Monday, March 7, 2011

I am officially a book nerd: Notes from the Patricia Briggs/Kim Harrison signing

Well, I think I've cemented my booknerd-dom: I drove six hours (7 really after the stupid GPS drove me all over Houston at 2am!!) to see an author (okay, it was two - so really that's only three hours each, right?)

I can't remember how I came across it, but I saw that Patricia Briggs was going to be at Murder by the Book in Houston. That was the closest she would get to me for signings. My brother and his wife (my BFF) live in I called and asked if I could come for a quickie visit.

This happens to be the big Mardi Gras weekend in New Orleans, so I knew hubs would be working the parades 24/7 all weekend, so my plan was to leave work, grab my daughters (age 10 and 4) and do the drive. My teenage son wanted to stay home (even after I said "no parties", lol). Then, since these things have a way of falling into place, my parents offered to keep the girls!!!

So, Friday night after work, I hopped into my car and drove to Houston to see Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison! My BFF has never read either of these author's books, but she was game for anything and came along to take pics and hang out.

Let me start by saying Murder by the Book was a very cool bookstore. I definitely want to go back when it's not so crowded - they had a large selection of books and their displays were ecclectic and quirky; the store had a very "film noir" ambiance and I wanted to spend time browsing and looking at the displays. The staff was super nice, which was pretty amazing considering they'd had five authors there over the course of the day.

Here's what I got from the Q&A:

Patricia Briggs:
  • She doesn't have a definite ending to her Mercy Thompson series; as long as people are willing to buy them she'll keep writing them. She did say she's going to be slowing down on writing the series though.
  • There are more Mercy graphic novels coming, as well as Alpha & Omega graphic novels. She says they're rescripting the 1st issue and bringing in a new artist (something about the men all looking the same?) and to save the ?Brett? cover if you have that one.
  • The next Alpha & Omega book is coming out in Jan/Feb 2012 and has serial killers in Boston; it will involve Homeland Security.
  • When asked if she'd write a story for Bran, she said maybe a short story. His character needs to be mysterious, and he wouldn't be if he got a whole book.
  • Sam and Ariana will get a short story but she can't do it in one of Mercy's books; she says you can't write a romance about two characters if the story is told in someone else's POV.
  • Warren is getting a short story in the anthology "In Red with Pearls"
  • If I understood her correctly, she's under contract for a book of short stories set in Mercy's world. She says later she wants to give several of her Mercy characters short stories and will put them in an anthology.
  • What does she do if she gets writer's block? She brings in Bran. :)
  • She has movie news but can't tell us much - says Cam Jones has the Mercy rights but not Alpha & Omega. The first project will be from the Homecoming graphic novel. That's all she'll say for now.
  • The cover tattoos: The tattoos on the cover are an inside joke between Patricia Briggs, her editor, and Daniel Dos Santos (the artist). The paw tattoo was suggested by DDS, and they liked the idea so she went back and wrote it into the story. Then, more tattoos were added to the cover art but she says the Tri-City area is very conservative and wouldn't go for that. Also, she couldn't go back and add more tats to the story. She said DDS adds the tattoos on the cover and they reflect the story in the book. Mercy has the paw tattoo and tribal rings around her biceps (those are not mentioned in the books).
  • Ms. Briggs also said that Urban Fantasy offers hope to the reader, a solid happy ending. She personally hates cliffhangers :)
( Dana from Reading Amidst the Chaos saw Ms. Briggs in DC, and the Q&A there was different so you might be interested in her notes here)

Kim Harrison:
  • Ms. Harrison plots her books, starting with a list of what she wants to happen. She does say Rachel's personality jumps around, so she can't plot the romantic parts in advance. She works ahead of the publishing schedule so she can make changes if she needs to.
  • The series will end at 12 or 13 books. She wants to write a new story, darker, but can't do that until she's done with the Hollows. It will be Urban Fantasy, other than that she won't say.
  • Why does she do Clint Eastwood titles? She loves his movies! Pale Rider and Heartbreak Ridge are her favorites. Also, she uses them because of marketability. She does not have movie rights but wants Clint Eastwood to direct them if she ever did (lots of laughter).
  • In future books, Al will be a more principal player from here on out. She would love to write a book set entirely in the EverAfter and there will be more attention to demons in the future.
  • She pronounced Al's name for us - said it's like "Al, a liar, a reptile".
  • When asked about a diagram of the church, she said she's coming out with a reader's guide-type book in November. It will have diagrams, descriptions, personal information like driver's licences; hardcover, color pages, the works!
  • Someone asked if Al loves Rachel. She said Al respects Rachel, which he's not used to doing, so he makes mistakes (she emphasises that he makes mistakes) but it's not love. Rachel will never reciprocate.
  • She did not plan for Rachel to become friendly with Trent and Al. She didn't intend for them to become likable characters and says it makes it hard to write enemies for Rachel; they're more like "frenemies".
  • Ms. Harrison is a fan of happy endings: Rachel will get a happy ending. However, her idea of a happy ending is when the main character is happy, confident, and knows what she wants. She also says Trent, Jenks, Al, and Ivy will get happy endings, although what those endings will be is still a mystery.

All told, it was a wonderful night. Both authors were delighted to answer questions and very personable. I will definitely be going back to Murder by the Book in the future and bringing hubs because I think he'd like it too. Many thanks to Patricia Briggs and Kim Harrison for going to Houston, Murder by the Book for hosting the signing, my brother and his wife for letting me stay with them, hubs for encouraging me to go and have fun, and my parents for keeping the kids!

Just out of curiosity, what's the furthest you've traveled to see an author?


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