Last night, I should have been at home packing for the Romance Writers of America conference. Instead, I went straight from work to the main branch of the Nashville Public Library to see Ann Patchett read from State of Wonder and get my book signed. (I read a review copy to prep for my interview with Ann, yet I still bought a hardcover. Is that dedication, or what?)
When I got to the lobby of the library, the first thing I noticed was the sheer number of people milling around. I thought I was doing pretty good to get there at 6 o’clock when the reading started at 6:45 . . . but by the time I showed up, the library’s auditorium was packed and there weren’t any seats left in the overflow room.
In the end, the library generously set up three overflow rooms, so nobody had to sit on the floor or stand during the reading. I’m not good at judging crowd size, but I heard one estimate that there were 800 people at the event! It was completely heartening to see so many people come out to support a novel in a city without an independent bookstore. (Thanks to Ann, that’s about to change.)
Ann was both hilarious and moving during her talk. For this hometown audience, she spoke about how Nashville is a city that needs a bookstore, how she wanted to strangle Michael Feldman after he gave away the ending to State of Wonder on Whad’Ya Know and how she does not have a “secret author answer” to interpreting her books. She also recommended The All of It by Jeannette Haien, a slim book she discovered, loved then insisted HarperCollins re-print. (Ann wrote the introduction.)
All in all, it was a fun and exciting event (orchestrated beautifully by the library staff) filled with hundreds of booklovers and one very gracious author.
Have you been to any great author events lately?