A little more than a month ago Ashley, Walt and I drove to Seattle for the final stop of the Fierce Reads Tour. We left a little before 3:30am, which I thought was overkill at the time. Ash drove until 5 or 6ish. Then Walt took over and we continued until breakfast at 7. The two of them switched off every so often for the drive. I wasn’t allowed to drive Walt’s car so I spent most of the drive sleeping. We arrived at the Hotel a bit before 5 and got some R&R before leaving for the signing at 6.
This was my first book signing, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. There was an unfamiliar energy in the bookstore. A mix of calm excitement and combustible excitement, the kind that threatens to overwhelm you at any moment and burst forth. However any calm would soon be gone, replaced with an outpour of vocalized joy, glee and love of the authors when they came onto the stage.
Once the authors were introduced, Ashley got called out by the moderator. Apparently she had mentioned that she drove over 10 hours and, as a reward for her dedication, was presented with some gift items. Naturally this blew any chance she had of stealthily stalking Leigh Bardugo as the moderator was standing right next to The Queen (that’s what Ashley calls Ms. Bardugo).
The event began with a series of questions the moderator had prepared. One of my favorites was centered around how the authors wrote their books. The Queen started off by saying that she skips around. She then elaborated on how and why that process works for her. The next author to answer was Ms. Garcia. She stated that while she has an outline, she skips around in the writing process. While these two were answering, I swear Mr. Roehrig’s face was becoming more baffled. When it was his turn to answer he questioned how the other two could possibly skip around while writing; stating something along the lines of “what happens in chapter 1 directly leads to what happens in chapter 2 which leads to what happens in chapter 3.” This sparked a brilliant volley between The Queen and Ms. Garcia, and Mr. Roehrig. I wish I had the whole debate on video so that you could all see that fantastic back and forth. When the mic finally passed to the fourth and final author, Ms. Mills stated that she does a variation of skipping around. She prefers to write the “good parts first” and then “thread them together.” This sparked another round of back and forth which left Mr. Roehrig hopelessly outnumbered. It was great fun watching this series of exchanges.
Some questions later Ms. Mills stated that the new book she is working on, which is a Young Adult Contemporary, involves role playing games (RPGs). I was caught a bit off guard by her statement, as I had not expected a video game, or the world of gamers, to come up at a book signing. As a gamer, I was very pleased to hear that an RPG was going to be referenced in a book. She said that she was shown a RPG by a friend and that “it was surprising to [her], [she] did not expect to get into that.”
After the moderator had finished her questions she turned it over for some audience questions. While doing so she offered some prizes to the best questions as chosen by the authors. Admittedly I was only half listening to the questions as I was attempting to think of a really good question. I eventually thought of a question but we were at dinner by then. It was “If you could switch places with any book character and live their life, before, during and after the story, while retaining your personality, who would you switch with and why?” incase you were curious.
After the signing both Ashley and myself went through the line to have The Queen sign our books (they were actually both Ashley’s so I was her stealthy stalking agent) and to try at pulling the Inej card. Sadly neither of us pulled Inej. With the event wrapping up we went across the street to get some dinner before returning to the hotel.
Once at the hotel we proceeded to crash so that we could make the 13 hour (I don’t know why it was so much longer going back than getting there) drive home. We stopped on the way for Voodoo Doughnuts and they were fantastic. I specifically appreciated how they named some of their menu items. If you are ever near one I would highly recommend getting something.
Overall the trip was great. I’m not sure I could’ve asked for a better group of authors for my first book signing. I am looking forward to reading some of these author’s works, especially now that I have had a taste of their unique personalities and learned a bit about their writing processes. I hope to have the opportunity to attend more signings in the future as I definitely enjoyed this experience.
A couple of quotes from the night I liked:
“A first draft is like an awkward first date. You’re still getting to know your characters.” - Leigh Bardugo