What a fun night! I was invited to an author reception for the Boldly Bookish Tour hosted by Bloomsbury Children's and it was such a great time. We met at Buca di Beppo and had some delicious appetizers and pizza and over an hour of great chat time with the authors and other book lovers. I really enjoyed talking with these lovely ladies and hearing about their writing and all the fun things they've done while on this tour and because I love you, Smart Girls, I'll share a bit of what I learned.
Trish Doller is the author of The Devil You Know, an exciting book that I can't wait to read. It was described last night as a feminist thriller that is terrifying, but in the best way possible. I was sitting a bit away from her, so I didn't get to hear as much as I would have liked, but I did hear her say how much this tour has meant to her. She didn't share details, but she said that one night a young woman came up to her and told her how much her book had influenced her and that it had prompted her to make some real changes in her life. Trish said it really got to her and "isn't that why we do this in the first place?". It was very moving to see an author so touched by a fan's response to her work.
I was intensely happy to have been seated so closely to A. C. Gaughen. She said we could call her Annie and that the best way she has to help people pronounce her last name goes back to a high school election in which her campaign slogan was "Use your noggin, vote for Gaughen!" The slogan and the election were both successes. Annie is the author of the Scarlet series, historical novels based on the tale of Robin Hood and rewriting the character of Will Scarlet as a woman named Scarlet. I so enjoyed the conversation we were able to have. Annie helped found Boston Glow, an organization aimed at helping girls and women become leaders in their communities and use their voices for change. Previous to the event, I had found Annie's Ted Talk and I gushed to her about how wonderful I thought it was. We talked about the need for art in education (she is a teaching fellow at Harvard focusing on that very subject) and also her desire to encourage more girls in the STEM fields. Seriously, if you ever get the chance to sit next to Annie at talk for a while (or longer if you're lucky), TAKE IT!
Near the end of the table sat Emery Lord, author of The Start of Me and You, which I loved! Emery is funny and a little goofy and a vegetarian. She is obsessed with RuPaul's Drag Race and she told a hilarious story about taking the other tour ladies out to an appearance of some of the participants of the show. Tiffany found a rainbow colored sequined dress that Annie convinced her to wear and then the two of them challenged Emery to find something equally appropriate for meeting her drag queen heroines. Tiffany had to twist her arm a bit, but Emery spent the evening in a lace jumpsuit and she was rewarded by the firm approval of one of the queens. It was a riot listening to the whole group get in on telling this story.
Finally, I was so happy to be able to sit across from the lovely Tiffany Schmidt. She is the author of Hold Me Like a Breath and I am also really looking forward to reading this retelling of The Princess and the Pea set within a human-organ black market trading crime family. Really- how can anyone resist that premise? Tiffany was very sweet and friendly and she told me about her twin four-year-olds that she was missing while on tour. She also told me that her next novel is set in Texas so the trip yesterday was a good start on her research. She also spoke about her writing process and how her editor continues to push her to "write from her edges". If she is comfortable with what she is writing, she needs to push herself a little further. I thought this was wonderful advice for all writers, actually for everyone. Don't we all want to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones to see what we can accomplish?
It was a lovely evening and I am so grateful to Barnes and Nobel and Bloomsbury Children's for hosting and inviting me. I highly recommend you look for book events in your local area. I have had the most wonderful time meeting these ladies and hearing them speak, not to mention all the other amazing book lovers and Smart Girls!