This past weekend in Columbia SC, I attended my first ever SC Book Festival as a featured author, and it was such a great experience.  The big draw was Pat Conroy, but there was plenty of top-notch talent in attendance.  I was part of a panel called, Kidlit 101: Grabbing readers with Graphic Novels; alongside writer and renaissance man Alex Simmons (Archie Comics, Kids Comic Con, Disney Books) and Jeremy Whitley (writer/creator-Princeless, writer for NFL RushZone & My Little Pony).  the panel was moderated by the charming Qiana Whitted, literary professor at USC.  Topics discussed ranged from diversity in comics to creator-owned publishing.  We had a solid crowd that represented all age ranges, some casual readers, educators and hopeful writers.  Our session was well received, and a brief Q & A ended the session.  I personally attended several sessions as well over the course of 2 days, and my favorite was a trio of middle grade authors who were all different in their writing approach and the type of stories they tell- but they jelled well together.  The 3 were: Kwame Alexander (The Crossover, He Said/She Said), Deron Hicks (Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave, Tower of the Five Orders) and Kami Kinard (The Boy Problem: Notes and Predictions of Tabitha Reddy).  I just finished reading Hicks’ Secrets of Shakespeare’s Grave’, and thoroughly enjoyed it- most kids who love mysteries will eat this up.  Definitely 5 stars; kind of reminds me of Dan Brown’s The DaVincci Code, which I am a fan of.  The festival is FREE and open to the public each year, as it is a program of the Humanities Council SC, and so I thank all of the donors who helped to make this event possible; it drew over 6,000 attendees to the convention center.  Kudos also to the army of volunteers who made sure everything went smoothly; and I mean to tell you- this was one well-organized festival!  Just a pleasure to be a part of.  I hope to see YOU there next year!