Can I just say what an exhausting experience the RT Booklovers Convention is; but one that is utterly fabulous?
This year, I had the wonderful opportunity to spend two days at the RT Booklovers Convention and it has done nothing but make me want to go for the full week next year in Los Angeles. The whole event is completely chaotic, and while it was exasperating at times, it still made it fun. I have to say, I’m normally a very shy girl when it comes to events like these (and I still was to some extent), but I really surprised myself. I wasn’t as shy as I thought I would be and I met some great people while I was there – and not all of them were authors, but readers just like me. My sister would probably say that was why I wasn’t shy – I had the chance to talk books with others who loved them just as much as I do. Who knows, she may be right, but I do know that I am going to be in Los Angeles and I am totally going to be trying to make it work.
With that in mind, there’ll be a few changes at Literary Escapism (well, really just one major one), but I’ll get into that with the newsletter that I should be working on. Instead, let me tell you about RT10 in Columbus.
As earlier mentioned, the only reason I was able to go for two days was the absolutely wonderful opportunity to interview eight different authors that I couldn’t turn down. Initially, I was really nervous about conducting live interviews, but I’ve come to realize that I love doing them. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll notice I really don’t do a lot of them here at LE. That’s mainly because they are a lot of work and I really don’t have the time for it. I refuse to send an interview to an author with the same five boring questions everyone asks and will spend the time to see what they’ve answered recently on various blogs. So coming up with a list of questions for 8 separate interviews, all of which were scheduled for 30 minutes, had my nerves working overtime. However, once I was sitting down with the authors, the interviews were great. At least I thought so. The conversation never stalled and I found out so much about some of my favorites characters. Honestly, I don’t think I would have gotten some of the answers I did if I had merely sent my questions via email. So when given the chance, I will be conducting more live interviews. I’m not sure how many live ones I’ll be able to do, but I do know of one author who lives in the area with a new paranormal historical coming out next year that I would love to chat with.
But….let me talk about the ones I did do! Like I said, I talked with eight different authors:
- Jenna Black: After talking about the upcoming Faeriewalker series, I’m even more excited to read Glimmerglass. Plus, I totally asked her about the Morgan Kingsley series and I have hope that there’ll be more in the future – just not in the near future. Jenna’s interview is scheduled to go up on June 1st. I’m still working on a contest idea, so keep your eyes open for that.
- Zoe Archer: Can I say Mongolia? Zoe’s new historical paranormal – the Blades of the Rose with a prequel story in Half Past Dead – has caught my attention even more. The first story, Warrior, is set in Mongolia with future novels situated in the Canadian Rockies and Greece. Talk about some exotic locations. Zoe’s interview will go up September 7th, the day Warrior releases. I’m still working on a contest idea, so keep your eyes open for that.
- Vicki Pettersson: Seriously…Vicki is such a sweetheart. We seriously talked for an hour and a half. It was a blast. Even though I have only read the first two novels (which I am definitely going to be rectifying soon), we were able to keep the interview focusing on the current novels, which only made me want to read them even more. I’m seriously lucky I didn’t have my kindle on me as I probably would have bought all four novels right after the interview. Vicki’s interview will go up on May 25th and I have two copies of City of Souls to give away. Possibly a copy of Cheat the Grave, but I need to check to see if it was personalized first.
- Keri Arthur: This was my fangirl interview. Totally. With Keri being an Australian, I never thought I would get to go to a signing, let alone sit down and talk with her. I will be honest, this was probably my hardest interview. There was too much I wanted to know about Riley and all the answers would have totally been spoilerish for Moon Sworn, so I didn’t get those answers. However, we definitely talked Riley and Risa. One thing I did find out is even though Moon Sworn is the last Riley novel, we have not seen the last of her. Keri’s interview will be go up on May 27th. I’m still working on a contest idea, so keep your eyes open for that.
- Juliet Blackwell: Secondhand Spirits is a brand new paranormal mystery and one that was completely new to me. Talking with Juliet about it has definitely piqued my interest in it. Juliet’s interview will go up August 10th. I’m still working on a contest idea, so keep your eyes open for that.
- Jackie Kessler: What can I say…Jackie is always a blast to chat with. I found out some great things about Jezzie and Jet, plus my whole perspective on the new Riders series was corrected. Let’s just say the series is a little different than what I was thinking it was going to be. That’s not a bad thing, just not what I was thinking. Jackie’s interview will go up on June 17th. I’m still working on a contest idea, so keep your eyes open for that.
- Nicole Peeler: Did you know that Nicole lived in Scotland for a bit. I so didn’t know that. When I found that out I got jealous. I would love to go to Scotland. I also found out some goodies on future Jane novels, which I’m sure everyone wants to know about. Nicole’s interview will go up on June 29th, the day Tracking the Tempest releases. I’m still working on a contest idea, so keep your eyes open for that.
- Ann Aguirre: I had a great conversation with Ann that totally went in a completely different direction that I had planned. Of all the interviews I had scheduled, I had the hardest time coming up with questions for Ann, but once we started talking, I never looked at them once. I loved how our conversation flowed and found out some really great things about Jax and Corinne. Ann’s interview will go up August 24th. I’m still working on a contest idea, so keep your eyes open for that.
So those were my interviews and I’ll be honest, they took up most of my time while at RT10, but that’s why I was there. I was only able to get to one panel – The Melting Pot with Carolyn Crane, Jeaniene Frost, Melissa Marr, Lucy Monroe, Vicki Pettersson and Patrice Michelle – but that was mainly because all of the UF/PNR ones I wanted to go to were on Wednesday. So honestly, doing all of those interviews on Friday was brillant. I did hit up a few of the parties later that night, and while they were good, I don’t think they lived up to the expectation I had for them. I will say that the Mr. Romance Competition on Saturday was hilarious. I’m sure it’s not meant to be, but it was so cheesy and yet so great that it was awesome. My pick ended up in second place, but the winner (Jamie) totally rocked it by taking all three trophies – the readers choice, contestant choice (Mr. Congeniality) and the top prize of Mr. Romance 2010.
I did make it to the massive book fair, and yeah, this deserves its own paragraph. Can I say that this was such a great event and totally wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I took with me a list of 30+ authors I wanted to try to see and I honestly didn’t think I was going to get to them all. However, I not only saw all of them, but I was able to spend a few minutes chatting with them as well, plus I made it to more authors than I originally planned on, in only an hour and a half. The lines were not as bad as I thought they would be. Well, there was one line that totally made my day. The authors were all lined up in alphabetical order, barring a few “big names” – those were spread around the perimeter of the room to make room for the lines they were going to get (honestly, the staffers were totally organized for this I thought). For those, they were giving people in line numbers in an attempt to keep the lines short and allow them to see other authors and not lose their space. It made sense that JR Ward, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher and Richelle Mead all fit into this category, but so did Jeaniene Frost! Within 20 minutes (or there about), they totally had to move Jeaniene out of the alphabetized order because she was consistently clogging up the aisle with all of her Frosties. It was fabulous. It was a blast hearing “Frost 40-45 can get in line”.
I have to say, the authors were simply fabulous. They were all so nice and totally open to chatting with anyone who walked up to them. Yes, they were a little cliquish, but seriously, they were hanging out with their friends and that was totally expected. I mean, who wouldn’t be doing that at a convention. Finding all the authors in their groups did make approaching them a little intimidating, and it did prevent me from stopping to talk with a few, but that’s something I’m going to work on for next year. Jenna Black gave me some really good advice regarding this: watch the body language, if they are talking and having a good time then it’s all good to interrupt. Just don’t interrupt what could be a serious conversation. Besides, approaching the few I did while they were in their groups meant I was able to meet a few authors I didn’t know.
I do have to say though, all of the authors I did talk with totally made my day. Not in the fact that they talked with me, but the fact that they knew of me. When I am at an author event, I don’t mention that I’m from Literary Escapism. Don’t ask me why, I just don’t. Maybe it’s my shyness coming out, but I don’t do it. Knowing this, I carried around a bag that said LE on it, plus I had a button of my eye – after all I should totally be promoting myself as well, right? However, I never had the chance to tell someone I was from LE. All I had to say was my name or they saw my name tag, and it was “Jackie! Hi!”. It totally caught me off guard the first time, but it also helped a lot with the author mystique. They didn’t seem as unapproachable after that. I have to say that when I met Leanna Renee Heiber that she cracked me up. She totally missed the fact that I was six months pregnant because she only got as far as my button on my badge, which was just above my bump. It was great.
Future Contest Fodder
Oh did I end up with books. I took about one bag (you know those reusable bags Wal-Mart and other places are starting to sell for $.99 – that kind) and a few others from my own shelves to get signed, but I ended up coming home with four bags filled with books, plus another one filled with swag. They weren’t all the same size – I had two of those reusable ones, my beach tote and two other totes that was given out – but it was still a nice haul. The good news for everyone here – there’s no way I’m keeping them all. I’m trying to clear my shelves of books and switch to completely digital (except for series I already own), but my intent was never to keep them anyway. I so want to share a good majority of them with everyone. So you can totally expect some great contests coming up. I’ll post a few pics of what I came home with over on Facebook later.
I did go to RT10 thinking of everyone here and I have a really sweet prize for someone. I was talking a little about it on Facebook earlier in the week, which I ended up doing it and it turned out fabulous. What I did was I took a canvas board around with me and had every author I encountered sign it. I haven’t counted them, but I want to say I have over 30 different authors signatures and it’s so totally framable. I’ll be giving it away in an RT10 Haul Contest towards the end of the month (once my Race for the Cure contest is over) plus a few of the books I picked up. So keep your eyes open. I’ll get a picture of the board (and the books) up on Facebook Monday or Tuesday.
RT10 was a total blast. I am sorry to report that I really don’t have any pictures to show. I had my camera, but I never pulled it out. There never seemed like there were “photo ops”, even with all the authors. It very much felt like roaming the halls during high school – you talked with someone if you bumped into them, but then you moved on. I do wish I had taken more photos, because the whole experience seems kind of surreal, but I’m so totally doing it again and I’m not going to be afraid to drag it out next time. Of course, I say that now, but ask me again next April. Either way, there is one thing I will be thankful for at next year’s RT (in Los Angeles) – I won’t be pregnant. I walked into the Columbus Hyatt walking perfectly normal, but I left walking like the stereotypical pregnant woman – the full waddle was on.
Seriously though, if you have the chance to go next year – Los Angeles April 6-10, 2011 at the Westin Bonadventure Hotel – I would totally do it. Even if you don’t want to pay the full convention price, just go and hang out in the bar area. You’ll run into a lot of the authors and they are all super friendly.