Andy Weir

On July 18th, Andy Weir, author of The Martian and Artemis, visited the Norman P Murray center. After his introduction, he talked about how he “accidentally “ became an author. As a child, his Father had many science-fiction novels on his bookshelf. Weir, reflecting on this, said  he was “doomed to become a nerd.” He read those novels, and fell in love with those books because of the extensive focus on science in them.

At 15, he was hired by Sandia labs to be an intern. There, he was introduced to computers and fell in love with them. His passion for writing also kept increasing at this time. When the time to choose a college came, he wanted to write, but “wanted regular meals,” so he chose to pursue software engineering. In college, he was in debt and was not able to complete his degree. Fortunately, the software industry was desperate for engineers, so Weir was hired. Eventually, he landed a job at aol, but was laid off. He had enough money from stocks to pursue his dream of writing, but was unsuccessful, and went back to software engineering.

In the early 2000s, Weir made a website to publish his stories on. He would publish longer stories, and post a chapter at a time. His fanbase loved one in particular: the one about a man stranded on Mars. Dubbed, The Martian, it rose to popularity among his dedicated core group of “nerd readers.” One day, he got an email requesting him to create downloadable versions of his writing. So, he proceeded to self-publish on Amazon.

Initially, he was hesitant about that because of the minimum purchase price because he always wanted his work to be free. However, people did not mind paying the price, and he had people who wanted to donate to him. He said he did not want any donations because he was comfortable in his life. People, however, “donated” to him by purchasing his ebook on Amazon. Eventually, it rose to do the top ten in the science fiction category on the Amazon bookstore.

From there, he was approached by an agent and The Martian was eventually published by Random House. Once it was released, it was #2 on The New York Times Bestseller List, and the movie deal was confirmed with 20th Century Fox. After the immense success of The Martian, Weir wrote Artemis. This novel is about the first human establishment on the moon, and it is in the perspective of a 26 year-old women, and how she is entangled within various struggles.

As a writer, Weir aims to write 1000 words a day, and states that the “hardest part of writing is writing.” For aspiring writers, he has three pieces of advice: 1) In order to be a writer, you have to write. Sitting there and thinking about your story is not the same as writing. 2) Resist the urge to tell your story to other people until it is done because it saps your own will to finish the story. 3) There has never been a better time to self-publish. Because of this, there is no need to spend so much money on an agent, and by self-publishing, one can see how their book does without any risk of losing money. Seeing Andy Weir was a great opportunity, and I loved hearing him talk about his life and writing. I can’t wait to see what will happen with Weir;s future works, and if there are more movies adapted from his work.

-Anmol K.

The works of Andy Weir are available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library

Authors We Love: Meg Cabot

Monday, August 7, boys and girls of varying ages gathered at the Norman P. Murray Center to get the chance to listen to author, Meg Cabot. As a child, Cabot always had a special place in her heart for writing. Growing up, she admired princesses, particularly, Princess Leia from the movie franchise, Star Wars. This inspired her to write stories based off of princesses. It wasn’t until the age of seven when Cabot began creating her own short stories. She is most recognized for her series, Princess Diaries, which Disney later turned into a movie starring Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews.

Cabot attended Indiana University where she hoped to pursue her writing dream. However, she decided to major in art, rather than writing, as she was told not to sign up for the course by a fellow student (who happened to be a creative writing major) at a college party. He warned her that the class would “suck the love of creative writing out of you.” Although she listened to her peer, Cabot attended multiple writing classes while studying at Indiana University until she graduated.

Cabot’s next chapter in life brought her to New York City where she worked as an illustrator. There, she was brought face to face (once again) with the man from the college party. When she asked him why he had convinced her to become an art major and not focus on writing, he answered, “because I was drunk!” In between her work, she still found time to create her own stories. Following the death of her father, Cabot attempted her first publication. His sudden passing brought her to realize that she wouldn’t get anywhere in her writing career if she kept putting opportunities off.

After many publication rejections, Cabot got her first book approved when she was thirty. In addition to the Princess Diaries, she has also written complete series including The Mediator, Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls, Avalon High, All American Girl, and much more. Combined, she has published over fifty books! Her new series, From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, is a continuation of the Princess Diaries. It follows the life of Princess Olivia, the half sister of Princess Mia, (the main character from the Princess Diaries) as she discovers the ups and downs of being royalty.

It was such a great opportunity being able to listen to Meg Cabot talk about her past experiences and accomplishments. I am currently reading her young adult series, The Mediator, and am loving every page of the books! Her stories pull me in and all I want to do is finish it in a single sitting. I’ve also watched the Princess Diaries countless times and always find it as intriguing as the first time I saw it. I really enjoyed attending this event and can’t wait to see what Meg Cabot comes up with in the future!

-Skyler K.

Mission Viejo Library’s Teen Anime Club

Can’t find the right club for you because you’re a huge otaku (someone obsessed with all things anime and manga) like me and wish there was a club to watch anime, socialize with people and try fun new Japaneses snacks? Well the Mission Viejo Library’s Anime Club is for you!

On the second Saturday of each month the club gathers and spends two hours watching anime. The anime consists of older and recently released shows covering genres like sci-fi, action, and so on. While watching anime you can try an array of different Japanese snacks with different but unique tastes, which are spread out on a table. My personal favorites would have to be the “fake” ice cream cones, Hello Panda, and Pocky. I enjoy any type of sweet Japanese treats and this club fulfills my wishes. Furthermore, socializing with other people is easy in the club because they have a lot in common with you. If you prefer not to socialize with those not yet your friends, you can always bring a friend and share your fun experiences with them – like I did. I brought my best friend Emma and she enjoyed her first time as much as I did. We have attended the club meetings and together, we try to gain an ‘Anime Trivia’ streak. I also enjoy bring the ‘Bring a manga-take a manga’ shelf, although I have not contributed any yet. Next time I go I certainly will. I enjoy the club so much – it has opened me up to so many more anime genres and I have developed a new love for Dragon Ball Z.

Overall, the library’s Teen Anime Club is a great place to meet new friends, watch amazing anime and eat yummy snacks, share and review different opinions on  anime and so much more. I enjoy this club so much and definitely will keep coming back.

-Brenya B.

The Mission Viejo Library Anime Club meets on the second Saturday of every month from 1pm to 3pm in the Friend’s Storytime Room. Permission slips are required and can be downloaded online

Arts Alive Festival 2016

The annual Art’s Alive Festival is hosted by Mission Viejo at the Norman P. Murray Center. This year’s event took place on April 30 and May 1 with a 90’s theme. Street painters, youth or adult, come to showcase their skills. There are great booths set up with fun activities like henna tattoos, cookie walks, and just little shops with paintings, clothes, and plants to buy. There’s always music playing when you walk in and musicians on the stage. It’s a fun event to visit that allows you to be involved with the community.

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As a street painter for the last two years, I love coming to the festival and presenting artwork as an artist, even if it’s something I’m not known for. There were many interpretations of the theme this year, but a popular one seemed to be Disney, especially The Lion King. My friends and I decided to draw a 90’s cartoon.

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There were also a few Pokémon and Nirvana drawings. And how could you forget the 90’s hit show, Friends?

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This year’s paintings were very colorful and vibrant. It was impressive to see what some of the artists could draw, even the younger kids were able to shade the paintings almost perfectly, which brought the festival to life. All the festivals held by Mission Viejo are worth checking out to get an up-close view of what our community means to us and how we celebrate it.

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-Sabrina C., 10th Grade