Note from Tabitha: I know this is WAY late. I apologize. There is no excuse for it really, beyond my laziness.
We pulled into the parking deck with less than ten minutes to spare.
The cup with its unidentifiable liquid substance and the matching spoon with its strange residue was no longer in the corner of the Elevator of Doom. As soon the doors creaked open, we took off into the streets of Asheville. While last time was a leisurely stroll in which we were able to take in all of the interesting sights and sounds and sit down to eat, this time was a mad dash to the bookstore.
There were street performers standing by the giant iron and the upbeat voices of their guitars and saxophone became the soundtrack of our second adventure to Malaprops Bookstore and Café. I felt like we were in a comedy movie and that at any moment I was going to trip and go flying. I happened to catch the eye of a handsome man in a nifty hat that was also playing a guitar- perhaps this was going to be a romantic comedy.
Unfortunately, I had no time to talk. I could only smile as Tabitha and I dashed by. Obviously I need more exercise- I was huffing and puffing a bit by the time we reached our destination.
When we got to Malaprops the chairs were set up in front of the table like last time and a few people had already gathered and taken their seats. Jessica Khoury, Megan Spooner, and Beth Revis were even hovering in the background talking. Even though we were a minute or two late getting there, we were still able to get seats in the front.
Since this was only my second signing, I still wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’m not sure that I will ever get used to the feeling of having actual published authors sitting in front of me. The feeling to me is similar to the feeling that a child would get if he met Batman or Spiderman- authors are my super heroes and the people I look up to.
Introductions were made and the authors settled into their seats. They went around and began to talk about their books, and I have to admit, I was not prepared for Jessica Spotswood’s (SP?) voice. It was so cute. When she started to talk, I immediately thought of Glinda the Good Witch. Not the one from the original Wizard of Oz, mind you, but the Wicked version of Glinda. I suppose that’s fitting considering her books are about witches!
The first thing that they discussed was a topic that I have always been very interested in: world-building!
It was so interesting and inspiring to hear all of the authors talk about their travels for research and all of the weird places that they went to make their worlds seem real. Megan Shephard (SP?) went to London to do research for The Madman’s Daughter series. “My husband thought it was a vacation,” She said, shaking her head and laughing. “It was not.” She went on to say that they had visited surgery theaters and other such creepy places while they were there. I was shocked to find out that each of the books in the series are actually inspired by different classic novels! I had just thought that the Dr. Moreau theme would carry through the series, but instead, the second book is going to have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde theme while the last one will be… dun dun dun…. FRANKENSTIEN! I could not be more excited for these books.
Tiffany Trent talked a great deal about her research and the world of the Unnaturalists. When discussing the strange things she had come upon during her research for her novels, she mentioned that she had come across a scientist that had taken a piece of his rival’s spine and displayed it in a jar on his desk. “I’m using this later,” She said, looking at all of us. “It’s mine.”
It was very interesting to hear about Jessica Spotswood and Tiffany Trent’s different versions of London. When they began talking about world building, they mentioned how they had only recently realized that both of them had new Londons where their stories took place. Jessica Spotswood talked about her journey through the fascinating world of poofy dresses and discussed how she had researched different clothing styles to come up with her characters ‘ lovely wardrobes.
While Alexandra Duncan (SP?) had never visited the places that inspired the various settings in her story, she told us that she had done a great deal of research. As one of the other audience members said, “That makes it [her world-building] all the more impressive!” I have not read her debut novel myself yet, but from what some of the others said while we were there, it seems that the settings are very well fleshed out and it is almost like you are in the place yourself!
There was also talk about the writing process and how the authors find time to write amid their busy schedules. The general consensus seems to be that even published, experienced authors get distracted by the internet and all of its wonders and that sometimes it helps to just unplug and focus just on your writing. Music also seems to be helpful when getting in the zone. I know that it always helps me when I am trying to work! Tiffany Trent said that she has specific soundtracks for each story and that whenever she hears them, she wants to write that particular story. I was especially excited to discover that Alexandra Duncan is a librarian like me!!
I gushed with her about libraries and writing when it was time for the signing and she even provided me with a few signed bookmarks to give out as prizes for the teens at my library! I loved the personalization that she put in my book: Librarians unite! Unlike last time, I was prepared for the books and swag that I would be collecting and brought a tote bag to store all of the awesomeness. I ended up buying both of Tiffany Trent’s books and getting them signed, and also getting a few other books: a hardcover of Rebel Belle and a signed copy of Vicious.
The icing on the cake was that Megan Spooner ended up taking the picture of me and the authors before we left. All in all it was a fantastic night and I am chomping at the bit waiting for the next event I am able to go to. Now that I’ve been to two signings, I am addicted. I can’t get enough of being in the presence of all of these fantastic authors and getting all of the encouragement and inspiration I need to make me a better writer myself.