Penguin Blogger Night with Morgan Rhodes & Adrienne Kress!

8:00 AM

On Thursday, January 17, Penguin Canada invited book bloggers to their offices in Toronto for their first ever Penguin Blogger Night with special guests Morgan Rhodes and Adrienne Kress. I was fortunate to receive an invitation to the event, and counted down the days in excitement until I would meet both of the Canadian authors...

Morgan Rhodes (pen name of Michelle Rowen) is the New York Times bestselling author of the high fantasy novel Falling Kingdoms, and Adrienne Kress' steampunk debut The Friday Society was also recently released in December 2012. I LOVED both of their books, so imagine my shock and delight when I took a seat at the event and found myself sitting practically right beside them! Dana from Fave Magazine interviewed the authors, and bloggers were welcome to chime in on the discussion. Morgan and Adrienne were hilarious together!

The first question of the night involved how the authors write their books. Morgan likes to outline her books, and Adrienne talked about the writing process for The Friday Society. She was very passionate about trying to research the right names and locations for historical accuracy, and she lived in the England for three years so it helped her with the setting. For the fight scenes, she got some guidance from a friend who is a stunt double on the TV show Lost Girl.

Adrienne Kress trying to avoid potential Falling Kingdoms spoilers

Morgan further added that while she follows an outline, changes are made along the way. In Falling Kingdoms, the Watchers weren't even in the first draft but her editor suggested adding a mystical place. They'll be playing an even stronger role in book two, Rebel Spring. Adrienne said the movie trailer for Sucker Punch (the trailer, not the actual movie, which she insisted was just plain horrible) was a loose inspiration for The Friday Society. She wanted to write a feminist novel with strong female characters.

Michelle Rowen (aka Morgan Rhodes)
The next question asked was which characters(s) did the authors like to write about the most. Morgan said Magnus was the most fun to write because there are so many layers to his character; what he says is often different than what he actually thinks. She also likes to write about Cleo as well, and knew her fans either seemed to really like her or hate her. Adrienne feels attached to Nellie, Cora, and Michiko too much to ever choose between them! She thinks Officer Murphy is cute and adorable, and would hug him if she could.

Another question asked related to characters arcs and how the authors felt about killing off characters in their books. Adrienne said she wasn't initially planning to kill any characters but then it simply worked out that way when she was writing. She also likes to act out her characters' reactions and emotions. Morgan said she likes killing off characters and that she's getting really good at it! For her, character deaths have to some sort of meaning and importance in the novel. She also added that there's a death at the end of Falling Kingdoms which makes her cry every time she reads it. 

The next question asked at the event was what kind of books the authors liked to read when they weren't writing. Morgan said she was reading Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits, had recently finished Richelle Mead's The Indigo Spell (I'm pretty everyone was jealous to hear this...), and was soon starting Lauren Oliver's Delirium. She also wants to read Cassandra Clare's City of Bones before the movie comes out this August. Adrienne loves Lesley Livingston's novels and The Hunger Games, and said she tended to read adult contemporary novels more often than YA novels. Both Morgan and Adrienne felt that they're reluctant readers who watch movies/TV shows rather than read to relax.

Adrienne Kress
Morgan Rhodes said she's contracted to write four books in the Falling Kingdoms series. She doesn't mind that her book is pitched as Game of Thrones for teens if it helps garner more interest in people reading her books. The only thing she didn't like about it was that some people may feel misled if the comparison isn't exactly correct. Adrienne Kress said that The Friday Society is a standalone right now, but that she'd love to expand it into a series if she could.

Morgan then continued off Adrienne's thoughts about publisher decisions for extending series and related it to her own past experiences. She had wanted to continue writing her Demon Princess series (written under the name Michelle Rowen) but understood it was a business decision by her publisher to stop traditionally publishing it after only two books. She decided to continue writing the series and self-published them instead for not only her fans, but also herself too.

The authors were then asked about casting choices if their books were made into movies! For The Friday Society, Adrienne Kress picked Chloe Moretz for Nellie, Saorise Ronan for Cora, a Japanese actress to play Michiko, and Michael Emerson for Lord White. For Falling Kingdoms, Morgan Rhodes picked Ben Barnes as Jonas, Lilly Collins as Lucia, Sara Paxton as Lucia, one of the actors from the TV show Teen Wolf for Magnus, and Richard Armitage as King Gaius. (When Richard Armitage was mentioned, Adrienne began to fan-girl and gush about his hotness.)

Ardo from A.A. Omer asked one of the last questions of the night, and it involved how the authors felt about the helpfulness of blogger reviews. Adrienne thought it was incredible to see such a large community of YA bloggers, and noted that it's very different from seeing MG reviews. Morgan likes book blogs, and thinks it's great for free publicity and word of mouth.

Once the Q&A was finished, we were more than welcome to get our books signed by the author and chat with them in person! Penguin Canada also offered everyone a tote bag filled with books and other goodies as well, which was a really sweet surprise! (You'll be able to see what I got in my next Stacking the Shelves post.)

Thanks so much to Penguin Canada for hosting the event and giving us the opportunity to meet Morgan Rhodes and Adrienne Kress! It was definitely an awesome night I won't soon forget.

Here are more recaps from some of the Ontario bloggers who attended Penguin Blogger Night:

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  1. Sounds so awesome. I would have loved to meet Morgan Rhodes.

  2. So jealous- it looked awesome!

  3. You got such great pictures! All mine came out fuzzy.
    Great recap :)