YASquad2016 Wrap Up

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Now that I’ve had the chance to pick myself off the floor from where I collapsed, elated but exhausted, I’ve dragged myself to my keyboard so I can write a wrap-up of the extravaganza that was YASquad2016.

I’m not sure I have the words to describe how amazing it was. Words like ‘epic’, ‘awesome’ and ‘fantabuloso’ don’t really cover the half of it – especially because I made that last one up (I’m quite pleased with it though – I’m hoping it catches on).

We flew to Brisbane on Thursday where we kicked off proceedings by heading to the gorgeous Riverbend Books for a special teacher and librarian event. Heading into the shop we stumbled upon the most glorious of glorious sights – our four books in a window display. But we didn’t have time to stare adoringly at our babies – it was straight into mingling and psyching ourselves up for our first event.

To say I was a little nervous would be like saying the Pacific Ocean is a little bit of water. But the attending teachers and librarians were so lovely that I quickly managed to squash my nerves and formally introduce the world to Frankie. After the four of us answered questions we signed books, chatted to the teachers and librarians, and shoveled the most amazing brownies into our gobs. Needless to say it was a fun night.

The next day started with an interview by the always-gorgeous Rhianna Patrick for ABC. Rhianna and I have bonded on Twitter over our shared love of nineties’ music so it was great to finally meet her in real life and have a bit of a giggle.

And then this happened.

friends

Anyway, moving on …

We were then whisked around Brisbane meeting some lovely bookshop owners before it finally became time for the first official YASquad2016 event held at Brisbane Library.

The venue was fantabuloso – just the right size and filled with a lovely crowd of enthusiastic YA fanatics. I guess I could recap the fascinating things that were discussed by the four of us but I think the most important thing to talk about is that I, along with my quiz buddy Meleika (and a few secret helpers from the audience) won the quiz.

The best part was when we got to talk one-on-one with the audience over at the signing table. I got to meet some familiar faces from online and deface quite a few copies of Frankie with my terrible handwriting and illegible signature. Sorry about that.

The Brisbane crowd was so warm and enthusiastic that I was slightly worried we’d peaked too soon. I was incredibly sad to leave the following morning but we had to keep our crazy roadshow going because Sydney was waiting.

After being serenaded by Will on the plane (I’m a nervous flyer and apparently his rapping Missy Elliot keeps me calm – who’d have thunk it) we landed in Sydney where we had a quick change of clothes before heading out to Marrickville Town Hall for the next event.

The gang from the ABC Book Club show was there to film some segments with us before the start of the event. The event itself was as fantabuloso as expected. Over a hundred super-cool YA fanatics asked brilliant questions, laughed at our stupid jokes and patiently lined up for a chat and signature on our books (again, apologies for the illegible handwriting – I should have been a doctor). There might have been a quiz but because I didn’t win it I’m not going to talk about it. I met some of my fav online peeps at this event as well as a heap of newbies. It was over all too quickly and, after a lovely ‘family’ meal, it was back to the hotel to crash. Literally.

exhausted_sydney

We were getting pretty tired by this stage so I really didn’t appreciate it when I was woken at 3am by a fire alarm (false alarm thankfully). Gah!

The next morning we jetted out of Sydney and, after some more serenading from Will, we landed safely in Melbourne. We had a lovely lunch with the owners of Dymocks Camberwell before the final event kicked off.

This one was pretty special for me as it was my home crowd and, sadly, the final event. Again the turnout was brilliant (including a number of people who surprised me by turning up and made me cry). It was such a fun afternoon, made all the more sweeter by my triumph in the quiz. I of course had a lot of help from my quiz buddy, Julia. I fought Kylie Fornasier hard to get Julia onto my team and it was worth it because she killed it!

And then this happened.

breakfast club

Sadly that was the end of a whirlwind four days. I met so many awesome YA readers, farewelled the brilliant and irreplaceable Felicity Vallence (she is Penguin Teen Australia and always will be) and had an absolute blast mucking around with my YASquad buddies, Megan, Kylie and Will.

Melbourne

Thank you so much to everyone who turned up, bought our books and made the events what they were. Even though I was exhausted by the end of it I really didn’t want it to end.

Hopefully we get to do it all again very, very soon …