Saturday morning Maggie Stiefvater was at the Harvard Coop at 10:00 AM for a signing. I got up early and got there about an hour and a half before the signing. Since the Coop wasn't open yet I grabbed a coconut chai and hung out a bit.
I went in and immediately spotted a table. Just a little table and a cart with copies of The Raven Boys piled on them. This was right about the time I realized it was just a signing. I mean, I'll take any chance I can get to meet Maggie Stiefvater, so it wasn't like I was just going to leave.
|I briefly considered hugging the cart|
But there's just something about The Raven Boys that makes me really really want to listen to Maggie Stiefvater talk about it. It's different than her other books somehow and I'd love to hear her talk about how she came up with it. What kind thing she wanted to do with it. How she made Blue differ from the other female protagonists. How she created the dynamic between the raven boys. Sadly it wasn't a discussion. Just a signing.
Beforehand I got to chat with one of the employees there. She was so cool. She works in the Children's and Young Adult section. We talked a little about the book, but she hadn't finished it yet. Then we talked The Scorpio Races and how it seemed like everyone had a similar reaction to it, that they liked it more as they thought about it.
I was surprised by how few people were there. They said it had a lot to do with kids being in school while it was happening. Around quarter till ten people started to line up. There were maybe ten of us. I was chatting with the woman in front of me about YA lit and how more than just kids read it when I looked up and saw Maggie Stiefvater! standing near the registers.
I believe I said something along the lines of: "Oh my God. There she is."
The woman stopped talking and looked affronted that I cut her off but, I mean, come on! So, Maggie Stiefvater! walked over and sat at the little table. The nice employee leaned over and asked us if we actually wanted to meet Maggie Stiefvater!
So, I was the second person to get my books signed. I got my copy of The Curiosities, my The Raven Boys ARC, and a normal The Raven Boys for my sister.
Maggie Stiefvater!: Who are they for?
Me: *nervous laugh* Oh, there are post-its on the title pages...I've done this before... *awkward fidget*
Maggie Stiefvater!: Who was the last person you saw?
Me: Meg Cabot. Before that it was you and John Corey Whaley in Fredericksburg.
Maggie Stiefvater!: Oh! Right!
Me: I drove from Cleveland. It was awesome.
Maggie Stiefvater!: *a bit sarcastically* We were funny...
Me: *quickly* You definitely were! The most fun I've had at a signing!
Maggie Stiefvater!: Thank you. *hands books back*
Me: *nervous laugh* Thank you!
I walked away but hovered around a while. Some people drifted in got things signed and then left. She was signing back stock when I went back over and asked which book we'd get next, the second Raven Cycle book or another homicidal faerie book.
Raven Cycle next fall and Homicidal faerie the spring after that.
That's a long time to wait, but I will deal. It will be worth it.
I wandered a little, still hovering. I wanted a picture but was too afraid to ask. I saw a few others get theirs taken so I wandered back over during a lull.
Me: Hi. It's me...again...sorry.
Maggie Stiefvater!: Shoot.
Me: *timidly* Will you take a picture with me?
Nice Employee: I should have asked you earlier!
Me: Oh! *nervous laugh* that's okay!
Maggie Stiefvater!: Were you waiting for someone else to ask first?
Me: I might have been.
Maggie Stiefvater!: Next time just ask!
I was a little embarrassed but that's okay because I GOT MY PICTURE TAKEN WITH MAGGIE STIEFVATER!
|I mean look! It really happened! I didn't lie!|
The next signing was set to start at 7:00. I'd never been to Burlington before so I knew this was going to be quite an adventure. This signing was supposed to be Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, and Libba Bray. I'd heard about a few weeks back and was beyond ecstatic that they were both happening on the same day (makes taking work off much easier). But as we got closer I kept seeing tweets about Cassandra Clare being in Toronto for a couple of weeks. And then on Sarah Rees Brennan's blog it said she'd be signing with Holly Black and Libba Bray. I was getting the feeling Cassandra Clare wasn't going to be there. I called and they just read the sheet off to me, which included Cassandra Clare but not Sarah Rees Brennan, oddly enough.
Regardless of whether Cassandra Clare was going to be there or not, I was going. I've wanted to meet Holly Black for round-about 10 years. I only picked up City of Bones initially because it had a Holly Black quote on the front. I also already have signed copies of all of Cassandra Clare's books.
I had a few hours to kill so I sat down to be productive (I took an accidental nap). Then I packed up the second stack of books, googlemaps-ed some directions and set off, praying that 3.5 hours was enough time to make it somewhere I'd never been via public transit (googlemaps said 1.5 hours but it sometimes lies).
It did lie. It took two hours. There was a moment of panic when I thought I missed my stop. We ran the entire one-way length of the route and I didn't see my stop. I crept up and asked the driver, panicking and clenching the massive messenger bag to my chest.
As it turns out the bus only goes to this stop on the way back. So there's that. I climbed off and looked around. Googlemaps had given me some vague directions that involved four different variations of the same direction and instructions that involved having a compass (I can tell north if I can tell which direction Lake Erie is. Which I can't from BOSTON). It was supposed to be across the street so I figured I'd be able to see it.
No. No I couldn't.
So I went into Macy's and asked. It went something like this:
Me: Excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Barnes and Noble?
Worker 1: It's right across the street.
(Did I mention that this mall was surrounded on all four sides be streets?)
Worker 2: It's right outside. Go out and take a left at Nordstrom.
Me: Thank you.
Worker 1: Be careful. It's not safe.
Me: ...I will. Thank you.
Worker 1: You have to cross a street.
Me: Oh, thank you.
Worker 1: A busy street.
Worker 2: Lots of cars. *makes car noises and moves her hand like it's a vehicle*
Me: *momentarily speechless* Thank you. *wanders off*
This road I had to cross, by the way, was the turnpike.
So, I was there a bit early but not as early as I wanted. As I walked up I saw the poster for the event and Cassandra Clare's name was blocked off. I had suspected so I wasn't surprised or upset. The only thing I'd brought for her to sign was Zombies vs. Unicorns and I wanted Holly Black and Libba Bray to sign it anyway.
There were some people hanging out already. I snagged a chair and plopped down to wait. I did a little editing, some reading. Mostly I was too wired so I looked around. I watched them walk upstairs across from us and tried not to freak out.
After a bit of a delay they came out.
Let me start off by saying that they are absolutely hysterical! So funny. Sarah Rees Brennan is like an unstoppable force of nature. They play off of each other in the best way possible. There were some serious answers but for the most part they seemed like they were just having so much fun up there.
They started talking a bit about their books. So, of course, Sarah Rees Brennan had to act out part of The Diviners. (as soon as my computer works its self out I'll put it up). It was hilarious and brilliant.
Then Libba Bray read part of the prologue from The Diviners. Sarah Rees Brennan read the second meeting of Kami and Jared from Unspoken. I say 'read' and mean 'acted out,' complete with stripping (another video that will go up). And Holly read the unfinished beginning to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. It's all the brilliant and chillingness we can expect from Holly Black. It was awesome. The night was a little crazy so I'll break down my information by author.
-When asked why she chose to write, she told us the heart breaking story of her accident when she was 18. The one graduation present she had previously ignored was a notebook. She began writing to express the things that she couldn’t say. She is a firm believer that writing saves lives.
-Her favorite characters from the others’ books are: Val from Valiant. She loves the whole book. From Unspoken she loves Angela because she’s snarky and wonderful when she’s not sleeping. Jared is also her boyfriend.
-She apparently lost her virtue a long time ago, which we learned when Sarah Rees Brennan tried to steal it.
-If she had to give her teenage self one piece of advice it would be to kiss all the boys. And everyone’s brothers.
-She agreed with Holly Black that the hardest part of writing is learning to stop chasing the image in your head.
-On a The Diviners specific level the hardest thing was the multiple point of view. She calls Holly Yoda because she helped Libba work through her problems (even if it didn’t work or stick…)
-Decided to write when she was five because she used to draw but her friend was better at it so she decided to write instead.
-She loves Sam Lloyd from The Diviners because he’s a fast talking liar and she loves liars more than anything else. Gemma from the Gemma Doyle trilogy because she’s the calm in the storm, reigning her friends in (said with a pointed look at the others).
She loves Kami from Unspoken because she’s so gung-ho and unstoppable. Holly said she is socially anxious and Kami is the exact opposite. I believe the quote was: “There’s something terrible going on in the woods. To the woods!”
Kami’s dad is Holly’s boyfriend (said with a smug smile)
-She would tell her teenage self to believe it could happen even if she didn’t know anyone who tried anything in publishing.
-She said the hardest thing about writing is learning to let go of the mental image of what you want the book to be and work with what it is.
-Her purple streaked hair is awesome.
-I nearly died when she expressed an interest in my idea for my book. She and Libba also said that my editing process is similar to hers when they saw my post-it filled manuscript.
-Holly Black firmly believes that the statement “It won’t happen unless you believe it will” is a total lie. She wrote Tithe never believing that it would be published but it was.
Sarah Rees Brennan:
-She was 7 when she decided to write. She’d apparently had a bad ballet recital and her mother asked her if there was anything else she liked to do…in a room…by herself. She said writing.
-Has a deep love for villains. Especially Barron, who she would write notes to that said things like your name is Barron. You love me. I love getting diamond necklaces every day. She likes the villains when they have a tragic past and tiny heart of gold.
-Memphis from The Diviners is another of her boyfriends and he is incredibly not a villain. She loves that he’s a dreamer.
-She wrote Kami as an unstoppable, fast-talking, indomitable heroine. She wanted to write a character who didn’t even realize that people were telling her to stop talking and sit down.
-The hardest thing about writing for her is writing description. She’s a dialogue writer (me too!) so really struggles with it. She says the best thing to do it just to go and write what you see.
-It was her birthday. And she climbed under the table when we sang to her.
-I don’t remember what her advice to her teenage self was because she told us a story about how she went somewhere where she was required to speak Irish and since she didn’t very well she kissed all the guys who came up and started talking to her.
-She loves surprise evil. Even if sometimes its just the depth of the evil that is a surprise.
-I told her I loved her live tweets of Vampire Diaries and we discussed who we liked better Tyler or Klaus. She likes Tyler. For once it wasn’t the villain!
They were so beyond nice. They took the time to chat with everyone who came up to the table to get something signed. They didn’t push people through and they were willing to take pictures with everyone who wanted one.
|There is something about this picture that makes me want to cry a little.|
When I told Holly Black that I learned more about writing from following her on twitter than in college she asked me about my writing. She talked to me a little about my current project and I tried not to faint.
The employees of Barnes and Noble were worried I had missed the last bus and were talking about driving me to the T station and Sarah Rees Brennan overheard. So she wrote “sorry about the bus” in my copy of Unspoken.
I did eventually make it home. It was about midnight when I got back but it was totally worth it.
It was just an amazing experience and I managed it all without tripping, crying, or stammering (too much). If you ever get the chance to see any of these authors do it. They are some of the most wonderful people I have had the privilege of meeting. So genuinely kind.
Plus, I got a whole bunch of books signed.
Sorry for the rushed ending, I burned my hand today and it's cranky with me. Have any of you seen any of them? What did you think? Were you at either of Friday's signings? Did you love them?
Until later my ducks,