Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Out and About: Book Signing with #KMRinPH + Giveaway: Signed Paperback of The Beginning of Everything

Out and about is a feature here on Fragments of Life for events and book launches.

This rainy Sunday morning, I had the opportunity to meet three amazing contemporary authors. Being in the presence of KMR (Katie, Melissa and Robyn) left me buzzing with excitement and sheer book love. As Lyra from Defiantly Deviant says: This is what it feels like to be in YA Contemporary Heaven! So please join me as I recap #KMRinPH.

The Basics
Who: Katie Cotugno, Melissa Kantor and Robyn Schneider
What books: Katie Cotugno: How to Love + 99 Days
Melissa Kantor: Maybe One Day, Better than Perfect and more
Robyn Schneider: The Beginning of Everything + Extraordinary Means

When:July 5th 2015
Where: National Book Store, Glorietta 1

What I learned about Katie, Melissa and Robyn from the Q&A:


  • Melissa would like to write historical fiction but she finds the idea of it daunting. Historical fiction entails a lot of research to do. She wants to get the information right.
  • Robyn would like to write horror fantasy, in which there is an element of horror but the heroine still feels like a 'real girl' living in a world that we can relate to.
  • In Katie's books, her characters make mistakes and they are not perfect. This is the kind of story that she wants to write -stories about people who make mistakes. She feels that this makes the story more 'real' and genuine.
  • For Robyn,   
  • The biggest challenge for Melissa was making Zoe (from Maybe One Day) likable. There were things that Zoe said in the book that seemed harmless to Melissa, but it came out as negative/rude for other people. In the original draft, Zoe was much nastier.
  • The authors are drawn to the YA genre for the following reasons: Katie actually wrote How to Love when she was in high school. She mentioned that from the perspective of a teenager, everything feels important and feelings are intense. She thinks that this is a fertile ground for story telling. For Melissa, it would be the fact that every decision seems important. There is intensity in writing about teens. Meanwhile, Robyn likes to write about impactful firsts. She finds it exciting and great to try to remember parts of herself through writing. She also mentioned that teens read to find themselves in the world and this is one of the things that draws her to YA.
  • Melissa outlines before she writes. She mentioned that as a writer, you need to find the process that works for you. When Robyn writes, she gets various inputs from different people. She figures out everything and everyone that influences and is involved with the main character. She gathers her materials, builds the background of her character and when she has these ingredients, she starts to write.
  • All of the leading guys in Robyn's books are patterned after herself. Ezra reflects how she was like in high school while Laine reflects how she was like in college. As for Melissa, one of the leading men in her books was actually inspired by a serious ex-boyfriend named Steve.
  • Melissa commented that the people around you (the writer) tend to attribute names to your characters even though it was unintential at the time of writing.
  • The authors' favorite part of writing YA novels are: (Melissa) romance scenes: seeing him across the room scene and the kissing scene; (Katie) figuring out how you feel about things in the world and; (Robyn) nerdy popculture references/fandom.
  • When Robyn writes, she is basically trying to answer her own questions. She doesn't have a complicated writing style - she just writes really fast, as simple and true as she can be.
  • Katie's next book is set in 1990s Florida, during the time of boybands. It is a popstar book about two not-so-famous popstars.
  • Robyn prefers writing from a male's point of view. For her, it is like writing a fantasy - writing something that is away from her true self. Ezra was so much easier to write. She was drawn to his brokenness.
  • Melissa changed publishers. For her, it was like reinventing herself.
  • If the authors have to write a book about their lives, the titles would be:
    • Melissa: Don't Press Send - she feels that she had said too many things that she shouldn't have via email.
    • Katie: Places I Have Fallen and Injured Myself - she is clumsy. Each chapter would be a specific injury that she had endured.
    • Robyn: #ihatehashtags - she just finds herself angry at the internet culture, especially with #hashtags.

Book Signing - up close and personal

Talking to each one of the authors was great - they were all so warm.

Me and Maricar from Blackplume with Katie, Melissa and Robyn.

A signing isn't complete without my lovely bloggers.

The signed pretties!

I can never say thank you enough to National Book Store for the amazing experience!

Ladies and gents, one lucky reader of Fragments of Life will win a signed paperback copy of The Beginning of Everything! Rules: Be a follower + should be a resident of the Philippines (sorry, international readers - but I'm currently running an international giveaway of a Pre-order of Six of Crows!) Enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I'd love to read Robyn Schneider's books! I've only heard good things about them, so I'm really excited! :) I've read a book by Melissa Kantor but didn't really like it that much that's why I'm not too keen to pick up another book by her. I'm not familiar with Katie Cotugno's books, though. :)

    Julie @ Books and Insomnia

    1. Oh yes, a lot of people lov Schneider's books. Katie Cotugno has 99 Days + How to Love. You might wanna check those out. ;)

    2. Oh, I will. Thanks, Precious! :)

  2. I would like to read Robyn Shneider's books. I have heard a lot of good things about them and I liked them. So, I hope I'll win the giveaway! *fingers crossed*

    1. Thanks for participating! :) There are definitely a lot of good things about her books.

  3. I'd definitely read Robyn Shneider's book. I've read so many good reviews on Goodsreads and Amazon about them. I am tempted to buy some ebooks but I can't do it. Nothing beats the feeling of reading a good book while touching its pages. :)

  4. I'd love to read Robyn Schneider's books, because those are some of my "pick-up and purchase, NO, sadly put it back and remember the bills" books. I hope I win this giveaway! :) Thanks to you!

    1. Hi Elle! Oh, I know how you feel. We all have priorities. Goodluck on this giveaway! :)

  5. I want to read The Beginning of Everything because I've read Extraordinary Means and I really enjoyed the book and writing style. :)

    1. Hi Kim! :) I sadly couldn't continue with Extraordinary Means since it is about an illness, and possibly death (which I don't cope well with). Hope you enjoy The Beginning of Everything!

  6. I would've chosen Extraordinary Means but since I've already read it, I'll be switching with 99 days! I've heard so many good things about it and I'm looking forward to reading it :)

    1. I love your pick! Goodluck on the giveaway. :)

    2. Thanks, Precious! *fingers crossed*

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  8. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider seems to be a magical book to read! I just read the summary and I fell in love with it immediately. Crossing my fingers to win the signed copy! Thank you so much for this awesome give-away Precious! :)