I was super lucky to get to interview Kelly Armstrong and Melissa Marr about the Smart Chicks Kick it Tour. Some great answers here I hope you guys are going to some of the dates. If you are let me know in the comments what venue and signing you will be at!
Melissa Marr grew up believing in faeries, ghosts, and various other creatures. After teaching college literature for a decade, she applied her fascination with folklore to writing. Wicked Lovely was her first novel. Currently, Marr lives in the Washington, D.C., area, writes full-time, and still believes in faeries and ghosts.
I’ve been telling stories since before I could write. My earliest written efforts were disastrous. If asked for a story about girls and dolls, mine would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to my teachers’ dismay. All efforts to make me produce “normal” stories failed. Today, I continue to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in my basement writing dungeon.
Melissa:I had to look at the old email for that one, actually! In August 09
Pam:Where did you get the name for the tour?
during the preliminary planning, I sent an email to Kelley & Alyson in
August that (among other things) says, “We need a name.” Kelley pulled
our ideas together and suggested “Smart Chicks Kick It” and succinctly
summarized that we were focusing on books about “Strong heroines, smart
heroines, capable heroines…real girls with real strengths, not
necessarily out there kicking butt, but able to handle themselves in
Kelley:Yes, I vaguely recall coming up with that one. Also, if I’m right, I
wanted “Smart Chicks Kick Ass” but knew that would pose a small problem
for booksellers putting up event posters!
Pam:How many years have you been going?
Melissa:This is the first Smart Chicks tour. We started planning a year ago;
the tour is in September.
Kelley:Yes, it’s the first. As Melissa said, we did start planning very
early, but that was the only way we could get commitments from so many
authors. We had to make sure they could blackout those dates before
their publishers started arranging their own tours!
Pam:What city are you most looking forward to on the tour?
Melissa:I’m a travel addict, so they all look great to me. However, I’m
probably most excited about Jackson because it’s the only one I haven’t visited already.
Kelley:Toronto! As a Canadian, I really wanted to make sure we had a
Canadian stop. We usually get overlooked on book tours. It wasn’t easy
keeping this one either–the first store we had arranged with closed at
Pam:Why do different dates have different authors?
Melissa:The tour is a large, author-funded, attempt to get a lot of busy
authors with crazy schedules together. As a result, we needed to mix
and match. Doing so enabled us to include more authors and more cities.
Despite that, we still didn’t get to include all of the authors we
wanted to. The YA market is so filled with amazing authors that we could
have doubled our final plans (which are already double the initial
plan!) and still not fit everyone we want to invite.
Kelley:Ditto. We really wanted to feature as many authors as we could.
Even at six per stop, though, we’re pushing it for store space (most
have to be held at an off-site venue) so they only way we could get more
was to mix-and-match. And as Melissa says, we still had a wish-list of
authors we’d have liked to invite.
Pam:Why did you design a tour featuring fantastic female writers?
Melissa:Actually, we weren’t aiming to only have female authors. We were
looking at the characters in the books, not the writers! Hopefully, if
we continue, we’ll be adding male authors (& other female authors) to
future line-ups. Why a “smart chicks” focus? I’m a mother & a feminist
who taught gender studies and lit. Celebrating smart chicks simply makes
good sense to me.
Kelley:Yes, the “female authors” focus definitely wasn’t intentional. It’s
a result of paranormal YA fiction skewing very heavily toward female
writers. We need more male writers in this genre!