One of the really cool things about writing a book that I had no expectation for is that I would be asked to be on expert panels to discuss all things writing. I recently attended the Creatures, Crime and Creativity Author’s Conference in September and was placed on two very different panels. The first was titled: Killing Writer’s Block – Getting the Story onto the Page. It was moderated by a fantastic author and new friend of mine, J.R. White. This was the first panel I’ve ever been on, and we rocked it.

The second panel had me very excited/nervous, but at least I was smart enough to ask a member of the audience to take a picture for me. It was on world building and to me, if the world building isn’t there, the story is a failure. No amount of character development or plotting can save it. Now what exactly did they expect me to contribute? I’m a debut author with a book out for less than two months. What I discovered is that when speaking with other authors, everyone focuses on the prose. I have never encountered anyone with an over-inflated ego at these types of conferences.

Pictured:  Me, F.J. Talley, Vaughn Jackson, Sherrilyn McQueen, Phil Giunta (Moderator)

What I didn’t realize until the panel started, was that we had writing royalty among us. Author Sherrilyn McQueen (a.k.a. Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kinley MacGregor) is an international bestselling author with over 70 million copies in print in over 100 countries. She has her own Wikipedia page. Her career spans over forty years and she is the most down to earth, humble person you will ever meet. We were a very diverse panel (in experience too) and everyone had their own unique take on world building.

There was plenty of discussions about all things writing over the two and a half days, but my two takeaways are that to a fault, authors are humble and helpful. Who knew that writing a book would catapult me into an “expert” status?