Dozens of children lined up to meet Susan Cooper, an award-winning children’s fantasy author, after she delivered a lecture on Friday night.
Her speech was just the start of the first Puyallup Festival of Books, hosted by the Puyallup Public Library. The library also is celebrating its 100th anniversary.
Cooper was the first Jim Taylor Memorial lecturer. Taylor was a popular English teacher in the Puyallup School District.
Cooper spoke about her life and how she became an author.
“I majored in English, which isn’t such a wise thing, I’ve heard,” she said.
When Cooper moved to the United States and had to fill out paperwork, she “finally had the courage to write the magic word, ‘writer,’” as her occupation, she said.
Cooper told the audience that imagination is the key to writing.
“Ideas are seeds that fall by accident,” she said.
The simplest things can cause inspiration, she added.
“Many have seen a farm,” Cooper said. “But only one of us wrote ‘Charlotte’s Web.’”
Cooper told the audience about her inspiration for her novel, “Ghost Hawk.”
When she bought Cooper Island, she realized it belonged to someone before her. It also belonged to the Native Americans before that.
Although her novel is fantasy, she wanted it to be accurate. Cooper read countless academic articles to inform herself of Native American culture.
But the festival had more than just lectures.
MINI COMIC CON
The festival was filled with storytellers, music and a mini Comic Con.
Flocks of cosplayers flooded the activity center near the library. Comic book fans played video games, such as “Smash Brothers,” and a plethora of card and board games.
Graphic novelists and comic writers shared their work with people dressed as Anime characters.
The artists led panel discussions that ranged from being a fan to actually supporting themselves as artists.
“Everyone here makes a living,” said Joke Richmond, creator of web comic “Modest Medusa.” “But we’re very poor.”
The panel of comic writers discussed keys to success.
“Anyone can do it,” Richmond said. “It takes skill, talent and work ethic.”
A common theme was how to create and post content regularly.
A couple of the writers learned to produce content while they were in school – when they had to. To get passing grades, they had to actually do their homework.
But Richmond did not go to art school. He just drew a lot and became a freelance artist.
“I almost starved and became homeless,” Richmond said.
Everyone on the panel agreed that having their peers critique their work is beneficial.
Ben Hsu, creator of Dubious Company, another web comic, said, “When you put things on the Internet, it’s scary and rewarding.”
Hsu’s critics told him when his comic was good, and when it was terrible.
After the cosplayers finished learning how to become a web comic, many attended the Fandom Dance at the library.
Cosplayers received prizes based on three categories: most creative, best handmade and best in character.