Michelle Hodkin in Manila (01/17/2015)

Yesterday was one of the best days of 2015 so far. For one, I met Michelle Hodkin, author of the Mara Dyer series. Note that this is one of my fave series ever. So yes, I was more than psyched to get to meet Michelle.

The day started out early for me but I arrived to fall in line a little before 10am, which was the announced registration time for the event. Guess what? There were about 140 people in line before me already. When I finally registered, I got #142. I then spent lunch with some lovely book blogger friends and went home for awhile because the event wasn’t till 7.

When it was finally time, a huge crowd gathered at the Fullybooked BGC Atrium to see Michelle. Ms. Angel, who’s part of Fullybooked’s fabulous team, welcomed everyone and introduced the rockstar author of the night. Michelle Hodkin then did a reading for the first chapter of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.

I took a video! (Sorry it’s so shaky though. I actually have no filming skills whatsoever!) Go watch:

After that, the Q&A with Michelle Hodkin proceeded, led by the president of the Mara Dyer PH fan club and Ms. Angel alternately. They allowed questions from the audience too.

Here are some of the facts shared then:

  • If Michelle weren’t a lawyer/author, she’d be a singer/songwriter.
  • The idea for her books started from a case she handled.
  • She already knew how Retribution was gonna end from the start, as she worked backwards.
  • She had 3 editors- one for each book.
  • When asked about her favourite reads, her answer was The Magician by Lev Grossman, which she describes as Harry Potter for adults.
  • Michelle read Lolita when she was too young and it inspired her to write darker characters and antiheroes. </>
  • The first paragraph of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was one part that almost got deleted. Michelle had to push hard for it. She was willing to take the risk and was glad she dis because it really framed Mara’s perspective.
  • Troy Dyer from the movie Reality Bites inspired Noah’s personality and inspired Mara’s last name.
  • Michelle’s advice to aspiring authors: “Read everything and never give up.” The first bit launched a discussion about Bella Swan and how she’s actually a dynamic character and the fact that she got everything she wanted. “There’s something to learn from every book,” Michelle said.
  • Michelle talked about how rejection is very common when you’re looking to get published because reading is so subjective.
  • “The only difference between writers and authors is that authors are the writers who never gave up.”
  • Apparently, Mara means bitterness in Hebrew. Michelle did a lot of research for Mara’s Indian heritage.
  • Michelle shared that she had moments she was creeped out by her own writing. She had a fear of dolls, which she incorporated in the story.
  • Michelle loved her covers although she initially thought they wouldn’t work because they were a little understated compared to other brightly coloured YA books. She was surprised and happy that it turned out to be the opposite and that many people picked up the books because of the gorgeous covers.
  • Fiona Apple’s songs would be the soundtrack to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
  • Michelle felt bittersweet after finishing the last book. She says it was hard to leave her story, especially because she had Mara all figured out already.
  • One of Michelle’s good friends is Nova Ren Suma, whose books she loves.

After that, it was time to get ALL THE BOOKS signed. The waiting game was tough, I have to admit. It took almost 5 hours to get around to my number and by then, it was almost 12 midnight. Everyone got lots of quality time talking and chatting with Michelle though, so it was worth it in the end.

When it was my turn, I thanked Michelle for her hard work and told her how excited I was about meeting her. She signed my books, laughed because of one of my dedication requests (see last photo) so I proceeded to tell her how I loved Noah so. Then we took a photo together! (PS: I cannot be trusted to take a decent selfie.)

With the wonderful and fabulous Michelle Hodkin!!

I got home crazy late but I really had such a blast. Aside from hanging with Nicole of The Twins Read, Lyra of Defiantly Deviant, Kai of Amaterasu Reads and also Leslie of The Bibliophile Kid, I also finally met another fellow book blogger- Inah of The Bibliophile Confessions! Chatting with the lovely Fullybooked staff and buying books (FB was on sale!!) was also pretty awesome. Seeing Michelle and getting my books signed were the icing on the cake, of course.

All my pretties are signed and dedicated! <3 And you heard it people- Noah’s all mine BWAHAHAHA

Michelle Hodkin really was the sweetest and the most amazing. I cannot thank Fully Booked enough for bringing her to the Philippines!

Hazel @ Stay Bookish

Hazel Ureta is an advocate of stories. She is the blogger and Editor-In-Chief of Stay Bookish because she loves talking about books. She enjoys reading Young Adult novels the most and writes them too.
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  1. Mawa Mahima on January 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Wow, oh that must have been so much fun! I haven’t read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (yet) but I look forward to it, especially with all these new facts about how the story came to be! I really love her piece of advice: “Read everything and never give up”. Definitely going to keep that one in my head for a while. ^.^

  2. Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination on January 18, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    It sounds like you had so much fun at the event, and it’s so cool that you met some fellow book bloggers. I’ve never been to a book event or signing, but I’d love to attend one someday. I would probably be kind of shy around the author, though.

  3. Cali W. on January 18, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Cool facts about Michelle Hodkin. :)

  4. Lara on January 18, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    Yayyy, I’m so jealous that you got to meet her, and at the same time so happy for you :)

  5. Taylor Lynn on January 18, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    It sounds like a wonderful book event! I always love hearing authors talk about their work, their writing process, writing in general, their lives–basically, I love hearing authors talk, and getting signed books after the fact is event better, haha! ;) I think it’s so cool that she’s a lawyer and an author–you don’t hear that combination very much!–and also cool that she even creeped HERSELF out with her stories. xD All in all, this event sounds like it was a blast, although I’m sorry to hear you had to wait in line so long; that kind of sucks. But I’m glad that it at least meant you got to chat a bit with Michelle Hodkin, so all’s well that ends well, I guess? Anyway, enjoy your signed books!

  6. Nova @ Out of Time on January 18, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    This is so awesome! I’ve been to like two signings in my lifetime, but still! So excited for you that you got to meet a bunch of cool people and the author :)

  7. Melanie (YA Midnight Reads) on January 18, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    ooh it sounds like you had a fantastic time, Hazel! You two look gorgeous in that picture :)

    • Hazel @ Stay Bookish on January 19, 2015 at 12:04 am

      I really did! Michelle totally brought all the gorgeous in the picture! Thank you for checking out my recap, Mel! :D

  8. Faith on January 18, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    FANGIRLING!!!! You got to meet her!!!! I bet she was the nicest person in the world!! Btw, Noah is mine!

  9. Abby @ Enthralling Reads on January 18, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    Yay! She sounds so fabulous and lovely. And she’s so pretty! ;u; I still love the series eventhough it was creepy and scared the hell out of me sometimes. It’s so fun reading those facts. The covers enthralled me. It was a total cover-buy. Ooops.

    So glad you enjoyed the event, Hazel! :D

  10. Kayla on January 18, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I’ve never been to a book signing before so I really love seeing posts about them. I also haven’t read anything by Michelle Hodkin but I’m hopefully going to fix that soon.

  11. Jules on January 18, 2015 at 11:22 pm

    Eeeeeeep, I haven’t had the chance to go because my parents didn’t allow me to go because it was too late but I feel so sad to not go :( But its nice to see that you enjoyed it! I hope Fullybooked will have more events like this :D

  12. Chanpreet on January 18, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing! It’s nice to be able to participate in a way, even if we can’t be there! :)

  13. Laila BC on January 19, 2015 at 12:33 am

    thank you for sharing that reading she did in the beginnig…she has such a young cute voice…anyways…like i’ve mentioned in your previous posts about this event i couldn’t come. but my books were signed thru a very good friend of mine and maybe i will just have my face edited into your selfie? LOL! now that’s kinda creepy. also that personalized dedication is epic! yeah sa’yo na nga talaga si Noah galing kay MH na ‘ata. hehehe! i’m glad you had a great time despite the very long hours you spent for this event. it is always worth it when attending such book signings :)

  14. Leigh @ Little Book Star on January 19, 2015 at 1:53 am

    ahhh that’s freakin awesome! I told my friend who lives in the PH that Michelle was going to be there, but unfortunately she couldn’t go. Dang it, I still need to read her books. They sound so good and I’m much more intrigued knowing that she was inspired to write this because of one of her cases. Ooooh a WIP! I’m excited what her new book will be about. Glad you had tons of fun and got to meet her!

  15. Cait @ Paper Fury on January 19, 2015 at 4:43 am

    Oh oh this just makes me want to read the series more. I KNOW, RIGHT? Shame on me, but I haven’t even touched the first book. I really really want to! 2015 is kind of the year of catch-up-on-all-the-series-I’ve-been-neglecting. I’m working on eating all the Riordan books and then Neal Shusterman, but I think Michelle Hodkin is next because these books just sound so incredible! I loved that list of facts too. I love knowing the inside-scoop on hows and whys of books so so much. xD This was an insanely fabulous post even if I haven’t started the series yet!!

  16. Anne on January 19, 2015 at 5:37 am

    Wow 12MN? Gotta hand it to your determination. :) And I’m glad Michelle was game with staying up that late (I suppose she had jet lag?). Think I’m going to pick up her books in the next few weeks. Thanks for sharing your experience, Hazel!

  17. Amalfi on January 19, 2015 at 7:07 am

    You are so lucky, congrats!!

  18. Anette Fabre on January 19, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    I was at the ATC signing to accompany a friend and omg, just seeing her made me so happy. I have no idea about the books so I’ll definitely read them now. :)

  19. Alena @ dustypromises on January 19, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Yaaaay!! You’re so lucky to meet heeeeer!

  20. Maine on January 20, 2015 at 12:46 am

    Hi Hazel! It was so nice bumping into you yesterday. Sorry it got a bit awkward cause I freaked out a bit since I’m not used to meeting readers offline. Haha. We should totes hang out and discuss the book (and probably debate who Noah belongs too) (like really). Haha!

  21. Alexa S. on January 21, 2015 at 11:58 am

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time meeting Michelle and hanging out with all the bloggers! I’m seriously still proud of how many of the Philippine bookstores are bringing in such great names in YA, and I would definitely have been at some of the events you’ve talked about (this one included) if I were still living there. Great recap, and I loved seeing the dedication in your book too!

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