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Friday, September 21, 2018

Scott Westerfeld Launch Event Wrap-Up + Giveaway!

Last week, I was invited to a pre-launch event to chat with Scott Westerfeld about his new book in the Uglies universe. Today, I'm going to share with you some of what happened!

I was invited to this event by I Read YA for a Q&A with Scott Westerfeld to celebrate the launch of Imposters. The event was filled with laughter, good coffee, sweets, ominous piano music, talk of hoverboards, and more! In this post, I'll be sharing some of the things I learned about this new addition to the Uglies universe, plus some other fun goodies. But before we get into the details about the event, here are some details about the book!

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pub. Date: September 11, 2018
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository
Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But Frey's very existence is a secret.

Frey is Rafi’s twin sister—and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must.

When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor—as poised and charming as her sister. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As the deal starts to crumble, Frey must decide if she can trust him with the truth . . . and if she can risk becoming her own person.

With Impostors, master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a new series set in the world of his mega-bestselling Uglies—a world full of twist and turns, rebellion and intrigue, where any wrong step could be Frey’s last.

Scott Westerfeld is the New York Times bestselling author of the UGLIES series, which has been translated into 35 languages; the Leviathan series; Afterworlds; Horizon; and many other books for young readers. He was born in Texas and alternates summers between Sydney, Australia and New York City.
Connect with Scott: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

So the reason (besides the fact that it's a great trailer) that I put this here is because Scott actually brought the hoverboard from the trailer to the pre-launch event! There is also a second trailer that is more specific to Imposters, which you can watch on Scott Westerfeld's website here.

I'm going to let you guys hear him talk about it.

There were several people at the event who hadn't read The Uglies books prior to reading Imposters, and Westerfeld was really intrigued about that. According to them, you can totally read Imposters without having read the other books in the series beforehand, and it doesn't take away from the story itself!

Here is what Westerfeld had to say about this: 

Scott Westerfeld: I mean, I do think that any good science fiction novel feels like it's the fourth book in the trilogy, because there's time between. You know, if you're really in the deep future, like 300 years or so, once you get out there, a lot of stuff has happened. And if you don't sense that, it doesn’t work. I always try to do that. I’m always trying to make it feel like stuff has happened in the past.

There's the old trick they always did on Star Trek where they would—it was called the Star Trek Rule of Three, where they would say, “ the Magna Carta, the Constitution, the Humanoid Chronicles of SETI 4.” They would always list three things, moving in time, two of which you'd heard of, and one of which was in between then and now, and so it was their past and our future. I always try to sort of generate that stuff in my work.

But it was weird in this case to actually have the documents there and for it to be a real thing. I remember when the first draft went to my agent, she had one of her junior agents who hadn't read Uglies read it and they just kept a list of everything that was completely unintelligible. So I went through and was pretty careful and cautious about not just assuming everybody's read Uglies, because that's bad, but also, obviously, people read it 10 years ago. I didn't remember half of that stuff.

But at the same time, I wanted it to feel not like exposition, not like an info dump, not like, you know, " Previously on…", but to feel more like those books didn't exist and you were reading a book where it's simply set in a culture that succeeded this other culture. It’s not just that Impostors is a different place or it's not that it’s just tacked on. It's really a place that's coming out of—like you said, coming out of a revolution.

I always kind of wanted to read—there are some Conan books after he becomes the king and he's not a barbarian anymore, and he's got to deal with making laws and shit. It’s kind of terrible, and of course I think what happened in those books, ultimately, is he goes back to being a barbarian, which is unsatisfying. It would be really interesting to read Conan Does His Taxes. There is something kind of interesting about that, too.

So I liked being back in that world, but not of that world, like getting back into the world, but then saying—I learned the language, but I had to break the rules as well.

The above transcript was provided by I Read YA from this event.

I especially agree with Westerfeld about how good science fiction novels feel like the fourth book in a series. I always prefer to discover the world in a book as if I should already know it, because it feels much more fluid and natural than a bunch of info-dumping. 

Scott also talked about what it was like to go back into the Uglies universe again, and what it was like to relearn the language and the world: 

Scott Westerfeld: It was about 10 years from my last writing to my first writing, so a 10-year gap. Because Extras came out in 2007, I finished writing it in 2007—it was a very late book. I started this in earnest—well, I guess 2016, so about nine years. And the first thing I had to do, the most important thing I think, was to relearn that language. There’s obviously all the slang, like “ bubblehead” and “ happy-making” and “ nervous-making”, all that sort of Pretties slang. But that's just the slang part, and that part had always been kicked back at me on Twitter and other places by kids who speak it and like to tweet me and write to me using that language.

But there's another subtler thing that I realized. I would start to write, and I would use the word police, and I was like, police? Like, is that word anywhere in the Uglies series? Because it's a very particular word that implies a very certain set of power relationships, relationships between the state and people that aren't necessarily of that world. So I made myself this one, big, giant document, which was everything in the Uglies world, and I would just do a word search, and police didn't come up. And I was like, “ Well, what would they call them?” And then I realized, “ Oh, yeah, they're ‘wardens’,” which is a very different vibe and a very different feel.

I had to learn all that language, which was just word substitution, but it was really—I think one of the reasons why the Uglies series has been successful is that its language conveys the ideology of that world. It’s almost a little bit of an Orwellian society, so the language has been pared back and a lot of words are missing. So I kept checking words to make sure, is this an Uglies word? Does this word belong in the Ugly universe? And when it didn't, then it would pop out into this sort of Machiavelli end of things.

The above transcript was provided by I Read YA from this event.

After the pre-launch event was over, we headed over to the launch event itself that was being held at a Barnes and Noble not too far away. The MC for this event was the beloved Dhonielle Clayton, author of the recently published The Belles, co-author of Tiny Pretty Things books, and the COO of the non-profit We Need Diverse Books. Dhonielle really showed off her fangirl side during this Q&A. She is a fan of the original Uglies books, and it's always fun to see authors be excited readers, just like us!

It was a really fun night, and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it! 

Have you read Impostors? Have you read the Uglies series? Are these books on your TBR? Let me know!


  1. Wow, the trailers are great! They don't make enough cool book trailers like they used to! Sounds like it was a fun event!

  2. This sounds great and I'm glad to hear that you don't have to have read Uglies for the story to make sense. That one has been on my TBR forever and I just haven't managed to get to it yet. I also like that it sounds like the author really tries not to info dump if at all possible.

  3. This sounds like it was so much fun, and I love that Dhonielle moderated- she's a riot. I've actually never read Uglies but that's crazy that hes returning to the world 10 years later!

  4. I used to love Uglies and this book makes me remember those feelings!
    (Best way to contact me is on instagram @summer.chris)

  5. This looked like it was so much fun. I really love seeing launch and author events on people's blogs because I rarely get to do anything like it. Not a lot of authors that I read come to Belgium so it's at least nice to read about. :D

  6. So I LOVE this book. So much. And I wasn't even a huge fan of the first bunch of Uglies books, actually. I liked book one enough, but the rest were just meh for me- but this one blew me away! I love his answers too! It definitely can be read alone, too! Thanks for sharing this!

  7. I read the first book of the Uglies series, but never finished it! I'm not sure why... life? Ugh, I need to go back and re-read the first book and then continue the rest of the series. I'm glad they're not required to understand this newest one, but they're still books I want to read. I can't believe he's adding another book to this series!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear?

  8. I'm a huge fan of the Uglies series, but somehow managed to completely miss that this was coming out. It looks so much up my street, I can't wait to get my hands on it! Seems like a wonderful event, and Scott is really interesting to read thoughts from I have to say.

    I so wish more publishers would do book trailers - these are fantastic, I want more!

    Elisabeth |

  9. I've not read any of the books in the Uglies series yet. I really should give them a try because I think that the concept is so amazing. I loved the hoverboard video. How cool?! :)

  10. I can't wait to read this! Thanks for sharing. dhammelef(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. Sounds like it was a great time. I haven't read anything by Westerfield yet. I know I have something on my Kindle, though. 👍✨

  12. YAY :D Glad you had an awesome time at this event Brittany. <3 Thank you for sharing all about it :) Hugs. I have not read any of the books by this author, ack, but sort of curious about them :)

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Awesome blog. I enjoyed reading your articles. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work! brittany tilleman

  15. He was meaning to purchase the novel for a long time. I knew of this fact from his wife, Laura, and so I bought and presented the mammoth novel to him. Laura took countless pictures of the party with her digital camera in order to immortalize the event.exotic dancers near me

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  17. I remember I had a similar experience, so I know your mood well, good luck, By the way,I like cheap custom hats

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