|Sarah J Maas, Nina Berry, MEEEEE!, and Robin Benway. Photo courtesy of Lizzy Mason|
At least, I think I did. Honestly, if it weren't for the above photo evidence, I might think I hallucinated the whole thing in some sort of wish fulfillment fugue state. But I didn't! And here's the recap to prove it:
The signing was held at the Barnes and Noble in Glendale, a suburb/city/semi-far-flung corner of Los Angeles, at 3 pm on Saturday. I am the sort of person who, try as I might and despite the best of intentions, is perpetually late. But of course, I couldn't be late for this signing, because I was moderating this signing. For those of you who are not familiar with the geography and corresponding traffic hell of the greater Los Angeles area, Santa Monica (where I live!) and Glendale (where I do not!) are not next to each other. No, according to Google Maps, they are a healthy 22 miles apart, 32 minutes without traffic. To which I say HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH oh, Google Maps, you are hilarious. 32 minutes.
|"Everywhere in LA takes twenty minutes!"|
So yes, because it is a day that ends in -day in Los Angeles, I ran into traffic and was running a smidge later than I'd intended to be running. The situation was not helped by the fact that I parked in THE WRONG MALL because apparently Glendale is the mall capital of America and has been blessed with approximately sixteen malls per block (#AccurateGlendaleFacts). Also note that it was approaching surface-of-Mercury temperatures, because Glendale is in the Hellmouth aka the Valley and, well, sorry Glendale (and the Valley).
ANYWAY. I made it (yay!), sweaty and out of breath, and saw that a rather scary-large crowd was already forming for the signing (!). The loverly Barnes and Noble people then took me to the receiving room. I felt very fancy but also like a total imposter because oh, my god, are you honestly going to let me go into the back room with the all the unsorted books and oh look, a pile of The Infinite Sea before release! I mean, what if I just took one of these? (Of course I didn't, but that's just because I haven't read The 5th Wave). I awkwardly bummed about, trying not to knock anything important over, and then the authors showed up! Yay! Sarah and I hugged, and Nina Berry and I got introduced, and we bonded over the fact that having a food last name is awesome and that we've heard just about every Berry pun under the sun. I also finally got to meet the fabulous Lizzy, star Bloomsbury publicist, without whom this wouldn't have happened. I can't thank Lizzy enough!
|Lizzy is Tina Fey, Mermaid Queen levels of fabulous|
When the group of us went out to the signing and panel area, we noticed that the crown had gotten much bigger. Not gonna lie, my heart starting doing a little tap routine at the sight of all those eager teenagers. But once I got past introducing the authors and we started getting into the rhythm of chatting, it all just became tons of fun. Authors are funny, awesome, intelligent nerds, and it was the most pleasurable of pleasures to hang out with them.
|Photo courtesy of Lizzy Mason|
There's a pretty great recap of our actual discussion here, but here are my favorite moments:
When Sarah described the Manon chapters in Heir of Fire as "How to Train Your Dragon on crystal meth"
When I asked them which Hogwarts Houses they'd be in (Robin: Hufflepuff, Nina: I want to say Gryffindor, but probably Ravenclaw, Sarah: On a good day, I'd say Gryffindor, but probably Slytherin). This segued into a discussion on the possibility of a Hogwarts grad school and whether or not one could double (house) major.
When Sarah told us about the time she went to Scotland and touched EVERY STONE IN THE STANDING STONE CIRCLE hoping she'd be transported to
|OCH AYE #HOTLANDER OCH AYE|
When Robin waxed nostalgic about The Baby-Sitter's Club and how it's basically the best thing to ever happen
When Nina talked about how influential the Narnia books were for her and admitted that she went about prodding the backs of wardrobes to no avail, like Sarah did with the Scottish stones
When I turned the conversation to book boyfriends (because that's how I roll, yo. CONSUMMATE PROFESSIONAL ADULT) and Robin extolled the virtues of Etienne St. Clair, Nina spoke the truthiest of truths about paragon of men, Chaol Westfall, and Sarah talked about what a REAL MAN ROWAN WHITETHORN IS (after admitting she is perpetually twelve years old). I had to stand there and not giggle or go weak at the knees, chanting Be a professional human in my head over and over but it's hard not to go a little melty when Sarah J. Maas is talking about just how delicious a hot Fae warrior prince can really be.
|Straight up ignoring the fact that he's fictional|
We didn't have too much time to chat, since Sarah and Lizzy had to make a flight that night and hello, LA traffic, so I sort of had to think on my toes and adapt to an every-shortening frame of discussion time. I didn't stick to all the questions I had typed up, and decided just to follow up on whatever the authors had mentioned. I went with the flow, and then we turned it over to the audience, and they asked their questions, and then it was time for the signing line!
Most of the (HUGEHUGEHUGE) crowd was there for Sarah, so I hung out by the table and chatted with Robin and Nina about life and books and Southern California, since they're both local. They signed some books as well, and though it was all very overwhelming, I was having a blast.
Sarah also does this very cool thing where she leaves a copy of Throne of Glass out at every signing she does and asks the fans if they could sign it for her! The whole thing is full of messages and drawings and annotations. It's really lovely. I tried to find a good Chaol page to leave my own message on, but let's be honest: all Chaol pages are good pages.
It was heaps of fun, and it was lovely to keep an eye on all the readerly fans Sarah was chatting with, most of whom were young adults! Yay for teens reading! I also got to meet Morgan, a fellow Twitter booknerd friend, and one girl who came up to me said she knew who I was, loved my blog, and loved my art! I tried not to let on that I was basically having an aneurysm, but she did look a bit alarmed. I didn't catch her name, but if you're reading this, HI! YOU MADE MY ALREADY GREAT DAY! THANK YOU!
Notable line standouts include the lovely girl in the Aelin Ashryver Galathynis t-shirt (!!!!) who burst into tears upon meeting Sarah, the girl who knitted Sarah Teenage Mutant Ninja beanies oh my god they were so amazing, the girl in the Marauder's Map print dress, the girl who gave Sarah a big chocolate cookie, and Leslie the boy who may or may not have been actually named Leslie. (He said he was there to get his book signed for his sister Leslie, but we all suspected that he was the real Leslie for... reasons. This miiiight have been near the end of the line and we miiiight have been getting a little punchy and therefore thought it would be hilarious to debate this ad nauseum within Leslie's earshot, because this is normal human behavior.)
|Good thing, because none of us remotely are|
Honestly, the STAMINA these events take! This was the last stop on Sarah's two week, bi-coastal tour, and I don't know how she was still upright. The panel was a good hour long, and she must have signed for over two hours more. It started at three, and it was well past six by the time we left. There were... I don't know, two hundred people there? It was crazy. After Robin and Nina left, Lizzy and I caved and stole their fancy cushy chairs, sitting at the signing table while Sarah kept chatting and being lovely. (Honestly, she wasn't grouchy for one second. If I had to be that social for that long, I'd probably start stabbing people with Sharpies.)
Eventually, the signing reached its end, and we all sat there, relishing the quiet, as Sarah signed the tiny bit of B&N stock they hadn't sold. ALL of the new hardcovers had gone! One copy of The Assassin's Blade had arrived ripped and dented, and Sarah, Lizzy and I got a bit unhealthily emotional about the fact that "she'd" be sent back and pulped, and that was probably a sign we needed to go home and eat food and not be in public anymore.
After fending off a random crazy who decided to waft past our table, singing and foisting pamphlets on us (and Sarah threatened to go "New York Jew on her ass"), we left Barnes and Noble. I said goodbye to Lizzy and Sarah, thanked them until I turned blue, and wished them a safe flight. Then I basically skipped to my car (it was a long skip, because, if you remember, I was in the wrong mall), drove all 22 miles of freeway home, and collapsed. Then I changed into pajamas and ordered my weight in Chinese food. Perfect ending to a perfect day.
|Presented for no reason whatsoever and without comment|
I feel so remarkably privileged that I got to spend a day on the other side of the signing table, and that I got to see what goes on behind the scenes (spoiler: a HECK OF A TON OF WORK). I know I'll never look at a signing the same way again after hearing about the 3 am wake up calls and seeing Liam the Barnes and Noble event master conjure tables from thin air, calculate to the minute how long each individual signing had to take in order to get Sarah to the airport on time, and glare menacingly at people who took too long taking pictures. It was one of the best bookish (and non-bookish) days of my life, and thank you ENDLESSLY to Lizzy, Bloomsbury, Sarah, Robin, Nina, Barnes and Noble, and everybody who made it possible!
And now... a giveaway! One US reader will win a signed paperback of Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and one lucky international reader will win this mug from my Society 6 store:
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