Someday, when my persistence and hours of editing have paid off, I hope to tell you about the author event where I got to answer questions and sign books.
Today’s star, however, is Kiera Cass, author of the The Selection series .
I’m a total book nerd, but I’ve never been to a book signing. Not many entertainment celebrities visit Southwest Virginia. Kiera Cass is a graduate of Radford University and lives in the Christiansburg, VA area, so that’s how a best-selling author ended up at our local Barnes and Noble. And I got to see her!
Confession: I’ve never read The Selection books. But I wanted a signed copy of The Heir to give as a birthday gift. (Here’s what Goodreads says about The Selection series)
The night of Kiera’s appearance, I picked up my daughter and a few friends from swim practice and rushed to B & N fifteen minutes before the event started. “It shouldn’t be too crowded,” I told the girls. We weren’t in New York City, after all.
When several young ladies wearing formal dresses passed us in the parking lot, I knew I’d underestimated the significance of the affair.
Selection fans dressed for the part
The staff inside Barnes and Noble seemed as befuddled as I felt. I bought The Heir, Cass’s newest release, and received a raffle ticket to hold my place in line for the book signing. Then I crammed into the children’s section with the rest of the fans. Tulle and sparkle collected in the main aisle, along with a few brave males. The guy in line in front of me carried a pink sequined bag, I’m assuming for one of his female companions. That’s a dedicated boyfriend.
My daughter and her swim buddies, sporting wet hair and t-shirts, abandoned me for the cafe. Daughter has read the series and finds it “girly and ridiculous”. She spent her time searching for Jane Austen novels. My sons, aged 11 and 8, avoided the glittery anticipation by playing with Nooks on display.
Promptly at six, a publicist introduced Kiera Cass. Those of us in the back stood on toes and strained to hear. Kiera is no taller than me and had to stand up on a chair to interact with her audience. Eventually, her husband/boyfriend jumped in to help with the Q & A. (Ha! My husband, King of the Introverts, would NEVER volunteer to take questions and make jokes for the crowd.)
Can you see her up there?
Kiera was friendly and fun, and it’s too bad the space wasn’t set up better for her to chat with her fans. Her favorite books are The Little Prince, The Book Thief and just about “any YA.” For Selection fans, she shared these tidbits:
- There will be a fifth book
- A studio has purchased the rights to make the books into movies, but nothing is definite
- She has a project in mind to work on after she finishes the Selection series, but she wouldn’t give details. It will probably be a stand alone book.
More important to me, she gave the following advice to aspiring writers:
- Read, read, read, even stuff you don’t like
- Master grammar – your editor will love you
- Make time to day dream – she said “Seriously, mark it on your calendar and allow for time to let your mind wander.”
When the Q & A ended, we organized ourselves into a winding line among the shelves. B&N staff gave away raffle prizes and handed out post-it notes for us to write our inscription requests on. It took over two hours for Kiera to sign all the books. Hello, hand cramps. Sadly, I had to leave at 7 and never met Kiera. (You know, four kids, hectic schedule, etc.) Fate placed me in line behind a woman I knew, and she graciously got the book signed for me. Yay for bookish mamas.
Here’s what the Word Nerd learned at her first live author event:
- Get there early, even if you live in a small town
- Plan to spend several hours
- If you’re an author doing an event, bring a vivacious friend to work the crowd (Paula Hearne, this means you.)
- Bring a portable speaker system and a safe platform on which to stand.
- If you write kid lit, tip-off the librarians at the local schools about your appearance.
Have you ever attended an author event, either as a fan or an author? What did you learn? What was the funniest thing you’ve seen? What helps these things run smoothly?