I have never been fortunate enough to go to one of the big book conventions in the UK or US. I have been to the Boekenbeurs in Belgium before, but that was years ago as well. So there are so many of my favorite authors I have never had the chance to meet. I’ve been dreaming about it though. Which authors would attend? Who would I love to meet? So here is what my dream conference and panel would look like -only related to books, obviously.
ADULT FANTASY CONFERENCE
Obviously, my favorite panels all fall within the fantasy category. You all know that’s what I love to read most. So I’ve created two different ones, an adult fantasy one, and a YA fantasy one!
So which authors would I love to hear from, on their adult fantasy books?
- Brandon Sanderson. I’m sorry, but this person is amazing. I just finished the Mistborn trilogy, and I’ve read Warbreaker too. He needs to talk about world-building! How do you include so much, without making it feel like an info-dump or difficult to understand? His worlds are so vast and creative, yet they always feel quite easy to follow. It’s an art.
- Anne Bishop. It’s no secret that her The Others series is one of my favorite series. I think she could bring a lot to the table with regards to urban fantasy and epic fantasy. Her series plays out in a completely different world, yet is similar to ours in many ways. So it’s kind of a mashup of urban and epic? I want to hear her talk about how to achieve that: the mix of something entirely epic and new with something so familiar to us. And characters! I want to hear her talk on the importance of having well-developed side characters too.
- Michael J. Sullivan. If I’m not mistaken, he struggled a lot with having a small publisher with debts in the beginning, then bought back the rights to the Riyria Revelations and continued to self-publish them. Now, they are published by Orbit. I’d love to hear him talk not only about creating his amazing characters and series, but that process too.
- Rachel Aaron/Bach. I love her books so much. Like Michael J. Sullivan, she self-publishes one of her series. I want to hear her talk about that! What are the most difficult aspects? Why did she choose to do so? How is it different from writing The Legend of Eli Monpress which is published by Orbit. I want to hear her talk about that, but also about this: the three series she has written are in three different(ish) genres. She has one epic fantasy series, one urban fantasy and one space opera. I want to hear her talk about the differences, what her favorite genre to write is, etc.
- Scott Lynch. I can’t leave this one off the list. I love his series, Gentleman Bastard, so much! I want to hear Scott Lynch talk about his characters, their friendships and bonds. But I also want to hear him talk about how he creates these elaborate schemes Locke creates. How does he do it?
- N.K. Jemisin. I’ve read 2 of her Inheritance books, and I loved them. I want to hear her talk about world-building too, about creating religions and gods. On breaking through in a genre that’s too male-dominated, still.
I could create an endless list of adult fantasy authors I want to hear speak. I want to hear all the above authors talk about the aspects I mentioned, and then I want them all to have a discussion on character development, world building, the fantasy-industry, etc.
If I could add endless authors to this list, I’d also add Patrick Rothfuss and Robin Hobb. And if I could raise people from the dead, add J.R.R. Tolkien to that. I would not invite George R.R. Martin BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO BE WRITING, OKAY?
YA FANTASY CONFERENCE
Yes, I would split these up. And have them on different days. Then I could hear all the talks, one after the other. I’m selfish.
- J.K. Rowling. No need to explain here, I think. She’s my idol.
- Leigh Bardugo. I mean, hello. I have adored both her Grisha trilogy, and her Six of Crows duology. So I want to hear her talk about creating worlds, and how the different countries affect each other. On different cultures in fantasy worlds. On knowing your character, and following the journey that’s right for them.
- Elise Kova. I love her new book, The Alchemists of Loom. I also really enjoyed her book, Air Awakens. I just want to hear her talk about them. On creating those characters that just seem so real. On creating great worlds, but making them easy to understand.
- Christopher Paolini. The Eragon series is one of my absolute favorites. I actually want to hear him talk on writing at such a young age, being published then, improving your writing, etc. Also, I want to hear him talk about his plans for a 5th book one day.
- Juliet Marillier. I have loved her books for absolute years. She’s a staple fantasy author, yet often overlooked too. I want to hear her talk about writing fantasy with influences from different cultures -I mean aside from medieval Europe. I want to hear her talk on including her Celtic-Gaelic roots in her books.
- Sarah J. Maas. I haven’t read Empire of Storms, but I do want to hear her talk about the Throne of Glass series. I know that there is a lot of controversy around her at times, but I can’t deny I’ve enjoyed the series up to this point.
- V.E. Schwab. I love her. I need to hear her talk about EVERYTHING related to her books and writing.
I would invite so many other people, if I could create a long list. But these are the authors I really want to meet, and hear talk about their works, characters and writing fantasy.
I’ve also noticed that a lot of the adult fantasy authors I love are male, and most of the YA fantasy authors I love are female??
If you’d like to see whether there are any conferences near you, or you want to host one, you can take a look at this Eventbrite page. It’s the largest self-service ticketing platform in the world that helps people find and plan events and conferences.
P.S. No, I didn’t get paid or otherwise compensated for this post.