Chris Walsh (chris_walsh) wrote,
Chris Walsh

The Care and Feeding of Authors

Author's event! Author's event! That was one of my treats tonight (the other: real-buttered popcorn), because I drove to Powell's at Cedar Hills Crossing to meet Cherie Priest (cmpriest). I've followed Priest online (and ONLY online, fear not) since she was wicked_wish and writing Southern Gothic novels in Tennessee; now she lives in Seattle and has been writing alternate-history Civil War-influenced steampunk, among much other stuff. (She wrote over 300,000 words in 2008. 300,000 worthy words, many of which people are publishing.)

Priest was there with friends and fellow authors Mario Acevedo, Mark Henry (a.k.a. mdhenry), and Caitlin Kittredge for what they're calling the Paranormal Bender Tour. They attracted a small but decently attentive audience for an hour's worth of chatting, followed by hand-shaking and book-signing. They warned us that they were on the second-to-last day of a grueling-enough tour (which has included ratty hotels and witnessing a beating in San Diego) that they were a little tired and low-energy. We understood, and treated them gently. I tried getting them to laugh, and even succeeded! (Acevedo announced at the start there'd be a raffle for a prize. The prize turned out to be a Devil Ducky, but I stole a line from Don Geronimo and guessed "A million dollars: a dollar a year for the next million years.")

The authors talked about what spawned their various books and series, how they knew each other (and how they're part of a group called The League of Reluctant Adults), their reading and writing history, and general anecdotes. They answered my question about how they conceived their various series: often they hadn't, but if an editor thought it could support a series, they'd figure out what else they could tell! Priest referred to "TOH stories," or "Top Of Head" stories, a term she'd learned when she worked at newspapers, to describe how quickly ideas for sequels sometimes come to them.

I spoke one-on-one with cmpriest after the main talk, and she recognized my name from LJ. She convinced me to get a signature in my copy of her novel Fathom, which I'd brought with me. (I'm not usually an asking-for-signatures type reader, but as Mike Russell knows, I'm a "showing support" type reader who likes authors to know someone has their work!) I drove home uneventfully, and I hope the authors are continuing on their way uneventfully.

Um, I know the title "The Care and Feeding of Authors" implies I helped them get fed. I didn't. (I made sure s00j got fed that one time, so I can if needed.) "The Care of" just sounds incomplete on its own.
Tags: books

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