Three weeks ago today, I met up with the lovely Lee Weatherly, author of Angel, for a book signing in Reading, Waterstones Oracle. As soon as I figured out I could go to this event, I was very excited. Twitter knew I was going (I mentioned it usually a few times a day. I did try to reign in my enthusiasm so I didn't look too weird). My family knew I was going. My work colleagues put up with me mentioning it a lot, and being incredibly hyper on the 27th October (the day it happened).
My stomach dropped as I drove to the Oracle and saw a sign saying 'Oracle and Holy Brook full, use Queens'. Queens was not an option for me (too far to walk). So I took a risk, going on the conclusion that cars do actually leave the car park as well as enter it. And hey, I got a space! Not my usual space (yes, I have a usual space. It's mostly empty...but not on that day). I got there super early (40 mins early). The mall was so full that I vowed never to go again before January. Or maybe February. I don't go often so its not that bad.
Anyway, I made my way to Waterstones extremely excited. I got there, waited a bit (trying to read, but really watching them set everything up). I took a picture of the stand.
(Note, book shops like it if you ask permission to take photos).
Isn't that beautiful? It looks so lovely, all those copies of Angel. The leaflets on the table were extracts from the story (free).
Eventually I saw someone come along not in a Waterstones uniform. I waited a little while, then went and said hello. It was the lovely publicist Sally! Not long after Lee came along. And the fun began!
On Twitter Lee had sweetly agreed to sign all the books I have by her. Besides Angel, I had Child X, Breakfast at Sadies, Missing Abby and Kat Got Your Tongue (all written under Lee Weatherly, rather than L A Weatherly. And a Glitterwings Academy book, to which Lee apologised for not having a sparkly pen (I survived). So I was at the front of queue, getting 6 books signed :) I got an awesome bag with badges, a bookmark and a poster (yes I have failed to take a picture of that...if I remember I'll post it later but don't count on it!).
I asked if I could do a photo later, and that was fine. So later I got this photo taken
I wasn't standing up straight so I would fit in the picture. I shouldn't have worried!
In between having my books signed and having the photo taken (which was used by Sally for Usborne publicity - coolness!) I chatted. About 10-15 people came to get books signed, so there was a lot of waiting around. Both Lee and Sally were happy to chat.
I chatted to Lee about Angel (obviously). No I'm not giving anything away - and neither did she! It was interesting to learn that in earlier versions Angel actually followed a different plot. However about about 70k or so, (angel is over 100k words long), Lee realised it wasn't working. She didn't like who Alex was. Which was essential to the story. So she went back and changed it. See - even published writers have to have major plot revisions sometimes! We chatted about how one time she was stuck on something, she had a get together with some fellow writers (who are her friends) and they helped her figure out where to go next. This shows that yes, writing is solitary but bouncing ideas of people helps get over the tough parts. We chatted about her travel, her holidays (she doesn't have enough holiday - she has to write book 2 asap). We discussed how her tour has been so far, what it could be like in America (lots of fun!).
When Lee had to sign books (a strange concept to me - why couldn't we just talk! lol) I chatted to Sally about Usborne, publishing in general, why the famous yellow duck should be the Usborne logo (and not the hot air balloon), how due to the economy she'd never get her wish of having a balloon for Usborne and taking up authors and reviewers in it (good - I'm terrified of heights!). How she treated her colleagues to a Mr Kipling Angel cake (or similarly named) - which resulted in a large bulk buy from a supermarket. They couldn't get all the same flavour, so had lemon (I think) - she said that was fine, as long as everyone had a cake. Oh and Sally and I have the same mobile phone - and I'm not the only one still getting to grips with using the camera facility (I stick to my digital camera - much easier!).
My first author signing was a huge success, absolutely amazing and very inspiring for my own writing. Lee is down to earth, quietly spoken, funny and sweet. Sally is equally amazing, bubbly, making sure that Lee had everything, that people wrote their names on sticky notes. I keep thinking about that day, and smiling at how fun it was. Definitely a day I'll remember forever.
Huge thank you to Lee for chatting all that time with me, and also Sally.