Kids reading Joe Kelly's young-adult graphic novel "I Kill Giants" might recognize Long Island -- the town is based on Port Washington, and the Birch Middle School is named after Kelly's children's school in Merrick.
"For a story to mean something to you, it has to come from a recognizable place in your life. That's going to be the thrust of what I'm talking about," says Kelly, who will speak at the third annual Authors Unlimited young adult literature festival Saturday at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue. That meaning might be a name, location or emotional experience.
A dozen young-adult authors will arrive at the festival in a stretch limousine and walk a red carpet. After a panel discussion, participants choose three 40-minute breakout sessions. This year, a "Fast Pass" preregistration at authorsunlimited.org/event.php offers the first 200 registrants a goody bag and T-shirt, says Barbara Moon, youth services consultant for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, which co-sponsors the event with St. Joseph's.
Here are four authors who will be there.
WHAT HE'S WRITTEN "I Kill Giants," (Image Comics, $15), which won the International Manga Award in 2012. It's about a social outcast convinced a giant is coming to her seaside town.
WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW Kelly, 41, is co-founder of Man of Action Studios, which created TV superhero Ben 10.
WHAT HE'LL TALK ABOUT Kelly will discuss how he got into writing and how he incorporates personal experiences into his work.
Alaya Dawn Johnson
WHAT SHE'S WRITTEN "The Summer Prince," (Scholastic, $17.99), a science-fiction novel set 400 years in the future on the coast of Brazil
WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW Johnson, 31, has a degree in East Asian languages and cultures. She lives in Brooklyn.
WHAT SHE'LL TALK ABOUT "I'm going to talk about how I first got interested in Brazil," she says, explaining it was on a trip with her sister and cousin. She'll share photos and discuss writing travelogues.
WHAT HE'S WRITTEN "I Hunt Killers," (Little, Brown, $8.99), a best-seller optioned for TV. The sequel, "Game," (Little, Brown, $17.99) was released this month.
WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW Lyga, 41, used to work in the comic book industry. He lives in Brooklyn.
WHAT HE'LL TALK ABOUT "I Hunt Killers" is about 17-year-old Jasper Dent, son of a notorious serial killer in prison. When bodies show up in town, Jasper must discover who is responsible, or people will assume he is a murderer, too. In "Game," Jasper -- who goes by Jazz -- helps New York City police crack a case. Lyga says his books are "rated PG-15." He'll talk about what he wishes he'd known as a teen.
WHAT SHE'S WRITTEN "Never Fall Down," (Harper Collins, $17.99), a New York Times Notable Book for 2012
WHAT SHE'LL TALK ABOUT "Never Fall Down" is based on then 11-year-old Arn Chorn-Pond, who survived the Cambodian genocide by playing music for Khmer Rouge soldiers. When McCormick speaks, "The questions quickly go from, 'How could this happen?' to, "How do you find a way to write about this?' " she says.