Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Salon: Two author events!

Over the couple of weeks I have been lucky enough to go to two author events, both featuring well known international authors. The first one was Maria V Snyder who appeared at our local library (organised by our local bookstore) and the second was Kelley Armstrong who appeared at an event in a city bookstore!

In order to get to the Maria V Snyder event I had to leave work early (I know, such a hardship) but I just made it along with about 25 others. It was a very cold and rainy night, and after a couple of disparaging remarks about Melbourne weather (which she had obviously been fed by Sydney people *wink*) it was on to the talk. Most of Maria's talk was about where her ideas come from. She talking about her background as a meteorologist and her husband's job which indirectly led to ideas for the Study series, about learning to fence and blow glass so that she could be confident that she knew what she was talking about when she was writing and more! There was quite a lengthy question and answer session, including one question that had everyone in the room gasping "spoiler, spoiler, spoiler"...whoops!

This year I have read both Inside Out and Outside In in ebook form, but I already owned Fire Study and Storm Glass so I took them to get signed. Because I wanted to support the bookstore I also bought the other two books in the Glass trilogy to get signed. I loved that when the author signed them, she obviously has set greetings that she used for each different book that was relevant to the book. For example, in Fire Study her greeting was "The danger heats up".

Attending this signing made me really want to finally read Fire Study, which is the third book in the Study trilogy. I can't tell you how shocked I was when I realised that it is has been sitting on my bookshelf unread for 3 years and that it has been 4 and a half years since I read the second book! Whilst I still remember the basics, I think I am going to try and reread the first two books just to refresh my memory a little!

I really like the fact that the local library and bookstore are working together to bring these kinds of events to our local area. It actually works really well for a couple of reasons. From the bookstore's point of view it means that they have a room which can fit a number of people in without it being cluttered or crowded and I think it really looks good from the library perspective as well. I was glad to hear from the librarians that they are working hard at embracing modern technologies and trying new things!

A fun thing that the library does that I haven't seen done before is that they provide a small selection of drinks and snacks at the end of the event. This time they had some biscuits that I hadn't tried before and they were so delicious both Bree from All the Books I Can Read and I have been chatting about them on Twitter ever since, and we may have both bought more than one packet since! After the talk it was great to have dinner with Bree, Jacqui from Collins Werribee and Bookworm Rebel from Bookaliciousness! Lots of enthusiastic book talk ensued!

Another cold night saw about 30 people attending a talk and signing by Canadian author, Kelley Armstrong at Dymocks bookstore in Melbourne itself. With the demise of Borders, I think Dymocks is probably one of the biggest stores we have left.

Kelley started by telling us how we weren't really having winter - something along the lines of if there isn't 5 foot of snow to trudge through, it isn't really winter! All of us shivering Aussies would probably have to agree to disagree. I guess it is all about what you are used to!

This talk was once again strong on the question and answer component, but the author started with a run down on where each of her current series is going. Not too long ago it was announced that The Otherworld series is going on hiatus after the next book, which will be the thirteenth book in the series, and will be titled Thirteen. The spin off young adult series set in the same world will be continuing. I am a big fan of the Otherworld series, so I was really surprised to hear that Kelley didn't achieve New York Times bestseller status with any of those books, but rather it was the young adult books which achieved that level of success. I  also really liked the Nadia Stafford books that she wrote which are not paranormal, but rather feature a female hit woman, so it was interesting to hear her plans for a third e-book only release in that series. She also talked about plans to continue to publish collections of short stories that she has written about characters in the Otherworld series that have been previously published in various anthologies around the world.

There were lots of questions about various characters, and about writing. I was really struck by how many projects Armstrong was juggling. She talked about just doing copy edits, and just finishing writing, and writing the Nadia Stafford book during her time off, and that is on top of a trip to Australia and more! She talked about not being discouraged if you see your idea that you think is unique being written because even if someone else does have a similar idea it will likely still be a very different book to the one that you write. When asked what the best advice is for a struggling writer - just write!

I have to tell you two stories though. As with the Snyder signing, I like to support the stores that are hosting these events so I knew that I was going to buy a couple of books to get signed but I wasn't sure which one, not least because with the exception of the last couple of books this is one series that I have read only from the library. When I get ready for work every day I do the checklist - have I got the keys, my purse, train ticket. Check, check, check. Unfortunately after I had done my checks, the boy took some money out of my purse and left it on the cupboard instead of putting it back in my bag and I didn't realise until later in the day. I really need to say thanks to the staff at Dymocks who let me get my books signed and then put them on hold and I went and picked them up yesterday!

The last two books in the Otherworld series are ARCs that I had received, so I was a little worried about taking those for signing, but in the end it was all good! So now I have signed copies of the first two and the last two books in the series!

The second story relates to my always deplorable photography! I have learnt lessons from my previous attempts and so this time I chose to sit somewhere quite close to the stage (not that the room was huge, it was actually very intimate in terms of space) so that I could get some better photos than normal.

Before Kelley Armstrong got up to speak, the organiser asked everyone if they could please turn the flashes on their cameras off. I was very surprised that I actually knew how to do this. The only problem is, I actually have no idea how to turn it all back on again, and I wasn't the only one who tried! I have also changed one of the other settings so everything is a bit out of focus. Might need to let the boy play with the camera and try to get all the settings right again before I go to any other events. So here is a very blurry photo of Kelley and I (for posterity's sake only!)

With the Melbourne Writer's Festival kicking off next week, I am going to quite a few events over the next couple of weeks. Need to sort out the camera situation asap!


  1. i really enjoyed reading this post! It was really interesting :) One day I'll have to get off my lazy butt and go to one of these shindigs!

    Regarding the flash. Do you have a little lighting bolt symbol on your camera? That usually activates/deactivates a flash.

    What model do you have? :)

  2. Hi Marg I enjoyed reading your post very much. Melbourne is fantastic for these sorts of events/signings, Queensland has a long way to go to catch up, but I think is getting better. Looks like the Brisbane Writers Festival, on next month, has an interesting line up and I look forward to catching some of those events.

  3. What a great blog so glad i found you.

  4. Hi Marg, it's Danielle (mummazappa) from the book nerd club here. Very soon I'll be hosting a readalong of Foal's Bread, Allen and Unwin will send out the books to Aussie book bloggers. If you'd be interested in joining in there's a post about it on my blog, and you can email me at for more information :-)

    Great post - I always find the staff at my local Dymocks super friendly and helpful, I think it's because they are franchised so the people who run it own it! Have a great time at the MWF, the Perth one is my favourite time of the year!

  5. Hi Danielle, I will send you an email shortly as that book sounds interesting to me!

    Thanks Vintage Sew and So. Hope you stick around.

    Mel, there are a few people attending Brisbane Writers Festival that I would like to see!

    Book Worm Rebel, you should go to an event. It is lots of fun!

  6. Though my friends laugh at me when I say this, I always compare meeting authors to getting the chance to cozy up to celebrities, and always get so overwhelmingly excited when I get the chance to meet an author!

    I like the fact that Maria V Snyder signed each book with specific inscriptions and that there were such amazing biscuits on offer as well!

    I am also really envious that you got the chance to see Kelley Armstrong! She is such an amazing author, and I can imagine that I would have been falling all over myself if I was there!

    This was a great post, and let me live a bit vicariously!

  7. Great post, as Heather said! And I love both authors so it was very fun!

  8. I love the recap, Marg, but you missed a crucial piece of information. What biscuits were they??? :D