Friday, November 16, 2018

Metting Tasha: The Second Time

The dream of any book fanatic is that your favorite author will come to town. That for once you won't have to travel to some far flung location just to catch a glimpse of them. The fact that Madison has a rather large fall book festival now has helped to increase the odds of someone I love paying a visit, but it's still hit or miss. For every Natasha Pulley, Alexander McCall Smith, and Charlaine Harris, there are easily thirty authors I don't care to see speak. In fact this past fall I didn't go to a single event at the Wisconsin Book Festival, which might be a first! Thankfully I have Mystery to Me and they get quite a fair few authors coming through their doors and I am always checking their website and their newsletters to see who will be in town. Imagine my shock when I saw that Tasha Alexander would be coming! Not only is Mystery to Me local, but it is literally the closest bookstore to my house. I do not exaggerate, as I told Tasha, it is a five minute walk at most. Don't believe me? I just checked on Google Maps and it's only 0.3 miles from door to door! I couldn't have asked for a closer venue unless Tasha had been in my living room!

The event was going to be on Friday, November 6th, 2015, but the book Tasha was touring for, The Adventuress, was coming out on Tuesday, October 13th. Because I am a staunch supporter of local bookstores my rule of thumb for signings is that you must buy the book to the event you are going to at the store hosting the event. There is no excuse not to. You need to support the author and you need to support the store. If you do both the author gets to keep writing more books and might stop by the store again which you helped to keep open. Win win people! Anyway, that meant there were twenty-five days between publication and signing and I just couldn't wait that long to get my hands on Tasha's new book, though I had already got an ARC from her publishers through NetGalley I really have a thing about owning the physical book. So on October 13th I walked out my front door and took the grueling 0.3 mile walk to Mystery to Me, searched through all their copies of The Adventuress and picked the perfect one. Paid for it, put the receipt inside for the singing in November and headed home.

November 6th finally came around and my friend Marie and I were ready to have an adventure. At this point there were only two Tasha books I didn't have signed, so I placed my copy of The Counterfeit Heiress next to my copy of The Adventuress in my Mystery to Me bag from October and headed out the door to meet Marie at a restaurant three doors down from the bookstore for some hearty Irish fare. They had surprisingly changed their menu, a move not for the better which I am still bemoaning three years later, so I didn't quite enjoy dinner as much as I could. Though I could never fault the company! If I had only chosen the restaurant seven doors down in the opposite direction I would have seen Tasha earlier than the event, but such is life! After dinner Marie and I settled into the bookstore. I am of the opinion that it is best to arrive extremely early because you get the best seats and you're in a bookstore, so you'll have tons of fun looking at books until the event starts. Our seats staked out I oddly ran into an old schoolmate Jon, who I hadn't seen in person in many years, though we do chat online, and it was nice getting to talk books with him, he's a fan of cozies themed after tropical drinks and locations. I sadly was unable to get him to stay for the event which was getting ready to start.  

Because it was a cold, dark night there wasn't much of a turnout for Tasha's event, but I really don't think that mattered once she saw exactly who was in the audience, and I'm not talking about me and Marie, her devoted fans, I'm talking about a fellow author. Margaret George was in the audience. Margaret George is one of the preeminent writers of historical fiction. The only time I remember meeting her was years previously when her book Elizabeth I: A Novel came out and there was a signing at my local Barnes and Noble. Though my family as a whole has known her for years. This wasn't just because my parents were in the same circles as her, going to many of the same events, though this is true, the main reason is that we shared the same crew of construction workers. So if they weren't at our house they were at hers and vice versa resulting in many phone calls back and forth. So while I was there fangirling over Tasha, Tasha was fangirling over Margaret. To have an author you love show up for your event? I can't think of anything cooler. Plus after Tasha's presentation and Q and A she got to talk to Margaret for a bit and divulged to me she even got her email address. I was so happy for Tasha to get to have such a great and memorable experience in my hometown!

As for the talk itself? Wonderful! The fact that there were less people and it was a cold and dark night gave it this wonderful intimate feel, like we were all comrades drawn round a fire to listen to Tasha's tales. She went into greater detail about an unforgettable experience she mentions in the Author's Note at the end of The Adventuress about seeing a very fashionable lady of a certain age with an Hermes bag that contained a very well cared for live chicken. The two appeared to be window shopping along La Croisette and equally engrossed in the task. She asked her husband Andrew to back her up, and he added details to the tail about just how fascinating this was while also how obviously mundane it was for the lady and the chicken. This must be a regular occurrence for them! I love to live in a world where things like this seem like the stuff of stories but are 100% real. As any author will tell you it's the things that seem the most unbelievable that are based in fact. Tasha also talked a bit about the devotion of her fans. At a recent event she talked a bit about the next book, A Terrible Beauty, and the possible return of Emily's first husband, Philip, and a woman in the audience gasped and exclaimed "but that would make the twins illegitimate!" Tasha assured the lady that they were just characters. As for A Terrible Beauty? Come back next Friday!   


Newer Post Older Post Home