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Event Details

February 6, 2023
7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


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Virtual - The Challenges of Being a Debut Author featuring Chelsea Banning *For Teens and Adults

Monday, February 6, 2023

Debut author (and librarian) Chelsea Banning was very excited to publish her first book, "Of Crown and Legends". And then came the book signing where only 2 people showed up and the Twitter storm of support when Chelsea posted about the experience. Now, we speak with Chelsea in conversation with debut authors Laura Gao, Brian D. Kennedy, Jean Louise, and XiXi Tian to chat about the challenges and joys of getting your first book out in the world.

If you have not seen Chelsea's Tweet storm, you should check it out! responses from some of the biggest names in publishing, sharing their stories of book signings gone awry. It's must read!

You can buy signed books (by bookplate) from any of our authors from Bank Square Books. Just write that you would like the book signed in the notes section at checkout.

Buy signed books by Chelsea, Laura, Brian, Jean, and XiXi

Our authors:

Chelsea Banning

Chelsea Banning is a writer, reader, and lover of all things fantasy. Chelsea started writing in 10th grade and hasn't stopped since. She started writing Flash-Fictions that bloomed into novels. Along with writing, she has worked at Renaissance Faires on the street cast, directing fairy guilds, announcing and squiring at joust shows with her husband, and working clothing booths. She also owned a small performing business offering various fairytale and superhero characters for kids for seven years. Chelsea currently lives in Ohio with her family where she works as a librarian and also loves to go camping, swimming, and exploring. 

Laura Gao:

Laura Gao is a queer artist, author, bread lover, and continental drifter. Originally from Wuhan, China, Laura immigrated to Texas where their art career began by doodling on Pokémon cards and has since blossomed to be featured on NPR, the Museum of Chinese in America, and most notably, their parents’ fridge. Having graduated with a degree in Statistics from the University of Pennsylvania, Laura became favorite child #2 of 2 when they decided to dive into the arts instead. 

Thankfully, their graphic memoir, MESSY ROOTS, debuted on the 2022 Indies Bestsellers List and has been shortlisted for the Harvey Awards and the Texas Maverick List. Besides drawing and fending off early-onset back pain, Laura enjoys biking through Ghibli-esque worlds and binging SNL. Laura’s pronouns are she/her and they/them.

Brian D. Kennedy:

Brian D. Kennedy writes books for young adults. Born and raised in Minnesota, he now lives in New York City with his husband and their very photogenic dog. When he’s not writing, Brian can be found working at an LGBTQ non-profit. His slightly unhealthy obsessions include: seeing as many Broadway shows as possible, buying weird trinkets off eBay, and all things Dolly Parton.  His debut, A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY, was published June 7th, 2022. 

Jean Louise:

Jean Louise grew up with her mother and two sisters in an old Victorian house on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. Although she always loved making up stories, the idea of becoming a YA fantasy author wasn’t anything she’d ever considered until she was in her twenties. Her first short story was a romance novel parody that ended up being a hit among her friends. After that success, she started writing seriously, which led to her earning an MFA in Writing for Children at The New School. Her debut YA Fantasy novel, Waking Fire, will be released on January 10, 2023!

Currently, she lives in Long Island, New York, with her cat Martha. When she’s not working at her day job or writing her next novel, Jean can be found with her nose buried in a graphic novel or taking down bad guys in her favorite video games. 

Fun Fact: Her full first name is Jean-Paul!

XiXi Tian:

My name is pronounced like two C's. Just getting it out there upfront now after years of awkward classroom roll calls and failing to correct people who mispronounce it for months (it's too late after awhile!).

I was born in China and grew up in central Illinois, where I lived most of my life.

I went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and then Harvard Law School, studying practical things, while writing a laundry list of original fiction that never got published and a healthy dose of fan fiction. 

Now, I live in Brooklyn with my husband and our cat Umberto, who is the primary feature of my Instagram. When I'm not writing, I'm usually doing the other time-consuming thing that pays me: being a tech lawyer. 

My first novel, THIS PLACE IS STILL BEAUTIFUL, was released Spring 2022 with Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins.

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We're thrilled to be collaborating with a multitude of MA Libraries to bring this program to our communities.

This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Ashland Public Library and in partnership with the Medway Public Library

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