Sunday, January 27, 2008

Introducing: Shannon Hale & Libba Bray!

They sing duets, they tell silly stories, and yes, they write books! Behold, Shannon Hale and Libba Bray, who have just completed a short book tour together. Funny thing about that -- I had assumed they must have already been friends and decided to tour together, but nay, it is in fact their publicists that are friends, and cooked up the idea at the top-secret publicist clubhouse in New York City. Well, I think it's safe to say that Shannon and Libba are friends now.

{I'd been very much looking forward to this event, but the morning preceding it did not go, ahem, smoothly. After going to the gym (I'm throwing that in there casually as if I do it every day, ha ha), Jim and I came home and got ready to go, only to discover on the way out the door that the dog's face was swollen so Jim would need to take him to the vet instead of coming with me! This necessitated going to my parent's house to borrow a second car, where we promptly got iced into their sloping hill driveway and had to salt our way out. Then I finally made it to pick up Alexandra (aka delinquent blogger) in time for a very late breakfast at Cameo (where the pancakes are as big as pizzas), and we FINALLY made it to Powell's!! I had wanted to stop and pick up cupcakes for Shannon's birthday, which was yesterday, but our waitress was very slow, and alas, we did not make it.}

So, Shannon and Libba come onstage quite without the usual "decorum" of *authors* -- there was no shuffling of papers, no clearing of throats, no. They sort of burst forth and start chattering like a couple of comedians. It was very high-energy and very amusing! They warmed themselves up with tales of the airlines stealing Shannon's cool black boots (forcing her to wear sneakers -- and kindly Libba wore sneakers too, in solidarity), and how Shannon tried to calm Libba's fear of flying by singing her a John Denver song. (You might recall how John Denver died.) Also, and this was funny, when the airline told Shannon her bag was 10 pounds overweight and she would have to take some stuff out, she started fishing in it for books to remove, and the first one was Libba's new tome, The Sweet Far Thing. Once she took that one book out, she was told that was enough! So, does Libba's book weigh 10 pounds? Maybe not, but it is massive.

It wasn't all airlines. They asked each other questions and sang songs, and there were various other antics. Here, for example, is Shannon demonstrating how one might insert a six-inch bolt into one's nose (part of an explanation of how the character Razo is like her brother):
And here is Libba, showing how she might curtsy for the Queen (during which curtsy she would certainly be wearing Hello Kitty underwear and striped stockings!):

Shannon told some really interesting facts and folklore about Mongolia, which informed the world of Book of a Thousand Days (which has been named an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and a teensread best book of the year, by the way) -- including how in Mongolia, people sniff each other in greeting, because a person's scent is supposed to carry a bit of their soul! How about that? And Libba said how the surest way to get 7th and 8th graders to line up to buy your books is to have their teacher or librarian announce that they are full of naughtiness and bad words. Oh, yeah, and that she is some kind of succubus who sustains herself on the tears of teenage girls (as accused by a teenage girl), and that apparently, something very shocking happens on page 791 -- I think that was the page. What could it be? I will have to wait to find out, because I need to reread her series from the beginning.

I also find it interesting that Libba wrote the first draft of her next book (called "Going Bovine" -- a dark comedy about mad cow disease!), in between her last two Gemma Doyle books. And Shannon, too, intersperses her Bayern books with other books. The Bayern books are stand-alone stories with interlocking characters, and not really a "series," but I still find this interesting, since I too have the impulse to write a non-Dreamdark book next. I may overcome that impulse and surge ahead with Dreamdark 3 (which will probably be called "Rathersting".) Right now it is impossible to say.

All in all, it was a great event, and it ended with a musical number:
You can tell how much the girls enjoyed this by the looks on their faces! By the way, I probably don't need to say this, but there was a huge turnout, and it took the ladies a long time to get all the books signed after the talk. A long time! They were rushing off to the airport, but they hung out and signed books until the last second.

I didn't bring all my books, just the hardcovers, and I bought each of their new books, so I had a bit of a stack to sign, and I might've hogged a little more than my share of time in line! I did get a photo of me with Shannon and local author Heather Vogel Frederick, author of The Mother-Daughter Book Club, the Patience Goodspeed books, and the Spy Mice books! Here we are:

And one last thing unrelated to the authors. This is funny! While I was seated in the audience, a woman walked by with BRIGHT magenta hair. Even brighter than mine. And we saluted each other, of course. The thing that's funny about it is I have now seen this woman FOUR times, and each time it was in a different bookstore!!! Is that not awesome? Pink-haired chicks dig books. There was a teenage girl in the audience with a pink streak too, and she also got a salute!

Tonight, I get the great pleasure of attending a book club meeting of Blackbringer! The fabulous Jone is hosting it. Jone is a school librarian and has been a wonderful supporter of my book. Thanks, Jone!

P.S. Leroy the dog has an absessed tooth which will be pulled tomorrow, and while he is under they will also drain a squishy lump on his chest, clean his stinky teeth, and remove some growths from his old eyelids. Ah, poor old doggy. He is practically a hundred! I guess if you live that long you get lumps and growths!


Jim Di Bartolo said...

Yeah, sorry I had to miss what looks and sounds like such a fun time, but I'm glad I got him to the vet & on antibiotics for his poor swollen face :(

Hopefully we can start being more frequent attendees to book signings in the near future. What say you cute wife-o-mine? :)


Jone said...

Ooh, it looks like I missed a lot of fun! But my hair is happy I spent the afternoon getting its color re-done. Thanks for the shoutt out. Looking forward to this evening.

Q said...

Ah, but you probably didn't hear her stories about Austenland...

Alex S said...

You forced me to eat pancakes and raspberries and various other tasty miracles and now my poor tummy is paying the price of your influence. Lordylordylordy was that brunch ever delicious! And It was very cool to see both writers, to see they are just regular people going about their lives sticking steadfast to a dream. And Leroy, if you are reading this, I'm sending you a big kiss!

Anonymous said...

That was interesting. Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

What a fun event...thanks for sharing it with us. And now I want to check out BOTH of their books, so thanks for adding to my (ever groaning) to-be-read list!

Robin Brande said...

Laini, thanks for your report! I'm so hoping they make it out to my part of the country--they sound like such a blast!

And by the way, how cute is it that Jim and you talk via the blog? Although I assume you also talk in person.

I miss you two! You're some of my most fun friends that I met last year. Looking forward to playing with you again!

Jenny Schwartzberg said...

Oooh. I'm so envious! I wish they would do a tour to Chicago. Seems like the author visits are all to the suburbs, not the city itself. Major pout here.

Also, how do you find out about author visits without searching every single bookstore's webpage on a regular basis??

Hoping to get lucky and experience a wonderful bookstore author visit....

Amber said...

This sounds so fun!

I have been waiting to see if you will change it up, with thehair. Try the blue or purple? Or are you a true Pink?