This past week has been full of bookish adventures for me. Last Thursday, I met up with my blogger friends, Dianne of Oops! I Read A Book Again and Hazel of Stay Bookish. I also got to meet Eriele of This is Not Your Book Blog and Raf of Royal Polar Bear Reads.
We were invited by Ms. Peiying of Ethos Books to hang out her and some of their authors, who were award winners apparently. Ethos Books is a small publishing house in Singapore, but their published authors are famous there apparently. Dianne, Hazel, and I got to meet award-winning writers and poets, Aaron Lee Soon Yong (Coastlands), Yong Shu Hoong (The Viewing Party), and a fellow Filipina, Annabelle Fabia- de Arroz (Get Lucky).
Ms. Peiying emailed us (us being Bookworms Unite PH organizers) early this September, inviting us if we wanted to meet up with them during the week of Manila International Book Fair. We were a little hesitant at first since we mostly blog about YA books, but we figured that it’s actually a great opportunity to meet writers and fellow bookworms!
We planned to meet at Caffe Bene inside SMX Convention Center since we wanted to check out the fair as well. I met up with Hazel a little early so we went to check out the fair first. By the time we were supposed to meet them, we had a little trouble finding them, since we really had no idea what they look like. Haha! So yeah, it was a little funny and embarrassing. When we finally met up with Dianne and joined them, they were already in the middle of coffees and gelatos but they were all very welcoming. Intimidating, yeah a little, but very welcoming nonetheless. We also got to meet Ms. Rose Sagun, another Filipina writer, who happened to share the table with us so we invited her to hang out with us too!
We talked about books (of course!), and they asked us about our blogs and how the literary scene here in the Philippines goes. They also did live readings of their poems and short stories. It was so inspiring and heartwarming to hear them perform. This was honestly the highlight of my MIBF week.
After meeting up with them, we invited Anette, who happened to be in the cafe as well, to hang out with us while checking out books in the fair. I was going to buy This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab but I couldn’t find any so I just bought Vicious instead. I also got The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West.
Morgan Matson Book Signing Event
Come Saturday, I went to line up early for the Glorietta leg of Morgan Matson’s book signing event, hosted by National Book Store. I was able to hang out with my buddy Jem, and Tomi, who attended Bookworms Unite PH last July.
Since we lined up early, we were among the first fifty which meant we could go home earlier than the usual. Jem and I met up with Hazel, and JM of Book Freak Revelations. I also got to meet Allie of A Literary Wanderer. We hung out while the three of them got lunch, and we all basically talked about Nicola Yoon’s books, and the upcoming movie, Everything, Everything. Since JM and I manage the account Nicola Yoon PH on Twitter, we kept on pushing Jem and Allie to read her books (which is a success since Jem got to finish Everything, Everything earlier this week).
After a few hours, Morgan finally arrived at the venue, and of course we greeted her with enthusiastic screams. The Q&A session started immediately, and here are some of her answers to the questions:
- Hamilton is her favorite musical. She mentioned a Tennessee Williams work, when asked about her favorite play. But I wasn’t able to catch it. It wasn’t Loss of a Teardrop Diamond though, which is the only one I know.
- She makes playlists as a pre-writing ritual. Literally just make, because she ends up distracted when she tries to listen to the playlist while writing.
- Her literary heroes are Sarah Dessen and John Green.
- Writing the love interests is her favorite part of writing.
- When asked about which songs reminds her of the Philippines, she promised to make a playlist about the whole PH experience. She gave us permission to bother her three days after, if she hasn’t posted it. But yeah, I guess she’s still making it haha!
- She’d bring Jenny Han’s, Rainbow Rowell’s or Leigh Bardugo’s books, to read while traveling.
- If there’s one thing at the top of her bucketlist, it’s skydiving.
- When asked where she want to go in a roadtrip, she answered Australia, and a trip from America across Canada.
- Her favorite line from her books is “If galaxies could change, so could I.” A line from The Unexpected Everything.
- When asked which actors she was trying to picture her characters with, she said she doesn’t really try to imagine actors as her characters, but gave Emma Stone for Amy back when she was still writing it.
- She also gave us a little idea for her upcoming book! It’s about a girl named Charlie (or possibly Charley haha), who has a big family and she’s the youngest of five. It takes place in a span three days, in Spring Break, with her sister getting married. (SO OBVIOUSLY I’M EXCITED FOR THIS ONE).
- “Read a lot and write a lot,” she said as an advice for aspiring writers.
- “Sunshine, joy, and smile.” Three words that reminds her of the Philippines, except mangoes of course!
- Her full name is Morgan Katherine Finn Matson, where her pseudonym Katie Finn comes from.
After the Q&A and open forum, the signing proper started. When I got my turn, I was so excited to talk to her. Apparently, Morgan’s a big fan of Bastille, who happens to be my favorite band, so I chatted to her about them, while also complimenting her good taste in music. I asked her if she heard Bastille’s new songs, and she said her favorite was Good Grief. She asked me whether I know which movie the quote “If you want be a party animal, you have to learn to live in the jungle.” came from. I didn’t know until earlier this week (it’s from a 1985 film called Weird Science btw) but I told her that Dan (vocalist of Bastille) tagged the actress who said that line on Twitter one time.
We took a picture after she signed my books, and since I was super excited and nervous to meet her, I almost forgot to give her my postcards and letter. Good thing she asked me if the envelope containing my postcards were supposed to be for her. That was a little bit embarrassing haha!
Morgan Matson is one of the loveliest authors I’ve ever met. She’s so animated, lively and really enthusiastic about answering our questions. I haven’t read all of her books, I’ve only read Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, but I’m planning to read all of them before this year ends!
After Jem and I got our books signed, we took photos with friends. I also got to meet Danica of The Hogsmeade Reader, Blessie of Mischievous Reads, Rechellyn of Infinite TBR List, and Bea of Confessions of A Pinay Bookaholic. Jem and I also got to meet Avy, one of the admins of Morgan Matson PH!
After the signing, Jem and I went to MIBF to check out more books, but we didn’t stay long since there’s tons of people in the venue. We did check out the new Fully Booked branch at Conrad Hotel. We also checked out Booksale, where I found a copy of Come Back To Me by Mila Gray.
Last week was one of the most eventful and unforgettable weeks I had in my entire life. And I’m glad I got to spend it with fellow bookworms! Thanks to Ethos Books and National Book Store for making my week!
Did you check out MIBF last week? Were you able to attend Morgan Matson’s signing?