Sunday, April 11, 2010

IF I STAY by Gayle Forman [Book Signing Report] [Giveaway]

First, I want to apologize to everyone for not being able to get the entire reading on video.  I thought I had plenty of room on my card, but this reading was longer than most (I'm so totally not complaining!) and I didn't end up clearing off the last of my vacay photos off of the card like I thought I had.  Lame, I know.  Check out the video at the bottom of the post though for a glimpse at how incredibly awesome this reading was... I think you'll get all but a minute and a half-ish.  Having the music from the book played alongside the reading is super powerful, and I think you'll enjoy listening.

Gayle probably has a stage presence that rivals that of a poet laureate.  I say this in a great way... her presence doesn't translate on film, and is something that I wish I could share with you in the virtual world.  To hear her read passages of the book that I had just barely read changed the meaning of it for me in ways that words cannot define.  During the Q&A section, we found out that IF I STAY is based on a true story, of a family that Gayle knew personally.  She said that in the paperback version, there is a little bonus section that actually talks about how cathartic the writing process for this book was.  It took her 7 years and 3 months to write the book.  Seven years to process, three months to write.  I think that having her personal knowledge of the impact combined with that stage presence I mentioned earlier made this one of the best signings I've ever attended.

One of the songs toward the end, of Mia's dad's band's origin, was played, and I wondered how she knew what that song had sounded like, or if she had recreated it.  It came up during the Q&A section that this was based on a real family that she knew, and it was actually a song from her hubbie's band, and the nonfictional dad in the inspiration for this novel was a part of that band.  So, it was incredibly appropriate, and when she said this, I almost teared.

There is movie news. Summit acquired the rights to make a movie based on the book, and filming will start in September when there's real snow on the ground.  It will not be directed by Catherine Hardwicke because Warner Brothers swooped in and made sure that she was only working on this one project for them.  In a couple of weeks, the casting for Mia and the new director will be announced, so keep you ears peeled for that.  Also, we found out that in about a year, there will be a sequel called WHERE SHE WENT, and it will be told from Adam's point of view.

When asked about how her history as a journalist plays into how she writes YA, she told us that the time she spent fact-checking applied a lot to her writing.  She's writing something right now where someone has to fly to Japan from New York, and they have to leave at night.  In real life, all of the nonstops leave at 11am from NY, so she had to put them on the flight that stops in Hong Kong with the layover so that she could be accurate.  She said that accuracy is important to her.  I think it shows in her work.

When asked if she got a lot of feedback about the swearing in the novel, she responded with an adamant "Yes!"  That surprised me, as someone who has objected to language in books before, because I felt like the swearing in her novel was proper in a sense that it felt real.  It didn't feel forced, and it didn't feel too frequent.  Gayle said that she does not equate morality with swearing, that you can say the F word and turn around and go work at the soup kitchen (at least that's what they do in her family), and I have to agree.  Swearing doesn't have any reflection on a person's moral fiber to me, and I wonder what you guys think about it?

If there's a stop left on the tour that you can go to, I'd highly suggest that you get there.  Even if you haven't read the book.  Get yourself a copy of the paperback and get your booty to the signing.  You won't regret it.  I only regret not getting a picture with Gayle. I usually ask for a picture with the author, but since I was sorta/maybe/kinda/borderline sick (I had a back up card in my purse) I decided to forgo that little whim in the interest of everyone's health.  Darn.

I drove super carefully on my way home.  Super carefully.  I'm positive it was a reflection of my experience at the reading.

Oh, and guess what?  I picked up a newly-released copy of the paperback and had Gayle sign it for one lucky winner.  Ends on 5/30/10 and is open WORLDWIDE.  Fill in your details below to be entered to win.

CTRL + click this link to open form in a new tab.


Alyssa Kirk @ Teens Read and Write said...

Sounds amazing! Glad you had such a great time!

elizabeth said...

Sounds like you had fun! I have been eyeing this book for a while. I'll have to read it.

angie said...

Thanks for all of your great giveaways!!

misskallie2000 said...

Thanks for the awesome giveaway. I filled out the form to enter. Enjoying your blog.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Ella Press said...

Wow, Summit and another book turned into a movie? I'll have to read this one before I see the movie.

7 years? It'll probably take me as much to finish my WIP.

L.J. Boldyrev said...

I am a mega fan of Gayle's. having gone to a few of her signings, and listened to her readings, I just love the woman. And I LOVE the book! I'm surprised she gets more complaints about the language and not so much about the sexy stuff.

L.J. Boldyrev said...

And if you like IF I STAY, you should check out her other book, SISTERS IN SANITY.

Elie said...

thanks for the giveaway

Giada M said...

Awesome giveaway! Thank you!

katsrus said...

Great contest. Thank you.
Sue B