BookCon 2017: Q&A with V.E. Schwab, Susan Dennard and Cora Carmack

with 1 Comment

Fictionist got to sit down with a few of the wonderful authors at BookCon 2017! See what they had to say below:

Victoria/V.E. Schwab:

Are you doing anything for yourself at BookCon, or are you mostly here for your fans?

Mostly my BookCon consists of doing interviews, panels and signings. But that’s for me as well. I love this part of the job, I love getting to engage with fans — readers, I call them, fans always sounds really weird — for me, it is the highlight of the job.

Do you get recognized “in the wild” a lot?

Well, I just got here 10 minutes ago, but as I was walking to the booth I did see several people do the (*gasp*) and sort of chitter among themselves. I’m recognizable in that I wear all black and have red hair and black glasses, and I never change my aesthetic specifically so that people can recognize me. But I never go into these things expecting to be recognized; that seems like a weird take. Outside of these cons, authors get to be fairly anonymous. Usually, you don’t recognize authors outside of cons.

Have you gotten anything really interesting from fans at these signings?

I get lots of gifts. I try to ask people to keep them small because I usually travel with just a carry-on, but I get a lot of art. I have a mug that I cherish that was hand-crafted with the hands from A Gathering of Shadows. Not many strange things, thankfully — people usually bring me chocolate, tea or fanart.

Do you have a convention pet-peeve?

When people stop walking in the middle of an aisle. These (convention) things are fairly crowded and you need to maintain some flow, and when people stop in the middle of a space where they should be walking it congests back like 20-30 feet.

Do signings ever seem daunting?

Of course. I’m very introverted, and I can pretend to be extroverted for a short period of time, but it’s terrifying. As someone who has anxiety, it can feel like a lot of pressure, and I don’t want to let them down. But it’s a good kind of pressure, it’s a good problem to have. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

Susan Dennard:

Are you doing anything for yourself at BookCon, or are you mostly here for your fans?

Today I’m here, and I’m back-to-back. I was hoping to do things as a fan, but today I’m booked to the end. Tomorrow I might have time — I really wanted to see Bill Nye the Science Guy, but it’s at the same time as another panel. Oh, well. Bill Nye the Science Guy, one day I will meet you.

Do you get recognized “in the wild” a lot?

Oh, my gosh, I just got a cool gift today — this girl gave me this really cool picture of Aeduan from Truthwitch, and when you slide it the picture changes. It’s super cool. People bring the coolest stuff. A lot of people know I’m gluten intolerant so they bring me gluten free cookies, which is awesome and I’m not going to argue with that tradition. I’ve learned to always leave space in my suitcase when I travel, because people will bring cool stuff — and I’m not going to leave it! [To the voice recorder] You can’t see me, but I’m smiling like an idiot. Because it’s one of the highlights of the job! To know that you impacted someone enough that they not only read your book, come meet you, but make your something. That’s such an honor.

Have you gotten anything really interesting from fans at these signings?

Yes, it surprises me still. Here, people recognize me. But I’ve had it happen twice randomly. I was at an airport and someone came up to me and was like “are you Susan Dennard?” and I was with my sister, so I felt super cool. It was the first time my sister had seen me be author, so I looked super famous. Then it happened again — actually, it was twice in airports, so it’s been three times — but it happened when I was in Texas at the University of Texas and I was just going in to find a bathroom, and someone passed me in a stairwell and was like “are you Susan Dennard?” and I was like, “this is glorious!” But also terrifying. Because, like, was I scratching something awkwardly? Did I look like an idiot? What am I wearing right now?

Do you have a convention pet-peeve?

I’m a people-pleaser, so I want to stop for everyone, but if I’m going somewhere and people stop me I have to say no. I wish people would understand that authors at conventions can’t stop and chat. And it happens to all of us, and it’s not a nice feeling when we have to be a bad guy like that, because of course we want to stop and sign your book and chat with you. Fortunately, I’m in a wheelchair right now, so no one even sees me. I’m below eye level.

Do signings ever seem daunting?

I don’t really get daunted, I do get stressed — I’m a talker, if you can’t tell. I’m a chatty Kathy. So I have a really bad habit of talking to everyone who comes up and getting caught up in, ‘oh, you like that too? Let’s talk about our fandoms!’ And then they’re like, ‘Susan, you still have 100 people to sign in 20 minutes.’

Cora Carmack:

Are you doing anything for yourself at BookCon, or are you mostly here for your fans?

I actually split my time between Texas and here, in New York. So, really, I’m just here. I have a bunch of stuff (to do) today but I don’t have anything tomorrow. So I’m probably going to catch up with friends tomorrow — I actually turn 30 tomorrow. I’m still a little bit in denial. I’m going to have to change my bio — because for my adult stuff, my bio was “A 20-something author who likes to write about 20-something characters.” I actually forgot about that until right now — I really have to change that.

Do you get recognized “in the wild” a lot?

Sometimes. Not very often because books are such a different thing. When it happens the most is when I’m in a certain city for a signing and people see me out and about. I was just in Europe for some signings there, and I had one in Paris. My friend Jay and I were just walking around, and we had two girls stop us on the street. They spoke almost no English, but they were like “Jay? Cora? Jay? Cora?” Only once or twice have I been recognized out in a normal place.

Have you gotten anything really interesting from fans at these signings?

Oh, for sure. My roommate calls it ‘tribute.’ I get home from a signing and she’s like, ‘Okay, get out the tribute, what did you get today?’ Sometimes it’s just, like, candy and chocolates from around the world — probably the best thing I ever got was when I was in Melbourne, Australia. I post about my cat on Instagram a lot, and a fan brought me a whole basket of cutesie Australia stuff — a koala bear, a kangaroo pin — but it also had cat toys. One of them was a jellyfish, so I took it home and played with my cat with it, and I was like ‘You got this from Australia from a nice person!’

[Editor’s Note: I’m sure Cora would have loved to answer the remaining two questions, but we got distracted and then the interview ended. Do look forward to a full-length Fictionist Q&A with Cora, coming soon!]

One Response

  1. john Moore
    | Reply

    Interesting to know about new authors. Good interviews, thanks.

Share some choice words with us.