This means that getting to meet the fans you do meet is very exciting. I always feel like I must talk very fast and give them all the information they could possibly wish about my books! I also feel that I should share the experience of what authoring involves which is not writing, but going out and meeting people.
Being a writer is very strange in that way, as it does mean: most of the time, you stay at home in your jammies and type away, lonely as a cloud.
A typing cloud.
Then for a small portion of the year, you must go out and meet tons of strangers, some of them in crowds who will be observing you, and talk to them intelligently! This is really, really tough on some writers, especially those who are naturally shy. I do not mean to present it as nothing but fun. However, I do find it fun. Which isn't to say that I don't get shy, but - I like people, and talking to them, and talking about books is my favourite thing, and the people who read books (particularly my books) are my favourite people. So it works out pretty well for me.
Except for the talking intelligently part...
For the first portion of the tour, I met up with Scott Westerfeld (Leviathan) and Justine Larbalestier (Liar). This was awesome, as Scott and Justine are excellent people, though Scott's slideshow of pictures from Leviathan puts me to shame. We did school visits and interviews and an industry dinner together. Justine baffled me by talking about the World Cup, and both of us baffled everyone around by yelling about vampires.
Then Scott and Justine were torn from me, just in time for my London Launch for The Demon's Covenant hosted by Murder One.
Well, I was very nervous to be without them. I was also nervous because about a zillion people, including all my English friends and family, had cancelled on me, and thus I was convinced that I would be all alone, watching the tumbleweeds blow by and hit my stacks of books.
Thus I was delighted as soon as I arrived, because there were people there! I adored meeting them all: the lady who ran a bookshop who takes note of my book reviews, the birthday girl and her sister who had just finished her exams, two lovely book bloggers, a party of people from marmalade_fish, one of whom was dressed as Sin and looked amazing and gave me red flowers, which I stuck in my hair.
I told stories about writing, answered many excellent questions (There are not as many make-out scenes in book three) and for the first time, I read from the third book of the Demon's Lexicon trilogy. We raffled off books, among them an advance copy of Kiss Me Deadly, in which Carrie Ryan and Diana Peterfreund, among others, have fantastic stories, and I have a story about Peter Pan as James Bond. I hope the winner likes it!
Then we watched a movie.
KISS KISS BANG BANG: is actually pretty awesome, and funny, and said a lot about narrative structure, although I do not know where the heroine went at the end!
SARAH: shrieks at the screen at tense moments, is a terrible person to watch a movie with
For the next movie event, if I get one, I have to think about excellent action girl movies. One of the big surprises of writing book three for me was how much I loved writing how physical Sin is, even more than Nick in a way, because she has weapons but doesn't rely on them: she's acrobatic, dancing and climbing and swinging from things, and I'd love to find a movie that shows how fun that is.
I had an amazing time, and everyone I met was lovely. I hope everyone who came had as much fun as I did! Here is an account of the the launch, much kinder to me than I deserve, since meeting everyone was my absolute pleasure.
The next day I was even more nervous, because I had to do school events without Scott Westerfeld and His Distracting Slideshow of Amazingness. School events are very different from other events: this is an audience who may not be at all familiar with your books, and may in fact be staring at you with a Fish-Eyed Stare of Extreme Boredom.
They're a challenge, but they're awesome, too: to see if you can get people excited about your books, to be able to talk to classes about what they're reading and if they're writing, too. I had many lovely school events - here is a picture from a particularly excellent one at Milton Keynes.
( They Unwisely Trusted Me With A Class...Collapse )
After school events and another interview, on Saturday I had an event with Rachel Caine (the Morganville Vampires) and Sarwat Chadda (Devil's Kiss) and that I was super nervous about, as a) it was in Foyle's, which is my favourite bookshop in England and b) it was a roundtable discussion! For which one cannot really prepare a presentation, as at a roundtable, one answers the questions asked, and who can tell what they will be! You must respond to them off the cuff, and I knew Rachel and Sarwat would be sparklingly brilliant.
As indeed they were, and so was the event! Foyle's treated us amazingly, providing goodie bags which included sparkling red cupcakes.
RACHEL: If I eat this I will have sparkly red icing on my teeth.
SARAH: Rachel, please eat one and say you were drinking Edward Cullen's blood.
RACHEL: Oh Sarah. (to Sarwat) You know, I once saw Sarah crawl under a tablecloth to check if my book covers glowed in the dark.
SARAH: They did! It was awesome! (pause) Eat the cupcake... you know you want to...
Rachel Caine is a lady of discretion, and did not. She and Sarwat answered the questions, which were focused on the urban fantasy genre in general and our books in particular, beautifully. I was introduced as a Demon Tamer Extraordinaire, and it is just possible I made a noise like a whip cracking at that time.
I had prepared one answer on the evolving roles of horror fiction and how they play out in urban fantasy. Because I do think urban fantasy is a child of both high fantasy and horror - it's just that the things that go bump in the night began an evolution into monsters you can talk to, sometimes, who have things to be as well as your enemy. And I am always deeply interested in roles, and subverting them, and breaking out of them, and I love thinking of scenes playing out from the point of view of every character in them. Hence books from the point of view of the monster, the powerless girl, the femme fatale, and how those roles are disturbing and limiting and surpassed. I wanted to tell everybody's story.
I never actually said this prepared answer, instead talking about how as a child I read a sex scene in the book Jaws as a shark attack that mysteriously happened in a hotel room. My answers, so enlightening. ;) But since I prepared it, I thought I might as well inflict it on you guys!
Here is an account of the Foyles Roundtable, also much more kind to me than I deserve!
So - I had a wonderful UK tour, and if anyone wishes for signed UK copies of my books, Foyle's now has a whole lot of them, and a special display of some of my favourite books.
I do not wish to speak only of the in-person things surrounding Demon's Covenant: there have also been many awesome things made for me online. The very coolest is quite possibly this - check out these foxy messenger earrings!
Though there are also icons, fanart, a fanmix of lovely songs and awesomely, a community called goblinmarket_sw where people fight about who should get together at the end of the Demon's Lexicon trilogy. They currently have three glorious weeks of challenges/art/thoughts/stories and a sign-up sheet.
I am always really pleased and flattered when people have views on who should get together, sometimes writing me emails on why a couple should absolutely not get together, because it means they care! And speaking of people caring who gets together with who, I have two beautiful pictures made by two lovely ladies to show you.
( Ladies, Ladies, Settle Down, Plenty of Alan Ryves to Go RoundCollapse )
Books which focus on brother and brother or brother and sister love don't have the big draw of romance - and I say this with great love for romance, and the wish to one day write a book like the Changeover focusing on a romance I find really excellent - but I love that there are people who have found these books. I love meeting them, talking to them, seeing them like the books enough to want to celebrate them.
And I came home to a lovely review of The Demon's Covenant by the Bulletin, which I shall quote to you a non-spoilery bit of, because I was delighted by it:
The dialogue remains arch and witty, while the intimate narration, focused almost entirely through Mae, reveals that she's being played falsely by most of the men and a few of the demons in her life. She is no girlie victim led around by her hormones, however; instead her urge to protect those she loves and those she owes engenders a strong will and an independent streak that enable her to stand fast in the wake of betrayal. Seeds for a third book are sown; readers will await the next sexy, violent installment with fierce anticipation.
Well, whoa, I hope so. ;) But mostly, thank you Bulletin for really getting Mae!
And thank you all.