Sara Zarr talked about how her first published novel, Story Of A Girl, was her fourth manuscript (that's what happened to me too). She said she kept going despite "failing, failing, and failing because I wanted it so much." Every year she'd think that this would be the year and that kept her going through the hard times.
Paul Genesse, who works as a cardiac intensive care nurse, spent eight years working on his writing before he got published. He attended conferences and networked with editors, which he believes helped him get published (I've made great connections at conferences too).
Bobbie Pyron works as a librarian so having her own book on the shelves is particularly thrilling. Yet having a book published hasn't eliminated moments of doubt, frustration, or low self-esteem (I know how she feels).
Sara Zarr agreed that even having a debut novel that received a National Book Award nomination hasn't made writing the subsequent novels any easier.
Paul Genesse and Bobbie Pyron said that connecting with readers and fans is the best part of publishing (I agree!).
Next the panelists talked about some of their favorite books. I always enjoying hearing what my favorite authors like to read, plus I'm always looking for good books to add to my own reading list. Here are a few books they mentioned:
Bobbie Pyron loves Lizzie Bright and The Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, The Absolutely Ture Dairy Of A Par-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli.
Paul Genesse loves The Lord Of The Rings Triology by JRR Tolkien, A Game of Thrones by George Martin, and Dune by Frank Herbert.
Sara Zarr loves The Geography Of Girlhood by Kirsten Smith, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart, and Sorta Like A Rockstar by Matthew Quick (it will be released in May, 2010).
For aspiring writers, they all recommended Stephen King's book On Writing. Listening to these funny, intelligent, and generous authors was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday afternoon.