I almost wrote Celebrity Sightings instead of Author. I thought it might confuse people, but to me, the authors I met are celebrities to me. My second time at BEA was a lot more fun and productive. This time I knew what to expect. I had meetings schedule and even got invited to some events (thanks to my roommate and From Left to Write member Pam for making me her +1 at some of them).
The first day was BEA Bloggers and I immediately became friends with Nicole of Paperback Princess, who was in line ahead of me. Turns out she’s a Justin Cronin fan as well. We made a beeline for one of the table where he would sit for the author breakfast speed dating. She and I sat on either side of the “reserved for author” chair. Yeah, I might have geeked out a bit. Justin Cronin was lovely to chat with. He’s down to earth (you’ll see this is a common theme with the authors I met) and gave us some hints to The Passage’s sequel, The Twelve. Sadly I did not score a galley of The Twelve. I had a meeting during his signing the following morning. At least I got a photo with him. (See my review of The Passage.)
Jennifer Weiner was the keynote for BEA Blogger. I have never read any of her books and didn’t know what to expect. She gave a fascinating talk about how social media is changing the face of publishing and books. She reminded book bloggers (plus the authors, publishers, and publicity folks attending) how vital book bloggers’ voices are to the industry. We help “handsell” the book with our word of mouth. Bloggers have a platform that allows for a more dynamic discussion of books and a conversation with the author. Of course many of us there already know this, but it never hurts to hear it from a successful author. I feel happy that From Left to Write’s book club discussions are part the dynamic. Jennifer Weiner dropped several f-bombs during her talk, which made me love her even more.
Another highlight during Book Expo was the cocktail hour that Crown Publishing hosted for From Left to Write members. We met Anouk Markovits, author of I Am Forbidden-which we read together in May. Hearing Anouk (and other authors I met last week) talk about the characters in their books was enlightening. I know this sounds silly, but I never thought about how real those characters are for the author as they are writing . They live and breathe these characters. In return, the characters talk to them. Anouk shared how Mila, one of the main characters, didn’t become likeable to her until she discovered Mila’s secret desire: to bear a child. Our members enjoyed chatting with Anouk, until her publishing team whisked her away for a much more glamourous party.
Ok, more recap to come!