You spend a lot of time in the con event world. What is your craziest / funniest con story?
I’ve had a lot of strange things happen to me at conventions and festivals, but few beat the absurdity of the very first con I was ever invited to as a creator. In the summer of 2011, I was asked to present at LeakyCon, a Harry Potter convention that was in its second year. I was terrified of it because I’d always been on the other side of things as a fan, and this was a huge deal to me. Because of my nerves AND the sheer outpouring of love and support I got from the panel that I did, I ended up not eating for way longer than I should have, and I made a poor food decision later that same night. I got food poisoning. I then made the utterly terrible decision the next morning to GO TO DISNEY WORLD, where I had a revisit from the Food Poisoning Fairy, but only once I had stood in line for STAR TOURS for nearly two hours. And that is how, at the very first convention I was ever asked to present at, I threw up all over a German tourist on Star Tours.
Anger Is a Gift asks the question, “Who will listen to a bunch of teens?” What is one thing you think anyone of any age can do to make a difference?
One thing I really wanted to drive home with Anger Is A Gift is a notion of trusting one’s instinct. Particularly for kids and teens, we’re taught that we should always default to adults, that they know the world better than us, and we should rely on them to change things. However, I believe that teens have an incredible sense of recognizing injustice, and their instinct can tell them when there’s something wrong with the world. Trust that instinct. Trust that feeling you get when you see something and know that it shouldn’t be that way. It’s great to consult others and unite with allies and our elders, but I wanted to devote a novel to show that kids can change the world, too.
Our festival slogan is “Read Everything.” What one book would you like to see on our official Read Everything list for 2018?
I truly can’t stop talking about this book, but Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callendar is one of the best books of the year. Lyrical, haunting, joyous, and so very, very cathartic to read. There’s nothing like it.