YALLFest Recap from the Wentworth Mansion

There was lots of reading, writing and book signing happening in Charleston last weekend. Not only did thousands of librarians flock to the Holy City for an annual conference, but 45 of America's most popular Young Adult authors gathered together for YALLFest. The second year event was set at our favorite locally-owned bookstore, Blue Bicycle Books, and is described as "Comicon for lovers of Young Adult literature." The Wentworth Mansion had the pleasure of hosting some of the country's top Young Adult (YA) authors during the second-year festival. We felt pretty special and are hoping these New York Times Best Selling Authors' creativity has rubbed off on us... Charleston is undoubtedly an inspiring place. We had a blast watching the Twittersphere buzz (photos above from authors Deb Harkness and Magaret Stohl!) with YALLFest excitement, following the authors as they explored the city- some for the first time. Michelle Mankin, our guest, YALLFest exhibitor and author, was one of those first time visitors. On the eve of YALLFest, Michelle took some time out of her day to chat with us. We caught up over a glass of lemonade in the Wentworth Mansion's Rodger's Library - a setting only fitting to talk books. The Texas native is 2/3rds of the way through her first foray into the young adult literary world. At the time we chatted, Michelle was excitedly approaching the release of her second book, a follow up to her first: Love Evolution. Though she began her career in the insurance business, Michelle has the spirit of a musician and felt a strong pull towards the literary world. She merged her two passions together and was inspired to write Love Evolution, a rock n' roll adaptation of Shakespeare's play Twelfth Night. The novels, mainly set in Vancouver, British Columbia, are not only inspired by her love of rock music, but her travels. Without spilling too many details, Michelle weaves the places she's visited into her novels. In her second and newly released novel, Love Revolution, Michelle takes her characters' band Brutal Strength on tour through some of her favorite cities across America. She's already planning the band's tour schedule for the third and final book of the series. As our conversation drifted to Michelle's adventures through Charleston- starting with relaxing in her luxurious room at the Mansion, checking out the hot restaurant scene and walking through nearby neighborhoods South of Broad - I began to suspect Brutal Strength might schedule a concert here in the Holy City. But - we'll just have to wait and see! You can learn more about Michelle Mankin's books on her website. Thank you, Michelle, for spending some time with us! Whether you're a writer, a reader or a literature-lover, don't miss out on YALLFest next year. Stay posted for the 2013 festival dates. In the meantime, visit the Wentworth Mansion online to see our inspiring space, set in the heart of downtown Charleston.

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