Casey Blair (@CaseyLBlair)
By my senior year of college, I had never been to a conference or convention even loosely related to science fiction and fantasy. But our college was hosting a convention for all stripes of nerds—those of us who loved anime, video games, comics, and books—and although I knew nothing about conventions, I’d gotten involved with the staff once I’d learned they had a library of science fiction and fantasy books that was totally disorganized and uncatalogued. I couldn’t let that stand, clearly; how would people find fabulous books to read?
I was researching local authors who might be able to attend our college’s convention, and I found myself on Tamora Pierce’s website, where she’d posted she would be at a conference called Sirens that fall. So I looked Sirens up and saw that it was about women, fantasy, warriors, and books; it was about thinking about all of those things academically, like they mattered and deserved deep analysis, and about being excited about them in the best way. I had no idea such a gathering that seemed like it was practically made for me could exist, and I reminded myself that if something seems too good to be true it probably is. I saw that Sirens was happening in Colorado, and I was in New York. I ran over to my housemate from Denver and asked if she knew where Vail was.
Within the week, we’d bought our registrations and our plane tickets to Colorado. I met Tamora Pierce and managed to contain my instinctive fangirl reaction long enough to invite her to our college convention, which she agreed to attend. And I learned that Sirens was not, in fact, too good to be true; it was everything I had hoped for.