I got to meet and talk with Rosemary Kirstein at Readercon! I love her Steerswoman series. She read from a YA novel she’s working on that’s set in the Steerswoman universe, and I very much want to read that novel now (after books 5 and 6 in the main series, of course). If all goes well, book 5 may be completed in the next 12 months! Unless the writing turns out to be on the wrong track, she said, in which case who knows? But when book 5 is done, she thinks book 6 will be completed the year after that (she thought at first it was going to be book 5, so a good chunk of it is written already). She talked a bit about her process: she knows the first and last line of a book, and then she writes from one to the other. I’m always fascinated to hear about different writing methods. She also brought the hand-drawn and color-coded map of her world, which we all excitedly photographed.
Naomi Novik read from the novel she’s working on now, Spinning Silver, which grew from a short story published in the anthology The Starlit Wood. I very much want to read this novel now, too! She said she’s trying to move more to stand-alone novels rather than long series like Temeraire. I attended some of the panels she was on (she was on a lot of panels, wow), and she’s great at articulating complex ideas. I admire people who are both good writers and good public speakers—not every writer does well in front of crowds.
Nnedi Okorafor was an awesome guest of honor, too, and also great at speaking in front of crowds (she’s a university professor as well as a writer). I’ve read both her Binti novellas, and read Akata Witch right before the convention, and now I want to read everything she’s ever written. Though Who Fears Death sounds like heavy going, so I should probably brace myself for that one.
During one of the panels, someone commented on how cold and ruthless they felt the teachers/adults were towards the children/students in Akata Witch. I don’t think it was any more cold or ruthless than how Dumbledore used Harry Potter, though. And the adults in Akata Witch respect the children enough to tell them what’s going on, not just lead them around blindly. Anyway, I am so happy that Akata Warrior is coming out soon.
I don’t think I’ll attend Readercon every year—my friend and I are talking about going to Wiscon next time we get together—but I’m very glad I had the experience this year.