I’m on the far left, back row, apparently plotting my next move…

Last weekend, I was thrilled to be a part of the second annual Boston Teen Author Festival, held at the Cambridge Public Library. Twenty-two YA authors from New England took part in panel discussions, a spirited full-group Q&A session with organizer Renee Combs, plenty of time to meet and mingle in the halls, and book signing.

The best part of this day-long, high-energy event? Meeting so many actual teen READERS! I was so impressed by the distances some people had traveled (or that some supportive parents had driven!) to get to this event. I met an aspiring writer from New Hampshire, two devoted readers from Connecticut, and many others.

I got to speak on the “Uncover the Mystery” panel with a great group of partners-in-crime in the mystery writing business! We talked about planning (and planting) clues in advance versus letting the story unfold, raising the stakes for young sleuths, writing for younger versus older readers on the YA spectrum, and many other topics.

Our dazzling Emerson College moderator! Plus myself, Jack Farraiolo, and Jack’s Edgar Award


More partners in crime: panelists Kathryn Burak, Erin Dionne, and Marissa Doyle

I loved hearing about everyone’s processes, and our interrogators — I mean, audience members — asked some pretty sharp questions.

Afterward, I got a close-up look at Jack Farraiolo’s Edgar Award. These are like the Oscars for mystery writers, so it was pretty exciting to see one so close — especially since it wasn’t exactly what I expected!

This is a replica of Edgar Allen Poe’s head, and an actual, non-replica of an Edgar Award

Moments after the above picture was taken I ended up spilling my coffee perilously close to Jack’s Edgar. Fortunately I had my trusty Tokyo Heist crime scene tape to block off the scene of the crime while it was cleaned up for the next panel.

Crime scene tape. I never travel without it!

We ended the day with a big Rockettes-style song and dance number that brought the house down:

Um, okay, no. Actually we were all pretty tired. Maybe the song and dance number next year.

I want give a HUGE thanks to Renee Combs, Marissa Finkelstein, Ashley Alongi, Kylie Brien, and all the other Emerson College alumni and students who put this together, as well as the Cambridge Public Library. We are so rich in writers, readers, and libraries in New England, and this festival was a great celebration of all that!

(And thank you Ashley Alongi and others for the photos — all pictures here were swiped borrowed from BTAF).