Guess what I did this weekend. Yup, I attended the second YallWest Festival in Santa Monica and it was such a fun time!
Much like last year, I only got to go for one day. This time it was Sunday. So, of course, I can’t speak for how amazing Saturday was, but I’m sure it was a jolly good time.
I was a little bummed to find out I could only go one day but it was more than alright when I actually go to the event. This year was bigger and better, honestly. There were so many more booths of awesome brands and book related companies and publishers giving out freebies and lovely information.
Not just that, though. There were some truly spectacular panels going on as well. Last year I sought out to make more time for panels and I’m so very glad that I did.
Once I got there, I was little confused as to where everything was. The layout was different from the previous year but of course, lovely volunteers were passing out panel/signing schedules that had a map on the back. I found the signing area and met up with my wonderful blogger friend, Kevin.
This year, they were doing something different with the line system. There was one big line for the general time slot that everyone had to wait in. From there, volunteers split the general line into smaller lines for each author. Some authors had wristbanded lines as well. I don’t really know how one would go about getting wristbands for their lines though. At first, I was a little put off by this process but I think it worked out fairly well. Last year, this side of campus was under construction and their new additions were gorgeous and spacious to say the least.
The first author I met Sunday was Matt de la Pena. I’m not going to lie, I’ve never read one of his novels but I truly fell in love with his writing style after reading My True Love Gave to Me and that’s what I had him sign. I was outrageously nervous but he was so kind and sweet! I was being strategic with my signings this time around and really just wanted to attack a few authors and focus on panels instead. So after Matt de la Pena, I didn’t have anyone else for the hour. I went strolling around and got a few arcs and waltz into another signing area on accident!
There was a tent set up that had various panels and food events as well as a Safe Spaces gathering. You may be asking what that is but it was pretty much a place for LGBTQ patrons to gather together and snack. This was all hosted by David Levithan. Boy, isn’t that just the coolest thing ever? It made me so outrageously proud to be 1. at this event and 2. part of such a lovely and welcoming community. But I digress. This tent had other authors signing at random times and they would just stroll in whenever they wanted. So hanging out here, was definitely a way to randomly hang out with your favorite authors while eating cookies. So awesome.
After that, I was planning on getting my Castor Chronicles books signed by the lovely Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia. The line was longish but went by quickly. They were both so nice and welcoming. Also, super hilarious. Kami Garcia actually asked me if I wanted a picture and well, of course I did, I was just too nervous to ask haha I handed the camera to my boyfriend and we had a funny little exchange.
KG: oh, one of the volunteers could’ve taken the picture for us
Me: yeah, but that’s what boyfriend’s are for
KG: I thought they were for lugging around the heavy tote of books
Me: oh trust me, he’s doing that too
and as we got into position for our picture, she handed me book 1 and said “here, you hold it so it looks like you wrote the book”. It was one of my favorite author interactions ever.
After this we decided to hit up some panels. We stumbled into Creative Life & Writing Advice moderated by Sara Zarr, with Jennifer Bosworth, Debra Driza, Michelle Gagnon,
Tamara Ireland Stone. They were so funny and shared some very sound advice. I’m so very glad I got to hear them talk about the writing process as well as some of the negative thoughts that come with it. I’m not going to lie, I would have passed right by the Tent in search for food but my boyfriend stopped mid-trek and said we should stay to listen since we’re both writers.
After this panel, we decided to head to a comic book panel. I was super excited. Comics were very underrepresented during the first YallWest and I’m beyond happy that they were a huge part of this year’s event. There was a panel and author signings nearly every hour of the event.
It was such a funny and insightful panel. I’ve been a comic book fan for years, which I’m sure you know if you’ve read my posts, and this panel had a lot of useful information on the process of writing and even character design. I also have a new author crush on Ryan North. -swooooon-. After this panel, I headed to the last author I desperately wanted to meet, Jenny Han. She was so sweet and adorable. I fell in love with Jenny Han’s work after reading To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and have been wanting to meet her for ages! I had the chance at last years Festival of Books but I had a family thing the same day so I missed out. There was no way I was missing out this time around and I’m so glad I met her. ❤
I was pretty beat after this, so I stopped by Boba Lab and got some yummy boba and was set to head on home. I seriously can’t wait for next year. Next year, I’m definitely going to try to go multiple days because it is too much fun. The panels were seriously my favorite part. I’ve gotten a taste for them and I need more!