Friday, November 11, 2005

A book signing with Varian Johnson

Last evening I attended a book event for author Varian Johnson. He presented, and then signed his debut novel Red Polka Dot in a World Full of Plaid. I say "book event" because it was so much more than a typical book signing. I showed up at Barnes and Noble expecting that I’d have to search him out only to find him tucked away in the back corner of the store. I figured, his guest would include the number of people countable on one hand. I’ve had that happen several times. It’s awkward, so I like to support others when I can. But this wasn’t just a typical book signing. They cleared a large space in the center of the store, arranged the chairs into a mini auditorium, and he drew in a packed house!

After his introduction, he gave us some background about how the novel originated. He talked about writing from the point of view of his teenaged protagonist. He introduced us to his main character, Maxine, and spoke of how he discovered her while sitting in an airport waiting on an overdue flight. His, as well as many other author’s characters talk to him. I wish my characters talked to me, it sure would make writing easier. Lastly, he read an excerpt from the novel. We walked away knowing a bit more about the author as well as his book.

He was a bit nervous, however it was a good kind of nervous. Not the kind I had a few years ago where I almost hyperventilated after having a brain freeze front and center of a room full of people. This was the kind of nervous that spoke to how much he cared about making this a nice experience for the many people who turned out.

Should I do another book signing, I'm going to use this one as an example to follow.

See his interview here on Rants and Raves!

Now, the wife has taken the day off from work. I think she’s forgotten this is my normal work/blog/illustration time, and she kinda likes to talk. And she's talking right now. And she won't stop even though I’m doing my best not to look up. I can't talk and write. So, I'll end my observations here, and go back to my illustrations. 'Cause I'm good at drawing and talking at the same time.

1 comment:

rindambyers said...

Don, can you start a booksigning with reading some excerpts first to help with the bit of stage fright (which I also have by the way)? I always liked reading the actual book to a group first thing, always warmed me up,warmed up the audience, made me feel more comfortable with talking after that.