Armchair BEA: Author Interaction

I have been to a handful of author readings. The two that stand out were both hosted by our only independent bookstore. In 2009, Neil Gaiman invited independent bookstores to host Graveyard Book-themed parties. The winning store would host a signing and reading. I remember the day he announced the winners, he blogged about asking his publishers if he could pick two winners, and they let him. The first store announced was in Georgia, then the second store was announced – here! I have rarely been more shocked or excited. Around 900 people crammed into McNally to hear Neil read and to have their books signed. After the reading, I only had to wait two hours to get Stardust signed. The signing went until 1:00AM. My mom took me, bless her, and she was amazed to find people who were happy to wait that long. She chatted with some girls knitting sweaters while I stood in line. It’s a wonderful experience to be able to personally thank someone for crafting the stories that means so much to you.

I thought that would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. However! A couple years after this signing I took a roadtrip to an Amanda Palmer (his wife) concert, and he did a reading before the concert, and signed afterwards as well 🙂 I was still just as excited as the first time, but I was more level-headed when speaking to him. I had him sign Good Omens for my best friend.

I also met Will Ferguson, author of one of my favourite books Hitching Rides With Buddha. This was a much more intimate experience, with around 30 people. He signed my copy as well as a copy of his then-new book Canadian Pie, which I gave to the teacher who introduced me to his writing. Hitching Rides With Buddha tells of his journey hitchhiking across Japan after teaching English through the JET Programme, an experience I will undertake in August.

I don’t engage much in any online author-fan interactions. I read a handful of authors’ Twitter feeds and blogs, but I don’t usually comment. Interacting with authors is not a priority for me (for now, at least). I know a lot of people enjoy this aspect of blogging, and I think it’s great how authors can make themselves so accessible and less mysterious. I do love being able to read about what an author is working on. Perhaps I feel I don’t have much to say to authors, aside from commenting how much I liked their make. Maybe that’s enough. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. How much do you engage with authors, particularly through social media?

  • Wow, Neil Gaiman. Of the few graphic novels I've read, Neil Gaiman wrote Sandman and I was amazed by the story and art. I have yet to read his novels but have heard he's amazing. How exciting to be able to meet him! Hitching Rides with Buddha is a catchy title, might be good for my Japan selection for the Around the World in 80 Books Reading Challenge I'm working on!

    I hope you are enjoying Armchair BEA, it's been a blast so far! Here's my fangirl fail moment when I met my favorite author that I shared with ABEA today.

  • Thanks for stopping by, Tanya! Gaiman's novels are indeed amazing 🙂 His writing style is distinct but he has many types of stories. I definitely recommend Hitching Rides with Buddha. I think it's a great insight into Japanese people and culture. Even though it's mostly humorous, there are some deeply moving moments.

  • Yeah I'm pretty floored at your Neil Gaiman event. I'm jelly. 🙂

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