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The 2023 Tucson Festival of Books


What an amazing weekend at the Tucson Festival of Books. Last Wednesday, Tucson received a few inches of snow but fortunately winter ends quickly here, and the weather was back in the seventies for the event. In addition to the hundreds of vendors sprawled across the beautiful University of Arizona campus, the event organizers filled the schedule with an outstanding variety of panels.

First up on Saturday morning was "The Monster Panel." Wonderful discussion on creating monsters by Johnny Compton (The Spite House), Hiron Ennes (Leech), and Yvonne Navarro and Weston Ochse (who have too many titles to list!).

After lunch, Owen King and Paul Tremblay discussed "The Art of the Thrill." Each spoke about their latest books, Curator and The Pallbearers Club. Lots of interesting (and often hilarious) dialogue. Both are great speakers in addition to being great writers.

The last panel of the day was "Crafting Epic Fantasy Worlds" with Owen King and Jonathan Maberry. While this isn't my genre of choice, it was great listening to two established authors passionately discuss what they love doing.

The first panel I attended on Sunday was Been There, Done that. The topic was tropes and how to breathe fresh life into them. This was my favorite panel of the weekend. The conversation between Olivie Blake (the Atlas Six series), Johnny Compton, and Hiron Ennes was more fun than any panel has the right to be.

Finally, "Making It Up" with Susan Dennard the Witchland series), Annalee Newitz (The Terraformers and Autonomous), Veronica Roth (Divergent series), Paul Tremblay concluded the festival. This was a discussion on craft and the writing process.

As always, not only did I learn a ton, but I left the festival wanting more and motivated to write. Sunday night, we went to dinner with Paul, Linda, Weston, Yvonne, and Sean Doolittle. It was great to talk about writing with such a knowledgeable group.

For any avid reader or aspiring writer, the Tucson Festival of Books should be on the list of events to attend. It is extremely well run, packed with content in all genres, and at a great venue. All in my new hometown! Think about it for next year.

Next up for me, The Ghoulish Book Festival, run by Max Booth III and Lori Michelle in San Antonio next month.

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