It is hard to know where to begin this post because I am still mulling over my magical evening.
Last night, we assembled (we being a bunch of readers from North Texas) to soak in the glorious genius of: Nova Ren Suma —lovelier than I even thought possible and so filled with knowledge and incredible stories, Tessa Gratton — hilarious and witty and I’m glad she is not a politician, Ransom Riggs — very tall and not terrifying like his book but undeniably interesting, Tahereh Mafi — stunning and engaged to Ransom Riggs but is an elegantly normal sized wordsmith, Rae Carson — blows me away with her awesome and is a reformed beauty queen who loves Star Wars and the intersection between literary and commercial fiction so…good taste, and Aimee Carter — accessible and honest and dry, which are some of my favorite things. The panel was wonderfully moderated by local author, Jenny Martin, whose book Tracked debuts next year.
The Irving Public Library is sprawling book-haven. I’m accustomed to libraries being a normal size and I always find my way to the end of them before I’m ready. Irving impresses. The event featured tons of freely given swag, a tower of cupcakes and a candy bar. My phone was nearly dead because I used the voice prompts in google maps to get to Irving, and earlier in the day I was compulsively checking email because…well, I do that…so I took almost no pics.
You can take my word for it, and also, Twitter has pics. I wanted to buy all the books, but alas money and responsibility prohibited. I did get a handful for signing, which was giving me social anxiety during the panel. I was determined to quell my urge to be nervous and weird.
Before the event, I planned to meet up with Nova, but her travel arrangements went haywire and she barely made it to Dallas in time for all the Library revelry. Timing was on my side, as well as nature, when I stopped into the bathroom and in came all the authors —including Nova — freezing me by the trashcan. We laughed and gabbed and talked about how sucky Delta Air is and how wonderful it was to meet, and she graciously introduced me around and exclaimed positives about my book.
It is almost too exciting to write about, that I really, just, can’t.
Author panels are always incredibly fascinating to me. As an aspiring author, I watch and learn from them. I glean knowledge about the business I want to be a part of as well as the task of writing books readers will love. But as a reader, I gush and laugh and want to jabber about the books they’ve written that I love and will love in the future.
One of my favorite moments during the panel was when they each told their unique “road to publishing” story. Some had always known novels would find them, some began in screenwriting, pursuing film, pursuing extensive education, pursuing politics and world-changing and wizardry. For most, it was a road littered with rejection and agony, as well as a road of self-discovery.
The panel ran long, but not a single person in the room cared. I was sad it was ending, actually. And then, even though it went late, the authors kindly chatted and listened to all of us thank them for their books and pose for a picture and tell them about our Twitter. (Me, I did that. Because I am hopeless.)
I got to hang with friend and 2014 debut author Lindsay Cummings and fellow bookworms — particularly Cherie, a girl almost as tall as Ransom Riggs who I’m nicknaming, ironically, Little Libba — and talk only books. My favorite kind of talking.
Support your local library by going to events such as this one wherever you live. A huge shout-out to Half-Price Books for selling me too many things, and all the clever booknerds I met last night in Irving!