Earlier this month I had the amazing opportunity to meet up with several other Bay Area book bloggers and Bay Area authors at the first ever Bay Area Book Blogger & Author Brunch! An amazing event organized and hosted by Christy and Nancy from Tales of the Ravenous Reader and Not Your Mother’s Book Club (NYMBC), bloggers had the opportunity to network with each other and local authors, as well as have a one on one interview with an author at Santa Clara Books Inc! Now let me tell you, friends, when I started blogging I always assumed that these real live bookish events happened primarily on the East Coast, as it’s the stereotypical hub for publishing what with New York seeming to dominate the industry. However, there were SO many awesome authors there that were born and raised in the lovely Bay Area, and it was SO cool to know that there’s such a strong YA writing community out here!
There were SO many fantastic authors at the event representing the Bay Area! The full list includes: Rahul Kanakia, Traci Chee, Christy Lenzi, Alexandra Sirowy, Sonya Mukherjee, Jessica Taylor, Kelly Gilbert, Parker Peevyhouse, Tim Floreen, Nina LaCour, Stacey Lee, Tara Sim and Tricia Stirling. Each author gave a mini presentation on who they were and on their most recent new release, which definitely added many, many more books to my TBR, let me tell you.
Each blogger was randomly paired up with an author for a one-on-one interview, and I was lucky enough to be paired with Tara Sim, author of Timekeeper, the first in a historical fiction/fantasy/steampunk series (seriously, this series has a little bit of almost every genre!)
Timekeeper & Tara Sim
In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.
It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.
And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.
But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.
I had a wonderful time interviewing Tara, who is a native to the North Bay Area and a dedicated fantasy writer. I loved learning about her writing process for Timekeeper, as it’s truly an impressive one, as she wrote the first draft in just two weeks! Though it was the most complicated book she’s written, she drew upon her own personal experience studying abroad in London while in college for the setting of the novel, where she often found herself staring at Big Ben as a comfort. When I inquired as to if she felt any Bay Area locations influenced the setting of Timekeeper, she mentioned that while she’s never been anywhere in the world quite like California, while she was in London she stumbled across a neighborhood that strongly reminded her of San Francisco, and some of the commonalities between the two cities definitely overlapped while she wrote the novel.
Tara also shared with me a really interesting technique that she used when writing Timekeeper in order to better connect with her protagonist Danny, who was one of the harder characters for her to cement despite his major role in the story. So while the novel is written in a third person POV (as much of adult fantasy is, which is what her writing background is in), she also wrote the first few chapters in Danny’s first person POV to really understand him as a character. As a character, Danny really fascinated me because I felt there were so many parallels between his journey and accomplishments and that of current YA readers from the millennial generation, as he’s such a young yet truly gifted clock mechanic, yet faces so much anxiety despite (or perhaps because of) his achievements. Tara and I discussed this and she acknowledged that she does see some of those parallels, noting that in today’s societies millennial have to do 2-3x more than what’s expected to be noticed and recognized, just as Danny has to work harder to compensate for his age even though his skill is clearly apparent and earned.
Tara hinted that her next project will focus on more fantasy settings modeled after other countries, and will draw upon some of her own cultural experiences growing up half-Indian. Based on what I heard from her, it’s definitely something that you’ll want to add to your TBR along with the sequels for Timekeeper!
Check out all of the AMAZING bloggers who were also in attendance, and be sure to check out their posts/videos about the event as well!
Also be sure to check out the awesome Storify that the wonderful Christy put together after the event (and thank you so much for all of your hard work and coordination, Christy!)