Is there really anything better in the world than when authors can speak to their readers on a one-on-one basis? You could almost compare it to the bond that a mother and child have (unless you really hated the author….in which case, why bother?). There’s something immensely powerful about being able to take a book and turn it into a shared experience. The author invests years of dreams, hope, sweat, tears, and effort into a book which readers then open to laugh, cry, and get lost with the characters. For those few sweet hours that you become one with the book, you’re one with the author too. Isn’t that what it’s all about?
Today was special. I recently joined the Random House CA blog roll [I guess this is my formal announcement, yay!] and was invited to a Blogger Event they were holding today. Of course the invitation said things like special prizes and speakers! So I expected to see someone cool I had tweeted with often from Random House CA, and getting a couple of free books. I even sort of forgot about it until this morning and just threw on a pair of jeans and a sweater and didn’t fuss with my hair as much as I should have. Ladies, please always fuss with your hair as much as you need to. You never know when you will meet someone really important. Today that definitely happened to me.
I should probably take this time to apologize for the poor quality of pictures. My camera is an utter failure so I use my iPhone instead. I also have very shaky hands when taking a picture. Sooooo, sorry!
We started the afternoon just getting to know one another, thanks to the handy-dandy name tags they had ready for all of us! Naturally I recognized almost all the blog names and about 2 of the real names, but that’s okay.
My handy-dandy name tag. Adore that my blog has a name tag 🙂
Soon after getting my name tag, I heard that Ami McKay was in the house. I blinked a couple of times thinking, “Ami McKay, well that’s funny because there’s an author with that same… OMG IT’S AMI MCKAY!!!!!!!!!”
That’s right. It’s Ami McKay, author of The Birth House, The Virgin Cure, and (here’s some privileged information…) a new sequel called The Witches of New York! What a wonderful person! She was so friendly and chatty, and now a great Twitter friend too 😀
Soon we were asked to assemble around the boardroom table as the presentation was about to start. I look around at all my new fellow bloggers and suddenly notice someone rather familiar looking. Not daring to believe it was true, I turned around and grabbed hold of Lindsey (the wonderful Random House Online Marketing Assistant that put this together) and said, “Lindsey. Is Paula McLain here today????” Lindsey said, “Oh yeah she’s sitting right across from you”.
Paula McClain. Sitting right across from me.
There was also the lovely Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, but I didn’t take a creeper picture of her. One per blog post should suffice.
The presentation was great. we got to talk about the three books, along with others, and Lindsey made sure to add quotes about the books from the bloggers around the table. I was thrilled when mine came up! No surprise it was:
That’s right friends.
The rest of the presentation focused on the exciting books to come from Random House. Here are some slide-shots for you all 🙂
Again, really sorry about the bad picture quality. Really need to invest in a new camera
The presentation wrapped up with the announcement that we were going to get ARCs as swag, not to mention free t-shirts, mugs, more books, and signed copies of The Night Circus, The Paris Wife, and The Virgin Cure.
Reaction to the “free books” announcement.
That’s my friend, fellow student, and fellow blogger Chelsea Phelan. Check out her book blog: crackabook.wordpress.com . She is awesome.
So of course, Chelsea and I ran around (trying to stay calm but failing miserably) grabbing all the free books that were up for grabs. Oh how I love the smell of a free book. I mean…new book.
Then I tweeted a lot (as you may or may not have seen) while waiting to get my books signed by the three fabulous authors who came in for this event. The best part was that it wasn’t just a quick sign and off you go; we all got to sit down and have conversations about the books and any other thing worth mentioning!
Bonding with Ami McKay
To figure out what these earrings represent, we’ll all just have to wait and read The Witches of New York!
Have you read The Virgin Cure? Then you know what the moth is all about 🙂
It was at this time where something totally random came up between a conversation about name tags, boobs, and book signings (oh my!) and Erin said to Chelsea, “I’d sign your cleavage but this isn’t a Sharpie”. I guess you had to be there.
By now, it was all I could do to control my excitement at finally meeting Paula McLain, an author whom I admire very much. Heck, I liked her book enough to do 3 projects on it this semester…that hasn’t happened since Harry Potter.
But where did she go?!?!!?! I scanned and re-scanned the room but she had vanished. Again, I approached Lindsey *casually* wondering if Paula McLain was still around. Yes she was, she was just taking a bathroom break. Due to some renovational circumstances at Random House, the bathroom break was now The Bathroom Break. It was a big deal. With a pass and an escort and everything!
Before I knew it, Paula McLain had returned. And the first thing I said was that after I shut her book, I cried for an hour. It’s a completely true statement, but probably not something I would’ve opened with under normal circumstances. But, it worked because we chatted for the next 30 minutes. A long line had formed behind me and the two of us remained completely oblivious.
It was probably one of the most special conversations I’ve ever had in my life, because it revolved around The Paris Wife and then…. HARRY POTTER. Paula McLain is a Harry Potter fan. Cue INTENSE EXCITEMENT.
I got to talk about the elements of my most beloved series with an author I deeply admire. How many people in this world are privileged enough to be able to say that?!?!?!
Of course, my obsession with Harry Potter clearly showed since I was spouting off facts about the books and J.K. Rowling that Paula hadn’t heard of and was actually interested. That hasn’t happened in awhile (I’ve talked my Harry Potter audience away by now).
Paula– anytime you want a Harry Potter fact, you know who to come to!
Myself and Paula McLain
It really was an incredible experience. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the chance to read The Virgin Cure and The Night Circus before so I couldn’t say much about the books (getting on that immediately, no worries). But having read The Paris Wife and being so utterly taken in by it, I had volumes to talk about with Paula. Of course I was so overwhelmed that it kept coming out in breathless gasps. Once you insert Harry Potter into the mix, my eloquence is shot. Nonetheless, one of the most memorable conversations I have ever had. She even wanted me to send her my blog post about The Paris Wife!!!! Paula McLain will now be reading my thoughts. So the author becomes the reader…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the relationship between an author and a reader is unique and incredibly powerful. When a writer can reach out and touch the hearts and souls of thousands, or in some cases millions, it’s rare and true magic. Paula mentioned how Ernest and Hadley’s relationship had just killed her, and I knew exactly what she was talking about because I felt the same way. Perhaps we both shed tears over the same paragraphs. The point is, those characters that have been rendered immortal by ink and paper are now a part of us. People laugh when I say that I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for the books I’ve read, but it’s true. Books have given me the courage to pursue dreams, live life, love fiercely, and be strong.
I was incredibly fortunate to have been reminded of this bond by meeting these three fantastic women today and sharing the experience with people who feel the same as I do. Random House, Lindsey, and Cass–thank you for a truly wonderful day!
And that’s not all…
K, now I’m done 😉