A new monthly Q&A series hosted on Google Hangout gives fans a chance to connect with some of YA literature’s star authors. Ask! Authors! Anything! with Megan McCafferty debuted on March 24, when McCafferty, author of the Jessica Darling and Jessica Darling’s It List series, interviewed Sarah Dessen with input from students from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders in Austin, Tex. On the second episode, scheduled for April 21, McCafferty will interview Laurie Halse Anderson, and her guest on the May 19 installment will be Rita Williams-Garcia. Gayle Forman will be featured in June.
Viewers who sign on to Google Hangout to watch livestreams of the webcasts can ask the spotlighted author questions via the Ask! Authors! Anything! Tumblr page or Twitter (@meganmcafferty). Fans can also submit questions in advance of the episodes.
“The beauty of this series is that with today’s technology, we can bring together authors, fans online, and a ‘live audience’ of students from anywhere in the country,” said McCafferty, who explained that she hosted the inaugural episode, from her hometown of Princeton, N.J.; Dessen was in Chapel Hill, N.C.; and the students joined in from their Texas school.
Teachers, librarians, and booksellers can contact the author via these same channels if they are interested in having their students or tween or teen book club participate in future episodes of the series (the Ann Richards School is lined up as the audience through June). “I didn’t want this series to be simply two authors talking,” McCafferty explained. “I view the students as co-hosts, and with readers getting into the conversation with their questions, it really becomes an interactive event.”
After each live webcast, YA fans can view clips of the interview highlights on Amy Poehler’s website Smart Girls at the Party. “I have long been a fan of Amy Poehler and of her site, whose tagline is ‘Change the World by Being Yourself,’ ” McCafferty said. “I’m very pleased to have the web series associated with the site, and that excerpts from Ask! Authors! Anything! episodes will live on there.”