Thursday, November 16, 2017

A thing that happened at BookPeople

This post is way late, but if you knew how hectic my life's been of late, you'd appreciate my getting it up at all. I found out Monday afternoon that I'd be taking Fairy Girl up to Austin, where Book People would be hosting a signing by Marissa Meyer. Meyer, it must be said, is Fairy Girl's favorite author. No way am I saying no to that. But it would be nice to have a little bit of advanced warning, so that my plans for the evening wouldn't be completely upended.

Despite my grumblings and misgivings about Austin traffic, we made it to BookPeople half an hour before the signing was to begin. Let me tell you, Meyer is popular. There were more people here for her talk than mine last year, which isn't a big surprise. But there were more than for mega-author Brad Meltzer some years ago as well. Fairy Girl hooked up with one of her friends who also happened to be a big Meyer fan, and they staked out their seats. While they were waiting, I tracked down one of the managers and ended up signing stock of my own book on the shelves. I was happy they even had my book on the shelves! One of the staff found out who I was and told me her father loves my Chicken Ranch book unreservedly, so that made me feel pretty good as well.

They opened things with a costume contest--folks were invited to come as a "Hero" or "Renegade" and many did--before Meyer came out. She was definitely an entertaining speaker. If I had to describe her in one word, it'd be "chirpy." She was bubbly and upbeat the whole time, and gave the rapt crowd a detailed account of all the false starts and abandoned incarnations that eventually led to Renegades. The recap is that she essentially wrote three terrible novels trying to launch a trilogy before reverting to her original idea. The moral of this story: Trust your inner editor and don't try and force something that creatively isn't working. On the bright side, she had some funny tales to relate during her signing.

The autographing line was long. I counted more than 70 people ahead of us, and that was after a half-hour wait in line before I thought to start counting. It was an impressive turnout. Finally, Fairy Girl got her chance to have her book signed.

Fairy Girl was so enthused that she crafted a scrapbook with elements from all of Meyer's previous novels included. After her copy of Renegades was signed, she kind of unceremoniously handed it to Meyer and stepped back. Meyer was puzzled at first, then realized what it was. And Fairy Girl took another step back. Then Meyer asked if it was hers to keep, and Fairy Girl took another step back. Seriously, the only way it would've been funnier was if she'd thrown the scrapbook at Meyer then run from the room at full speed.

Being the dad, I corraled Fairy Girl before she could flee and made her get in close for a photo with her literary hero. That's what parents do, right? But the entire evening convinced me that the local genre conventions really, really need to add a "YA Guest of Honor" category to their lineups. These authors are popular, and bringing them into the fold is the best possible way to reverse the "graying of fandom" we always have so much hand-wringing over.

Now Playing: Ixtahuele Call of the Islands
Chicken Ranch Central

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