Last week, bestselling YA author Renée Ahdieh embarked on a virtual tour to celebrate her latest novel, The Damned (Putnam), the second book in The Beautiful series. The tour featured events with four notable women authors, digitally co-hosted by independent bookstores across the country. We’ve gathered a selection of highlights from the events, which featured face masks, cosplay, q&as, and more.
Ahdieh (r.) took to Crowdcast with Sabaa Tahir, author of the An Ember in the Ashes series, for a Gothic pajama party, in partnership with Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Va. Guests were encouraged to wear their pajamas, and in support of #BlackOutTuesday, proceeds from the night benefitted Black-owned bookstores. Here, Ahdieh introduces her book, which continues the escapades of vampire Sébastien Saint Germain, 17-year-old Celine Rousseau, and the immortal sects of the Fallen and the Brotherhood in 1872 New Orleans.
In keeping with the pajama party theme, the authors put on facial masks as they talked.
Wednesday night’s event was called “Spill THE DAMNED Tea with Renée and Roshani,” and featured Ahdieh (l.) in conversation with Roshani Chokshi, author of the Gilded Wolves trilogy. Books & Books, an indie bookstore chain in Florida, broadcast the discussion live on Crowdcast.
On Thursday, Ahdieh donned Victorian vampire cosplay with Holly Black (The Queen of Nothing) (l.) in a conversation presented by Main Street Books in St. Charles, Mo. Ahdieh said she loved “when Holly showed up with fangs, undead makeup, and a fantastic hat.”
Ahdieh herself donned a custom dress by a seamstress who creates historically accurate period clothing.
The tour drew to a close Friday evening, when Marie Lu (The Kingdom of Bach) (l.) joined Ahdieh for a P&PLive! session. Part of the literary colloquium series by Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C., the event was entitled “Undead Q&A from Six Feet Away.”
Calling the tour a “collaborative process,” Ahdieh regarded the inclusion of authors who “might not have been local” as a definite benefit of the virtual format. “I am so lucky to be friends with these amazing authors and inspiring humans,” Ahdieh said, “and it was wonderful to chat with each of them, laugh, and answer such thought-provoking questions.”
Still, she misses the face-to-face opportunity “to interact more with readers,” and while she works on her next book in the series, she “can’t wait to see if readers love The Damned as much as [she] enjoyed writing it.”