Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Dan Wells Book Signing

As I get closer to 40, I'm trying to come out of my little cocoon of social anxiety and start doing things I don't normally do. This morning in a meeting with my boss, I asked him if he'd ever been to a book signing and in the ensuing conversation (he hadn't) mentioned that there was one tonight that I really wanted to go to celebrating the release of Dan Wells' new book, but because lately time off has become a rarity (the library is a circus from June-August) I hadn't asked. Also, because there was this little part of me that thought it might just chicken out and not go. He said, "Oh you should go. You can get off early, how does 6:30 sound?" Um... well... oookayy... I agreed, excited and trepedatious (5 point word, kids) and scrambling to find someone to go with me. (And by the way, I think I have the coolest boss EVER... just sayin'.)

First, I called my dad (the formerly famous film critic) and asked him what a book signing was like, since he's attended them on both sides of the table. He gave me the basics and said he would have gone with me had he known sooner. Dang. Then I called my sister, who is also a Dan Wells fan, but she also couldn't go. Husband? Meh... he would have gone, but I would have had to a. find a sitter for youngest child because her brothers would be at a service project and b. make him miss said service project, which he was supposed to attend. So I let him off the hook and figured I could count on my second son-- he's a reader, I thought, and he'd probably rather go with me for a couple of hours than move dirt with a shovel. No go. Stinker. I asked my friend Dannie. Nope. I called my friend Becky, with just minutes until I would be leaving, and though she's normally game for spontaneous fun (especially social time), she couldn't come either. 

What's a social-anxiety-prone girl to do?

So I ran out to my car, changed my clothes (yep, in the minivan. I'm tricky like that) and raced to Trolley Square. Every light from Tooele to Lakepoint was out. Super. Still, I made pretty good time and got there only about 15 minutes late.

Something you may or may not know about me: I loathe being late. It makes me so tense I can't stand it. So of course, I parked, left my van and went the wrong way, looking for Weller Book Works. It took me about 5 minutes to find a map and face the right direction and find the shop. Thankfully, Dan hadn't started his bit. In fact, I don't think I missed anything all that important. I'm so glad they had a guest from Wasatch Paranormal presenting first. Though, since Wells' new book isn't about ghosts, I'm not sure what the relationship was... maybe I missed that in the introduction portion of the evening, but I was happy to have not missed Dan's book reading. And while the guy was talking, my stomach flipped as I looked across the room and saw another of my very favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson, walk in! I knew he was going to be there, but it was so cool to see him in person. I'm not a crazy-stalker-fangirl, I just really like his writing. 

I took a seat (at the back, of course, luckily next to a display of the new book: "The Hollow City"), snatched one and settled in to listen. Once the paranormal guy was through, Dan took the floor, told us about the book, setting up the scene he would be reading. Only he didn't just read, he and a pair of actors (I assume) did sort of a readers theater of the scene. The scene was entertaining and interesting and did its job: made me want to read the book! These are my not-very-good pictures of Dan and Mary (?) during the reading:

After some Q&A, Dan invited us to have a treat and then line up to have our books signed (I so should have taken a picture of the goodies table... dangit.) They had donuts with bacon on top, peach rings (a reference to something in the book) and little cups with candy "pills" in them (the book is partly about mental illness). The bookstore man stood up and told us to purchase our books up front, then line up for autographs. I cheated a little. I took my un-paid-for book and zipped straight to the signatures line, shimmying in behind a rather large man. I've always been very good at getting to the front of the line fast-- partly because I'm not patient, and though socially anxious, I know how to be assertive (or aggressive) when called for. I was third in line. THIRD!! Yahoo! 

Being close to the front made me feel better about bringing all 4 of Dan's books I already owned, as well as the not-yet-paid-for new one to the table. I asked him to personalize them to Stephanie and he asked if I was the Tooele blogger. Gah! So cool that he's able to remember stuff like that! I was tickled, and we chatted a little as he signed my books- his notes are all funny (I know, he probably does the same phrases in all the books, but I love what he wrote), see the pictures. Then I shook his hand and walked away. Unlike the first guy in line who tried to have a long-ish conversation with him. Authors must both look forward to and dread book signings. :)

I made a beeline for the registers, paid for my book and turned around to see Brandon Sanderson behind me talking with some lady. I waited, trying not to hover, for them to wrap it up so I could meet him quickly before I left, but it was taking too long, so I turned and looked straight at him so he would know I was waiting to chat with him. He stopped talking and glanced at me, like, "yes?" so I said I just needed to shake his hand before I left and that I was a fan and would he be doing a big thing at Weller's for the last WOT book? He said probably, but even sooner, this fall, he'll be releasing a novella and would likely have an event. Yesss!! So excited about that... so I walked away and they resumed their conversation. I felt kind of bad about interrupting, but I like to get in, get done and get out, so I didn't really want to linger. 

I really wanted to have a photo of myself with both of the authors, but I chickened out. Maybe next time. :)

To wrap up this very long blog entry (thanks for sticking with me):

  1. I faced my social anxiety and my habitual homebodiness and did something I've never done before tonight. Alone. Yes. I feel good about that.
  2. I met and shook hands with two of my top 5 favorite authors. Not sure when I will have that chance again. I do wish I had gone to the Utah Writers conference with my friend Laura earlier this year, as both guys did workshops there, but this is almost as good. :)
  3. I made it home before dark, and had such a good time, I think I would do something like this again. 
Now, it's time to settle in and start "The Hollow City". If you're interested, here is my book review to the first Dan Wells book I ever read, which I randomly chose off the library shelf, about a year ago. If you haven't heard of him or read his stuff, I highly recommend you start  there. Or with "The Hollow City", which is unrelated to his other books and stands alone.

Oh, and one more thing. If you happen to be interested, here's Dan Wells' schedule for the remainder of his book tour. He's very nice and personable and you'd better meet him while you can, because he's moving to Germany when the tour is over. 


Chris said...

Oh, this is the "I Am Not a Serial Killer" guy; that didn't register when we spoke. My neighbor knows this fellow and always wears a hat with that line on it. Wells was his wife's student, I believe. Anyway, if I had had some time to cancel my other commitment I would definitely have gone with you, but this is a great blog, and all the better for your including the conquering of your anxiety, which wouldn't really count if Daddy was with you. Great blog, Steph, really. You're getting better all the time.

Anonymous said...

So proud of you, and those signatures in each of the books are hilarious!

Steph said...

@Dad- You make a good point, but it would have been fun to have you there, regardless. :) And had I such a hat, I would also wear it always. Thanks for the compliment.

@Jaymie- I know, right? :) I love it when people are just naturally clever. All the moreso because that's not my strength.

Carolyn said...

Love your blog! I will have to check out his books. I did just finish reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I really loved it.