Laini Taylor came to Australia! YA Bloggers Event and Melbourne Event Recap

Laini Taylor was recently in Australia – I am sure you have heard all about it. There were copious amounts of tweets, excited Facebook status updates, and afterwards, some amazing blog posts and photos popping up all over the interwebs. And I was not only lucky enough to attend one of her events, but I had to opportunity to interview her and attend an event in Sydney, and then another event in Melbourne.

So here is my experience with this amazing lady!

Sydney - YA Bloggers Event

It all started with an interview for the YA Bloggers newsletter on Monday afternoon. And although I met Laini a few months ago in London, I was ridiculously nervous! This is no reflection on her at all, she is so lovely, but more on me – I know she is lovely, I know she is down-to-earth, but for me, it is still “wooooowwwwww… Laini Taylor!”. I admire this lady so much, that I star struck each time I see her.

As soon as I entered the room, Laini recognised me from London, which of course made me feel a little better. She has an amazing ability to put you at ease, it is like meeting up with someone you have known for a long time. She is welcoming, friendly and open. She is a truly lovely person – and that is a description that I wouldn’t use often. And although Laini makes me feel at ease, like talking to an old friend, every time she would answer a question, just like in her books, I would get totally consumed with what she was saying. I was constantly having to snap myself out of it to ask another question or respond to what she had said. And I am sure I came across as a little docile, as I was in awe the whole time. Sadly the interview didn’t go long enough for me to get through all my questions (from others and my own) but it was fun, informative and a totally amazing experience! The interview will be published in the next Ausralian YA Bloggers newsletter (sign up here to receive the newsletter).

Then it was time for the amazing YA Bloggers Evening with Hachette Australia. This was my first bloggers event, but even without anything to compare it to, it was amazing! As people were arriving and starting to mingle, Hachette provided us with drinks and nibbles – best of which included a lollybar! Yes, a lollybar! It doesn’t get much better than that. Unfortunately I was still buzzing from my interview with Laini, so I didn’t get the chance to track down many of the bloggers that I wanted to meet. But I did meet Gina from Behind the Pages (she also gave me some amazing DOSAB bookmarks – they are amazeballs and I love them), Pavan from Keep it Fictional, Rochelle from Inside My Worlds and I also met up with Jaz from Fiction in Fiction and Fiction again. I also got to meet a bunch of super-nice Hachette employees. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention the photobooth that Hachette had for the event. I didn’t partake in this particular activity, as I hate photos, but their certainly were some great photos from those who did use it.

The awesome bookshelf at Hachette Australia

Then the YA Bloggers Event began. Hachette went through some amazing already released and upcoming titles, as well as ensuring that we all knew about the world’s hottest author, Pierce Brown (no truly, he was voted as such). Below is a list of the books and authors that were featured at the event, and I have to say that their excitement for each book certainly rubbed off on me!

Hachette spoke about books that are out right now, such as Found by Harlan Coben and Boy21 by Matthew Quick. They also highlighted books already released, but not to be missed books, such as Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and Red Rising by Pierce Brown. And finally they discussed the upcoming titles: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Upside Down by Lia Riley, The Here and Now by Ann Brashares, A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond, Day 21 by Kass Morgan, The Walled City by Ryan Graudin and The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery.

And then the guest of honour, Laini Taylor, arrived! Once again, I was mesmerised by her. And so was everyone else in the room. As with her writing style, when she speaks, she has a way of pulling you into her words, they wrap around you and enchant you. Laini told the crowd the story of how Daughter of Smoke and Bone began, with Karou and Brimstone coming to her on a free-writing day. This blue-haired teenage girl and her monster father were arguing but the questions of Brimstone’s necklace and how this seemingly normal girl came to have a father who was not human. How she knew that Brimstone traded in teeth, but did not know why. She also knew that he wore a wishbone necklace, but didn’t know why Karou wasn’t allowed to touch it. And the amazing story of Daughter of Smoke began.

Laini Taylor talking at the YA Bloggers Event

Laini answered questions from the audience, some of which are covered in my interview, so I won’t go into detail on these. She told us about how characters and developments in her books surprised her - even in the last few pages of Dreams of Gods and Monsters.

But the one thing that I loved about Laini was when she asked for advice to aspiring writers. She was open and honest - and she gave some fantastic advice! Laini’s advice to aspiring writers: don’t have a back-up plan. Commit to your writing at least 100%. She said that all people she knows (and I agree with this) who have a backup plan, end up living their backup plan and not fulfilling their dream. Real, honest and helpful advice.

Then Laini kindly signed books, chatted and had photos taken with everyone who attended. She chatted with everyone and took photos with them - all the while, charming every person even more J

When it was time to leave this fantastic event, we were all given an awesome goodie bag (even the bag itself was cool – it was a Hachette tote bag) which contained 3 books: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black and The Secret of Ella and Micha (The Secret #1) by Jessica Sorensen. It also contained some swag and other goodies such as ‘You Had Me At Chapter One’, ‘Date A Book’ and ‘Boys Are Better In Books’ badges, The Secret of Ella and Micha bookmark, some beauty products, and some more lollies J There was also a treasure hunt before the event started, in which the prize was a copy of Found (Mickey Bolitar #3) by Harlan Coben.

The cool goodie bag - thanks Date a Book!

Thank you to Hachette / Date a Book for an amazing night!


Melbourne - An Evening with Laini Taylor

I suppose one could say I was stalking Laini, but I was a friendly stalker, I promise! The reason I also went to Melbourne was because when Daughter of Smoke and Bone was first released, I promised one of my friends that if Laini ever came to Australia that I would go to an event with her. But the details about the YA Bloggers Event in Sydney was released first, so I immediately booked to go to that. Then details about the Melbourne event were released, and I couldn’t go back on my word from 2011. Plus, this also gave me an opportunity to meet my amazing and wonderful co-blogger Melissa. Yes, I actually met her! (yayyyy).

An Evening with Laini Taylor was hosted by the wonderful The Little Bookroom and was held at the absolutely stunning Library at the Dock. I recommend everyone in Melbourne check out this beautiful library, as well as support The Little Bookroom, which is a great indie childrens bookstore.

Melissa, myself and some friends arrived at the stunning Library at the Dock a little early, and we were told the event was upstairs. So we jumped in the lift, and just as the glass doors were closing, we spotted pink hair. Laini had just arrived and the doors closed right in her face (yes, there was a collective “noooooooo” when this happened). So we found our way upstairs to find that we had no idea where to go, as it all looked blocked off. So we decided to go back downstairs to ask exactly where to go. When we reached the bottom, Laini and her publicist were still waiting there. So they jumped in the lift and we made our way back upstairs, no one really knowing where to go. Luckily we found our way, and I had an extra 60 seconds of Laini time, so I was over the moon J

After being checked in, we rushed to get a seat near the front (we wanted some good photos) and we scored great seats. Leesa from The Little Bookroom introduced us to Laini and then handed over to Laini to begin her talk. Laini explained to her Melbourne audience how Daughter of Smoke came to be and touched on her writing process, her journals and how she loves words.

Laini Taylor enthralling her Melbourne fans

Laini then took questions from the audience. Laini told everyone that she went to Prague with her husband Jim Di Bartolo to research a graphic novel that they had planned. Whilst this book never progressed, Prague stayed with Laini and it was the perfect setting for Karou in Daughter of Smoke and Bone. She also told us that Poison Kitchen sadly is not a real, but in fact influenced by both a real place (a café with coffins as tables) and her desire as a teenager to have somewhere cool to hang out. She also told us where the idea of the hamsas came from: when Laini was travelling in Europe when she was younger, a train broke down and she was stuck waiting for another one. To pass the time she drew eyes on her feet (there may have been a very funny story about the feet then “looking” under a nuns habit). Obviously Karou having hamsas on her feet would not be as convient as having them on her hands, so that is where they ended up. Laini also gave a little information about the book she is currently working on, which is a historical sci-fi, but she also has a side project which is an adult novel.

After Laini’s talk and Q&A session, Leesa from The Little Bookroom told us all we had to have a group photo. I have to say, I am pretty impressed that everyone managed to get in the photo!

Then once again, it was time for Laini to meet people and sign books. The event ran a little over time and there was a lot of people there, so we couldn’t stay too long and chat, but still, Laini was trying to get the most out of meeting every single person, and was super lovely.

Thank you to The Little Bookroom for hosting this event!


So all in all, I had the best few days ever! I cannot tell you all how charming, friendly and delightful Laini Taylor is. I have now had 3 interactions with her, and my admiration for her has only strengthened. She has no idea how much she has given to me (with her books and her general awesomeness), and for that, I will always be a fangirl of this brilliant writer, incredible storyteller, and all-round astounding person.

If you ever get the chance to meet your all-time favourite author, I hope that you have as much as an amazing experience as I have had. That is my wish for you (if only I could get my hands on some of Brimstone’s wishes).

And stay tuned - I will have an awesome giveaway coming your way soon :)


What do you think?

  • Kelly says:

    Gosh, what an incredible experience, and three meet ups with no restraining order, she must really love you. The one thing I gathered from the Tweets during the Hachette event was how inspirational she is and really spoke from the heart about her writing. I don’t think we could ask anything more from an author. Was that pink hair as bright in person? She’s so festive.

    Awesome recap love <3
    Kelly recently posted…Apple and Rain by Sarah CrossanMy Profile

    • Kristy says:

      Oh, it really was Kelly. I cannot even begin to describe it (although I have tried). And luckily there were no restraining orders involved :)
      And yes, her hair is really that bright in person - but it isn’t distracting at all, she owns it.

  • It was so good to finally meet you!! And I’m so happy that you like the bookmarks :D haha just casually stalking Laini :P
    Gina @ Behind the Pages recently posted…CALLING ALL YA AUTHORS! The Next BIG YA Book by YOU!My Profile

  • It was wonderful getting to meet you, Kristy!The Hachette event was amazing and so was Laini. It was a dream come true meeting her. I never dreamed she would ever come to Australia. The Melbourne event sounded like it was good too.
    Thanks for the recaps. I’ve been meaning to do mine for the longest time but other things kept popping up, hopefully soon.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…Fortnight In Review.My Profile

  • It was wonderful getting to meet you, Kristy!The Hachette event was amazing and so was Laini. It was a dream come true meeting her. I never dreamed she would ever come to Australia. The Melbourne event sounded like it was good too.
    Thanks for the recaps. I’ve been meaning to do mine for the longest time but other things kept popping up, hopefully soon.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…Fortnight In Review.My Profile

    • Kristy says:

      It was such an amazing night! And yes, so is Laini!
      And yes, the Melbourne event was also good - a little rushed during the signing, but that happens at most events.
      It took me a while to do the recap as well - life is always getting in the way. But I look forward to reading yours (whenever you get to it)

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