Some of my favourite 2016 books were published by Abrams & Chronicle, and so when the opportunity arose to celebrate the release of an awesome new title at their offices in Farringdon I of course jumped on it. Not only that, but the book at the centre of the festivities was RoseBlood by A.G. Howard (author of the Splintered series), a young adult novel inspired by The Phantom of the Opera. It sounds absolutely brilliant, not in the least because it brings my two passions – books and theatre – together in one.
The room the RoseBlood Ball was held in, was decked out with atmospheric decorations, from blood-red roses and theatre masks, to a violin case and candles in wine bottles. And I haven't even mentioned Claude yet, the crow who oversaw it all (and who by the end of the night was covered in glitter, but we'll get to that later).
Because the Ball took place the night of the snow storm in London last week (I say storm, it was more of a heavy flurry but it fogged up my glasses and I couldn't see) I had trouble finding the location and only got there about 10 minutes before the author would join us via live link-up to answer all of our questions. It was enough time to add a beautiful deep dark blue polish to the nails of one hand though, and start on some delicious red wine (priorities) as I met the other bloggers in attendance and the awesome Abrams & Chronicle team (it's always great to put a face to the people you've been emailing with or have been chatting to on social media).
When author A.G. Howard (aka Anita) joined us, she was absolutely lovely and it was a joy to listen to her answer a range of questions from bloggers in the room and those who had joined in with the #RoseBloodBall hashtag on Twitter. My question was whether there were any other musicals she'd like to take as an inspiration for a young adult novel and she mentioned Sweeney Todd (which is already suitably gory, she said), Moulin Rouge and Les Miserables – there was definitely a French theme going on! All of these sound awesome, but I'd especially love to read a YA Les Mis. Her favourite musical is, of course, Phantom and her favourite song from it Music of the Night.
She was also asked whether there were any other fairy tales (bringing it back to the Splintered series, which was inspired by Alice in Wonderland) she would like to take on in her writing, and Anita said she'd love to write her take on Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel. Though Tangled has already done the latter very well, she added.
Writing routines was another question, and I loved Anita's answer here where she mentioned she has playlists for all the books she writes to get her in the mind-set (which you can find on her website). For the first one or two books she listened to instrumental music only, otherwise lyrics would slip into her writing, but this isn't the case any longer. For novels that aren't finished yet she has secret playlists that aren't public. Another thing she does in her writing is that the characters are fully-formed first, before the story is. They are the ones leading her trough the story.
Far too soon it felt the Q&A was over (though in reality it lasted half an hour!), and I cannot thank Anita enough for being so lovely and for her brilliant answers. Hopefully, one day, she'll be able to do a book tour in the UK and I can meet her in person. But while this wasn't possible yet, the live link-up via the Internet was a brilliant idea, I thought.
After the Q&A it was time for some scrumptious pizza (seriously, so good!), before we got the opportunity to browse the Abrams & Chronicle's YA shelves and pick up some new ARCs (including Riley Redgate's upcoming Noteworthy *squee*). And if that wasn't already enough awesome for one night, we also got our craft on by decorating our very own Phantom-style masks (this is the stage where Claude ended up being covered in glitter, and us too by the way) and we played a hilarious game of pin-the-mask-on-Rune (instead of pin-the-tale-on-the-donkey) where Jess from A&C actually got it spot on (you know you've been looking at a book cover so much when you still know it that well blind-folded). From the bloggers I got closest and my prize was a copy of the super awesome Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way book by Jennifer Orkin Lewis.
And to top off a night of already being absolutely spoiled we even got a goody bag on the way out, which didn't only have a finished copy of RoseBlood in it, but also a copy of Phantom of the Opera, beautiful A&C stationary, and RoseBlood/Phantom-inspired goodies.
Thank you so much to the Abrams & Chronicle team for not only organising such a fabulous evening (with spot on awesome decorations), but also for your generosity and creating such a lovely time for us all ♥