I ended YALLFEST by attending the closing keynote with Brandon Sanderson and Brandon Mull.
Brandon Mull is the author of the FableHaven series. He and Sanderson live up the street from each other and they know each other really well, so their dynamic was really entertaining.
They told stories about when they were little and man did I relate. Sanderson tried to start a detective agency after reading a bunch of mysteries, but after three whole days he had to close down because there were no mysteries. I did the same thing, only I decided to MAKE a mystery and finger painted the neighbor’s car with mud then offered to help them figure out who did it.
The police were called. It was bad. Really, really bad.
Mull was really into Narnia. One time, he went to his Grandmother’s house and realized that she was a mysterious, old person. So he went through her closets. In one closet he found a door in the back wall. Heart beating in trepidation, he opened the door, ready to step through to a new and fascinating world. Instead he found a small room full of canned peaches. But he went back and told his friends that he really did go to Narnia and told them all about his adventures there.
I once convinced my kindergarten class I was catwoman’s daughter. In second grade I convinced my babysitter’s kids that I was actually an elf who was going to die unless they believed in santa. I convinced my third grade class I had telepathy. In fourth grade I had baby twin sisters, until my mom put a firm stop to that rumor, and in fifth grade I matured enough to realize I could just write this stuff down instead of lying to everyone.
It’s crazy, and probably a bit self-absorbed, how much of myself I saw in the writers at the conference. The way they talked to each other, the way they talked about writing, about reading, about their nerdy childhoods. That was me. Every bit of it was me. Except this one story.
Mull got a call from the Make A Wish foundation about a little boy who wished to hear the end of the series before he died. Of course he told the boy the ending, but the entire experience changed him forever because books are an escape for everyone, but he never thought about what everyone might be escaping FROM. And if the only thing his books ever accomplish is THAT, he’ll die happy.
They were both really amazing. YALLFEST was a great conference. I highly recommend it.