"Dedicated to the fine art of browsing," the Brookline Booksmith is a great store for new and used books, and book related gifts. And we did spend quite a bit of time browsing! Too bad this store is a little out of the way for me to visit frequently.
Jodi Meadows really was fantastic. She talked about her road to publication and answered a lot of questions (see below for my notes on her discussion). After meeting her, I could see why Ana and Sam both have such strong but gentle dispositions.
Not only did Jodi Meadows come to the Asunder launch, but Sam and Ana and a dragon were there, all knitted by the author. I like how Ana has placed herself closest to the dragon, because we all know how Sam feels about them. But sweet Sam is trying to pull her back. What a great couple they are!
For asking one of the first questions, I received a butterfly the author knitted. (My daughter is holding it here. Notice that her skirt also has butterflies on it.)
Ms. Meadows is another author who is an artist as well as a writer. Along with knitting Incarnate themed items, she drew pictures in the books she signed. The inscription says, "You are more than just a butterfly."
Notes from Jodi Meadows' talk*:
- Jodi Meadows started writing her first book in 2003. But it wasn't until many years and hundreds of rejections later that she began Incarnate.
- Meadows said that the stacks of rejections that she received over the years helped to prepare her for the range of responses to Incarnate. Because "readers can be scary." (I totally agree with that!)
- All of Meadows' previous book attempts were written organically, the story developing as she wrote them. But with Incarnate she wrote synopses on characters and world building before she started the book.
- Although Meadows had been holding onto the idea for Incarnate - a young soul in a world where everyone else was thousands of years old - for years, she always told herself that it was "too hard" to write. But after being rejected so much for other projects, and giving up on being a published author, she began to write the story for herself. It was a freeing experience to write without the pressure of publication. (Thankfully for us, she eventually decided to try and publish the book.)
- Incarnate was always planned as a trilogy, and the hardest book of the series to write was the third one.
ON THE INCARNATE TRILOGY
- When asked about how she came up with all the gender neutral names: In her original draft of Incarnate, Meadows had used what she called a "cutesy naming system" for all of her characters. They'd have the same names in each lifetime but the spelling would change based on their gender. So Ana was originally called Erin, but that would change to Aaron, depending on whether she was a male or female at the time. Meadows nixed this when her editor said "this is kind of dumb." (We all laughed at this part.)
- She was asked about the importance of music in her life, because it is integral to both Sam and Ana: Meadows said she used to play the flute and struggled with wanting to be good at it, but also realized that there would always be better players. Ana also came to the realization that she could never be as good as Sam who has 5,000 years of experience on her. Meadows used to dance as well, and music is the key to movement and choreography. I could definitely sense these themes in the series.
- Meadows' favorite character besides Sam and Ana is Stef, because she's "sassy."
- When asked about the audiobook: Meadows said she didn't have much input in who was chosen. She also hasn't listened to the whole book, because it was strange to hear someone else read it aloud. But she liked the portions that she heard, including the voices the reader did for the characters (like sassy Stef).
- When asked about the fact that souls can be reincarnated as either gender: Meadows said that she likes the idea that "love can transcend gender." She also has had generally positive responses to this aspect of the book.
- I asked Meadows her opinion on love triangles (Are you surprised?): She said she thinks they're hard to pull off. She always roots for the "good guy," and "just wants the girl to be happy" in the end. She mentioned Jeri Smith-Ready's Shade series as triangle that works, which also has great music themes. (I agree!)
- Meadows was asked about her current favorite books and authors: She said she likes fantasy. A few of her favorite recent reads:
- Taken by Erin Bowman
- Defiance by CJ Redwine
- Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
- Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
- Reading Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn, was the first time that Meadows realized that she could write for a job. Then she went and wrote a story that sounded suspiciously like that book. Thankfully, Jodi Meadows is all grown up and has her own fantastic ideas now!
After Meadows' talk, we had a yummy rainbow cake to eat! I didn't catch the name of the very talented baker, but it was tasty.
I just finished reading Asunder, and enjoyed it as much as (and maybe more than) Incarnate. It is a lovely sequel. See my thoughts HERE.
*I apologize in advance for any inaccurate information. I took notes during the question/answer period, but it is always possible that I misheard a piece of information.