Hi, reader peeps!
Today, we have a guest on the blog: Ariel Kalati, one of the team members of Ch21Con! Welcome to Spiral-Bound, Ariel!
So for this post, I will be interviewing Ariel, asking some questions about the conference, about writing, and a couple not so serious questions. So let’s jump right in! (I will be in bold and Ariel’s text will be standard.)
Tell us a little about yourself.
Well, I’m a current senior at Sarah Lawrence College (though I’ll have graduated by the time of this year’s conference- aah!) and I’m studying writing, literature, and social sciences. I want to be involved in education and community building, so Chapter One Events has always been kind of the best job. I’ve been writing since I was, like, six years old, and the written word is still my favorite thing.
That is awesome! Congratulations on your upcoming graduation!
Tell us about Ch1Events and how you got started with it.
I was one of the mythical original founders of Chapter One Events. Basically, when I was ten, I used to spend my time on a writing forum for kids, where I made some great friends. And then, one of those friends, Julia, had the idea for us to meet up and host a mini writing conference amongst ourselves. The first Ch1Con is still one of my best memories, because it made me realize how great it is to spend time with other like-minded young writers. Since then, the conference has been expanding, and now we’ve taken that goal of spending time with and educating other young writers, and turned it into a whole array of online events, a second conference (Ch21Con), and tons of cool things like contests and our mentorship program.
I’m really excited about the first Ch21Con. What are you most excited about for Ch21Con this year?
Oh wow, I don’t even know! I think I’m really excited about the speakers this year, although we always have cool speakers. Christine Herman’s Twitter account is super cool and her upcoming book sounds awesome, so I can’t wait to hear what she’s going to talk about. Karuna Riazi, who wrote THE GAUNTLET, which I love, spoke at Ch1Con 2015, and now she’s coming back, which I’m thrilled about! And our very own Allison Mulder has the best puns and gives the best publishing advice, so I’m ready for that, too. But honestly, the main event of any Chapter One Event is pizza, I think, so I guess my answer is the pizza.
Pizza is definitely one of the best parts of a Chapter One Event.
The Chapter One Events give teens and young adults a chance to learn from young authors. What is something that you learned from a Ch1Con speaker?
Honestly, I would probably have to make a giant list and analyze it in, like, a spreadsheet or something, to be able to pick the most important things I’ve learned from Ch1Con speakers, because they all are so inspiring. For me personally, hearing Susan Dennard talk about how she went from being a scientist to being a writer was really inspirational, and it taught me that having several interests doesn’t mean that your interest in writing is invalid. I also loved Kody Keplinger’s keynote address last year, where she told us that failure is okay, and that trying at something counts.
Both very good things to learn! Susan Dennard has been one of my favorite speakers.
Let’s step away from Ch1Con questions for a minute. So, what are you reading lately?
Well, lately it’s been chapters from my Human Rights Advocacy textbook, because I’ve got lots of schoolwork. I am very slowly listening to “Good Omens” as an audiobook though. Once I graduate, I’m going to try and put more reading into my schedule. Ideally. If the “real world” doesn’t kill me.
What do you like to do when you aren’t reading or writing or are busy with schoolwork?
Well, I’m a big fan of eating food. I also like watching TV shows, like Parks and Recreation or Steven Universe. I love art history, so going to art museums is fun. Pretty much just introvert nerd stuff like that.
Being an introvert nerd is fun.
What are your favorite and least favorite tropes?
Ooh, good question! My favorite tropes are definitely things like, fun upbeat messy person makes friends with/falls in love with/has to team up with cranky organized overachiever person. And I also love witches and woodland sprites and stuff. My least favorite tropes are pretty much mostly misogynistic tropes, like “girl is super shy and boy is mean to her but in a romantic way somehow” and stuff like that.
I love magic folklore-sy tropes like woodland sprites.
What is your favorite use of tomatoes? (I said there would be less than serious questions.)
Ah, tomatoes… Tomatoes are excellent when simply pureed, spread over a flour dough, then add some olive oil and mozzarella and cook it in an oven. Basically I’m saying pizza. Pizza is the priority.
Pizza is absolutely a priority. I agree 100%.
Finally, because no Ch1Con interview would be complete without this question, what item from the Panera Bread menu are you? (Disclaimer: I have never eaten Panera Bread, but I’ve been assured that will be remedied at the conference this year.)
Oh, the most important question. I want to say that I’m the Kitchen Sink cookie, because I have a lot of different elements to my personality, but they add up to something sweet that is a little too much at times.
That is a very poetic description. Thank you so much for letting me interview you!
I hope guys enjoyed the interview. You can find Ariel on her Twitter here. And if you’re interested in either Ch1Con or Ch21Con, you can find out more here. The conference is August 4, so get signed up quick! We have awesome stuff planned for all.