Sunday November 2nd, Panama Club Amsterdam: after waiting for months it was finally time to meet Kiera Cass. Publishers, authors, readers, bloggers and other fans all came together in Amsterdam to meet the wonderful author and mom of two: Kiera Cass. You probably know her from The Selection series – YA books that’re described as “The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor” which is something I kinda agree on. Kiera thinks so too.
This is what happened during the amazing event!
3 p.m. – “Where the f* am I?”
For those who might know me: I get lost. A lot. I was preparing a present for Kiera during the train ride to Amsterdam, so I hadn’t figured out how to get to club Panama in detail. I knew it was in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam Central Station, but I wasn’t sure where it was exactly. After eating at Subway (halfway there) I finally figured out where Club Panama was so I got there on time.
3.10 p.m. – “You smell good!”
I was just taking of my jacket, getting ready to get back in the queue, when I saw Kiera entering the hall from my right. She looked amazing (see the pictures) and I commented on that. She was all happy, sunny and smiley. I was, of course, too. We chat for half a minute when it was time for her to go the room where the event would take place. When she walked across the room, and passed me by, she was like: “Oh you smell good!” I giggled and said thank you. After that, she disappeared and I hurried into the room.
3.30 p.m. – Meeting the Best of YA Promoteam and Katja
I went into the room, full of people and delicious food, where I saw Katja (www.that blondewoman.com) standing. We met last year during the Lauren Kate event (you can read about that HERE) and have been talking at Facebook ever since. We have met in real life only ONCE. But when we saw each other, we just ran and hugged for like 10 minutes. I was so happy to see her and we were both so excited for today! She’s in the Promoteam so she told me about having lunch with Kiera and about how nice she is. Still fangirling, we went to sit (FRONT ROW!) and waited for the event to begin.
3.something p.m. – Kiera Cass on stage
First of all, Helen Vreeswijk, a famous Dutch author went on stage to talk about her new book. She revealed she was termanilly ill and the room went totally silent for a couple of seconds. Eventhough she knew she wouldn’t have a lot of time left, she radiated strenght and she got a big applause. After that, the musical cast of Boy 7 was announced and interviewed live on stage, which was pretty awesome too. But the thing we’d been waiting for, was still to happen: Kiera Cass. She got on stage after a small break and she was like a sun in the cold weather. And I will try to summarize what she talked about and what the interviewer asked her.
Favorite color… is purple. Or grey. Or purple. Okay purple and grey.
Favorite animal…. is definitely an owl (giggles).
Favorite actor… hihi Robert Pattinson (room agreed).
Favorite music… One Direction, and again, the room laughed.
Fun fact… her kids went to Halloween as Rapunzel and the Ninja Turtles.
Favorite books… The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Book Thief
But how did Kiera become an author? Well, she just started writing after studying History. She knew all along she wanted kids, but being an author was something she wanted to be too. She had some struggles in her life and put them into her books. She thinks her characters are the funniest thing in the world and she likes them a lot. This she all told us in roughly a minute. “I talk a lot,” she commented on herself. We all laughed again. She was super happy and girly sitting on a comfy chair on stage.
How did Kiera come up with The Selection? Well, she wondered “What if” and based it on the story of Esther from the Bible and Cinderella. The casts system (question from the audience) was something that HAD to be included in the story, because otherwise America and Aspen didn’t have the problem of not being able to be together. She thought about it all. Plus, the casts was a good social problem that kinda still exists in some countries. She created America first, after her, the other characters came naturally. She told us she has long conversations with her characters. “I sound like a mental person with all these people in my head,” she said smiling. The Elite was harder to write, because it was slow at first. She had to rewrite it a few times, which was hard on her. America wasn’t exciting enough before rewriting it, was the conclusion of Kiera after explaining the plot of The Elite. But, she said with a high voice, “I have the best editor in the whole world!”. According to her there are so many fingerprints on the books.
– Kiera finally has a real office with an One Direction calender (giggling, again).
– She had to send “The Siren” (self published but soon the be officially published) to at least 80 publishers, but The Selection was accepted right away.
– She loves the comparison of The Hunger Games + The Bachelor with The Selection but thinks that The Hunger Games is much better than The Selection.
– She wanted to write a fairytale but created a Dystopian by accident.
– America is some kind of rolemodel. “She’s not a saint but she’s not terrible,” said Kiera.
– When she needed to write an epilogue, she accidentally created a whole new sequel to The Selection series. She also said she’d rather write one good book than two crappy books, but turns out, there’ll be two good books after all. GO KIERA!
More about The Heir (SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T READ THE ONE YET): There will be a whole new voice that will tell the story. But America’s never far away, Kiera explained us. “She up in here,” pointing at her head. She laughed again because of her own joke. We did too. She was so funny. I can’t say that enough.
Advice for aspiring authors… is to never give up! Always keep going and get a thick skin. It might be hard to get rejected (a few times), but someday there’s be a publisher that wants to take the risk with you. And if you have lost inspiration, talk to you characters. Have conversations with them. “We’re all a little crazy.” And to tease us all a little more, she commented at the end: “SHAKE IT OFF!” Girlpower, I gotta say, suits Kiera well.
After the interview and questions, there came more questions. Looking up background information about place and time is very important, Kiera said. Celeste is her favorite character from The Selection. She hated the tv-show based upon The Selection (it was so horrible it never aired for real). “They fifty-shaded me! It was disgusting!” Kiera screamed while looking like somebody who just found out she stepped into dog poop on the pavement. Funny thing to know about Kiera, her characters aren’t very obedient. “My characters don’t listen to me,” she confessed on stage.
5.15 p.m. – Book signing
And that concluded the interview. Everybody was allowed to let their books get signed. Yikes, there were like 300 screaming, exciting girls (and boys) who wanted that. So I just waited and waited and waited… until it was almost 7.30 p.m. and I was last in line. It was fun to talk to the other sweet readers of The Selection!
7.45 p.m.-ish – My book got signed!
After a while, it was time for me to meet Kiera! Before she had a chance to sign my books, I gave her a present. In contained two baby body suits (pink and blue), for those who have read the announcement of The Heir know what I’m talking about. She started laughing when she saw the first baby suit and screamed out whether I thought she was pregnant. When she found the second baby suit (the pink one), she got it. I sewed an “A” on the blue one and an “E” on the pink one. She was so happy. I also gave her my bussiness card, just in case she wanted to read this (HI KIERA!!!). She signed my books, we got a picture, I wrote down what kind of perfume I was wearing (“You still smell nice”) and we even hugged! It was one of the best days ever!
By the way, we left with a fully filled goodiebag!
Thank you, Best of YA Event!
Thank you, Kiera Cass!
Here are some pictures!