She began the event by telling us the process of writing the first novel in The Dustlands Trilogy, Blood Red Road. She explained that the process was a gruelling one that involved three and a half years of writing and then realizing the story was not what she wanted it to be. After seeking help from a friend, she was told: now you're ready to tell the story. This resounded with me because it's so interesting and so realistic - after so much trial and error, and writing a story that doesn't turn out the way you want it, you start to realize what you do want in your story. I imagine it would have been a frustrating thing to hear, that you would have to start all over again after so much time and effort - but ultimately that's a really important piece of advice to receive.
Moira also emphasized the importance of giving your characters obstacles and making sure the stakes are high for them. If your characters don't have something at stake, then your interest in the story will fade - this applies to you, the writer, as well as readers. This emphasis on high stakes is something you'd think would be obvious, but there are a surprising amount of novels out there that don't adhere to this principle.
I'm so happy I went to the signing, because Moira was so lovely. While she was signing Blood Red Road for me, we had a more in-depth discussion on the importance of obstacles to character development, and it was really helpful. All the stories she told and advice she gave made me want to write.