rain clouds but we arrived with ten minutes to spare before the first workshop. High Fantasy and steampunk were part of the panels. I got to sit on one of the panels for YA. Which I find a little ironic. Okay, my books really do fit YA really well. Vocab that kids can understand, a fast pace and not too many words. So YA love my book. Some times to their own surprise. I say this because that seems to be the expression in the student's voice when they come up to me and say, "Hey, Miss I'm reading your book and it is really good." I'm not sure if they are surprised because they didn't expect their own teacher to write a book or if they are surprised that they like it.
I got to talk about Alanna: First Adventure. That book really did change my life. Tamora Pierce was the first author I read in New Zealand when I landed as a young teenager. I'd never read a book with a female hero that was my age who wanted to be something that others said she couldn't be. On the panel we also got to talk about the future of YA and that the next big thing might surprise us all. Though apparently agents are willing to take Vampire books again. But please don't make them sparkly.
The thing that enticed my students the most was the RPG table top game. Apparently this means I now have to be the DM at school.