Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Author Events I Attended in 2014: A Retrospective

I have recently gotten really bad at posting recaps of individual events. When I moved to Iowa, there weren’t a lot of events for me to attend, unless I wanted to make the 4.5 hour drive to the Twin Cities.  Luckily, there are a lot of events in D.C. that I want to go to—seriously, I find myself at a least one signing a month, typically.  I don’t always have a lot to say about each individual event, so I thought I’d do a big recap here. 

In August, the third book of Jessica Spotswoods’ Cahill Witch Chronicles came out, and I got to attend the launch party for it, which is how I discovered the fabulous One More Page bookstore in Arlington, Virginia.  I got there just before the reading started, and Jessica was greeting everyone as they came in.  She is just as nice in person as she seems online.  I got a hug and chatted with her, and then grabbed some champagne and a cupcake before she started reading.  When the reading started, I huddled in a corner of the store quietly looking at something else, because at that point I was one chapter away from finishing Born Wicked and didn’t want to overhear spoilers.  After that I hung around until Jessica was ready to sign my books.  We chatted a little bit about the changes her covers had gone through.  I'm excited to read books two and three in this series!

On September 22nd, the Macmillan Fierce Reads two rolled through town, and there were three authors. Two were Ann Aguirre and Caragh O’Brien, whose books I have not read but have on my TBR.  Listening to Ann and Caragh talk was fascinating, but the author I really wanted to see is someone whose book I read and loved earlier this year: Marie Rutkoski.  It was really cool hearing everyone talk about their books, writing processes, and favorite reads.  I got my books by Ann and Caragh signed before I went up to meet Marie.  Marie was very gracious as I gushed about The Winner's Curse and requested a picture. 
 Early on in October I went to the launch party at One More Page for Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley and The Only Thing to Fear by Caroline T. Richmond.  Robin and Caroline are both incredibly nice humans, and I can’t wait to read both of their books.  After a bit of socializing, they each got up and book talked each other’s books, and then answered questions audience members had written down at the beginning of the party.  Of course, the next natural phase was for them to sign books! Each of them also had a giant cake with the cover of their book on it, so we all got to have some.  I wound up buying each of their books and skedaddling shortly after getting them signed, as I had to get to my brother’s housewarming.

In early November, I got to meet an author that made a lot of people jealous: Gail Carriger, author of the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series.  When Gail got up she gave herself a super brief introduction and then said that she didn’t like to do readings and instead we should all ask her questions, which the audience did for probably about an hour or so.  We learned about how she rewards herself as she writes--a piece of chocolate when she finishes her daily word count, sushi when she finishes a draft, and new shoes when she hands it in.  She also told us that the Parasol Protectorate series is supposed to be about female sexuality and the Finishing School series about social class.  There were a lot of questions that were very specific to her books, and since I’ve only read Soulless and the manga adaptation of it, I didn’t quite understand all of those.  When Gail signed my books later in the evening, we talked about the awesome movie TheExtraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec (I wanted to know if Gail had since it since she used to work in archaeology).  She was also super gracious and signed a set of books for a friend of mine after everyone else had left (I didn’t want to hold up her line).
Later in the month I got to meet Robin LaFevers who is the author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy.  At the very beginning of the signing I believe she did a reading from one of her books, perhaps Grave Mercy, and then she did a slide show for us which included pictures of France, images on Pinterest that have inspired her as she wrote, and also pictures of how she plans out a book.  Guys, writing historical fiction definitely sounds like a labor of love.  When I got my books signed, I told Robin that I thought for swag she could consider distributing handheld crossbows and poison rings (but perhaps without the poison in them).  Robin jokingly invited me to design them, but I’m half tempted to draft something up for a laugh.  Also, this event was super fun because Ksenia came down for it, and afterwards I got dinner with her, Steph, Jessica, and Steph.

The final event that I went to in 2014 included five whole authors: Atia Abawi, author of TheSecret Sky, Ally Condie, Gayle Forman, Stephanie Perkins, and Andrew Smith.  A middle school teacher brought one of her classes to this event, so it was on the crowded side.  Luckily, Politics and Prose, the hosting store, set up plenty of chairs.  Each author got up and talked briefly about their books. Atia talked a lot about Afghanistan, Ally surprised me with her insightfulness, Gayle talked about her upcoming novel I was here, Stephanie touched us all with the story of how her relationship with her husband inspired her to write books where teenagers fall in love, and Andrew Smith simply cracked the whole crowd up.  There was a lot of standing in line for this one, but I had Steph from No BS Book Reviews and Liza from Reading with ABC to keep me company.  I had a huge fangirl moment when I not only met Andrew Smith, but he recognized me when I told him my Twitter handle.  I met Gayle Forman once before and it was great chatting with her again.  When I went up to see Stephanie I had six books: the old and new hardcovers of Anna and Lola, plus the US and UK editions of My True Love Gave to Me.  She actually thanked me for bringing such an insane number of bookstore her signing and was really sweet the entire time I chatted with her.
 As you can see, 2014 wound up being a busy year.  I hauled a lot of heavy bags of books around to various bookish venues, and had a great time at every event. It was so fun to meet so many great authors and bloggers in person. I'm looking forward to another great year in 2015!  Meanwhile, if you need me, I may be preoccupied with my massive pile of signed books.  However, you can use the comments section to tell me about all the great signings you went to this past year!

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