Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Undead Pool: Author Signing with Kim Harrison

Authors are my rock stars. I am not a celebrity stalker or a girl who hangs around waiting for a guy in a band (although some of my very good friends are), but writers? They are a different story.  I will wait hours in a crowded room so that I can stand in a long line, just to have an author sign my copy of their book.

Last year, my friend Mary and I went to the book launch and author signing of Ever After by Kim Harrison, and we had such a blast that when I saw that Harrison was going to be at Nicola’s Books again this year for the launch of The Undead Pool, I made our reservations immediately. 

Nicola’s Books is a cute little bookstore in Ann Arbor, sandwiched between a place that sells bagels, and a small branch of the Ann Arbor library, and is one of those bookstores that true bibliophile’s fall in love with just upon entering. Books cover every available surface, and you could spend hours happily browsing the shelves.

Mary and I arrived to the store at what we thought was the decently early time of 5:00 pm. The event started at 7, so we figured two hours was good. We were almost right; we were able to get a pretty good spot, but the seats directly in front were already taken, by people who had arrived as early as 2 pm! We were able to grab two seats in a front row; they were just off to the side, which was ok. We claimed our chairs, and then took turns going to the counter to claim our reserved copies and line ticket for the signing. 

I went first, checking out the shelves of books, and then on up to the big counter that dominates the front area of the store. The guy working actually remembered me from last year, but unfortunately after looking for my reserved book, he told me that there must have been some flukey mistake, because they didn’t have one put aside for me or for Mary. Thankfully, they had many extra copies of the book, so I was still able to buy one. He also handed me the next line ticket on the pile, which put us in place 66.Whatever, we all make mistakes right? It didn't matter too much to me, I was just happy to be there.

After Mary claimed her book, we spent the next hour waiting and talking to the people around us. I of course could not remain seated in a bookstore surrounded by books, so I browsed and shopped a little more. I found 800 or so more books I wanted to buy, but since that is not in my budget, I stuck to buying just one more and a notebook. And then, since I am sucker for the stuff that sits on counters near the registers, I added a few pins as well.

Just as Harrison was due to step out from behind closed doors, the bookstore guy came over to me and Mary. He asked me for my line ticket, and while I was digging around for it, unorganized as ever, he told me I was probably going to want to trade with him. I looked up as he ceremoniously flipped over the piece of paper in his hand – showing a line ticket for the first spot in line! It was our previously lost ticket, and he had found it! Yay!!! We had just moved 65 places up in line.

Not long after, Harrison made her entrance. She read all of us an excerpt from the book, and then opened the floor for questions. I was going to ask her if she hated tomatoes, but someone beat me to it. After this, it was time to line up. Like a giant nerd, I practically ran to the front of the line, books in hand, and then nervously stood in front of Harrison while she signed my books. I had wanted to talk to her about Al, my favorite character, and I felt worked up to talking. I very robotically and weirdly told her that I liked the evolution of Al throughout the books. Harrison answered me though, saying she never expected him to become the character he became. I wanted to say something about him charming his way into the story, but words failed me and I didn't.

Mary asked her to sign a get well card for a friend.

After we were finished, Mary and I scurried out of the store, excited like little kids, reading our book inscriptions. Starving, we headed to the nearby city of Ypsilanti and Aubree’s, where we had wine and devoured the deliciousness of their pizza, before hitting the snowy road to head home.

We are already looking forward to next year, which will be bittersweet, as the next book in the series is also the last. 

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