Good Monday morning everyone! I hope you all had an excellent weekend. My weekend was amazing!!! I didn’t get any reading done, not even my new books, but I did spend five hours in the same room as my favorite author. It was such a wonderful experience and I plan on keeping my eye out for when Kenyon is back in town as well as other authors I enjoy. So today’s post is basically going to be a summary of my experience from this point on and I have a huge surprise for everyone at the end.
Saturday morning I set off for the launch party by myself because we learned the husband had to work the day before. This was the first time I’ve ever driven to and in Chicago by myself so I was a bit nervous. I took a less popular highway most of the way and traffic was so light I practically had the road to myself. Once I reached the edge of the city I took surface roads because by then I was only 20 minutes from the hotel hosting the event. All in all traffic wasn’t bad, not much worse than a Saturday in the cities where I grocery shop. I was way early so I did some thrift shopping and ate lunch before I could check into the hotel.
After checking in, unwinding and showering it was time to head down to the ballroom where the event was being held. I was 15 minutes early and there was already a huge line. No big deal as I had reserved a ticket beforehand and already paid for my book. I picked those up and noticed they had some of her other titles for sale too. I busted my book-buying-ban big time and picked up the latest book in the league series and another title too. I had planned on having just three books signed and now had four plus one I returned to my room; four was the limit if you didn’t want to have to wait for the end. Ms. Kenyon would sign anything and everything you brought, but people with a lot of items had to let everyone else go first regardless of their place in line.
The event was hosted by Anderson Bookshops, St. Martin’s Press, and the Chicago Marriott Naperville. A big thank you to them and anyone else involved that I missed. They had refreshments for everyone, a DJ, and a photo booth to entertain everyone while we waited before and after Ms. Kenyon spoke. Promptly at 6:30 they introduced her and she spent an hour basically answering our questions about her series and writing. Took me almost to the end, but I worked up the nerve to ask her my question. I was so nervous and once I was handed the microphone and she turned to me I swear it was like an out-of-body experience. I remember hearing my voice and thinking, ‘omg is that really my voice?’ As some of you know my husband is from Bulgaria, born and raised in the Trakia region which was once ancient Thrace where her character Kyrian is from. Anyway, having traveled to this area of the world many times it has always delighted me how well she describes her settings for the stories in those settings. Ash and Styxx’s books are probably my favorite and I always wondered where in the modern world she had in mind for their home. So I asked. After we settled on which place I wanted to know about Didymos or Atlantis, I was thinking of Didymos where they were born. I’ve always considered Atlantis where Ash was imprisoned not a home. She shared with us that she used Mykonos as the island where she envisioned Didymos was and placed Atlantis in the middle of the Aegean Sea. I so have a new travel destination for a future vacation! I can’t remember everything she said (remember out-of-body experience), but she did joke with me a bit about me taking her with us next time we go and how she envied my visits there. I told her its thanks to marrying a Turk.
Ms. Kenyon spoke for an hour and then they started the signing. I made a quick run to my room, my number was 111 and I had plenty of time… I returned the book I wasn’t getting signed and grabbed my knitting and a bottle of water for the wait. During this time they had the costume contest, gave away a signed poster and continued to entertain us with music and the photo booth. They called up numbers in groups of 10 and everyone else hung out on the chairs. It wasn’t until after 9 or almost 10 that it was my turn to head up. I had made friends with some ladies around me and they were kind enough to watch my bag so all I took was my books and camera. Once I hit the ramp to the stage my heart started racing and I just prayed I didn’t faint.
I would like to tell you how cool I was when I walked up to meet her, but I can’t. I gushed and you could hear the nerves in my voice and while I didn’t go as big a fan-girl as I was afraid I would it still wasn’t pretty. I did get to thank her for writing this world and characters I love. She thanked me for reading them. I told her that she was my favorite author and how I told my husband this was all I wanted for our upcoming 20th wedding anniversary. She asked if he was there, but unfortunately he couldn’t come. She also wished us a happy anniversary and shared that her and her husband’s is this month too! All too soon my moment with my idol was up and I walked away taking some of the freebies with me. I hit my seat and my new friends cheered me ( I was the first in our group to go up).
It was the moment of my year and I look forward to the next opportunity to go hear her speak and get another book signed. I’d love to have a hardcover Acheron to go with my Styxx. At 10:30 I made it back to my room, grateful for the day and the decision to stay the night. If I go again I might drive home that night now that I know the roads. Ms. Kenyon is as wonderful in person as she is online. Kind, generous and humble are all words that I would ascribe to her along with witty and patient. If you are a fan and ever learn of her coming to your area I highly suggest taking the time to go hear and meet her for yourself. I can’t wait for my next opportunity and hopefully I will be able to play it cooler than I did this time… Over all it was well beyond my greatest expectations for my first author book signing! What a way to start this new obsession (meeting authors) of mine, starting with my favorite author.
Now for the surprise for you all! I’m having a giveaway!!! I bought and had signed an extra copy of Dragonbane at the event to give away to one lucky person through the blog. I’m going to start the rafflecopter contest on Wednesday August 5, my 20th wedding anniversary and the day after the book releases. I’ll post plenty of reminders when it starts and through the duration. The giveaway will be open for two weeks and United States and Canadian residents only. I’m sorry to everyone else, but international shipping is expensive and international laws scary. There is already a giveaway tab on my Facebook page, so you can enter through there or on the page here at the blog (going live soon). More details will be shared on Wednesday, but here is a picture of the prize you could win!