Thursday, October 1, 2009

Diana Gabaldon Book Signing

Wednesday night I went to a book signing by Diana Gabaldon for her new book, An Echo in the Bone. I got my copy last week but am rereading the previous book in the series, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, before starting on this one. (I have a horrible memory, which can be good--I can reread books over and over with great pleasure.)

First, I have to say that Diana has fortitude. This was her second talk of the day and you wouldn't have known it. Over 200 people attended, most with more than one book to sign, and she happily signed them all and smiled for pictures. I am in awe.

She's signing my book above (I was #155). I didn't bring my camera but a lovely gentleman who was in line in front of me, John Bychowski, kindly offered to take my photo with Diana. Both pictures in today's post were sent to me by John. Thanks, John, I really appreciate it!

The evening began with Scottish dancing. A live piper provided the music as we were guided through some of the traditions and styles of this type of dance. Originally done all by men, now it's 98% women (however, the world champion is male). It was a fun beginning to the evening.

Then Anderson's Bookshop introduced Diana. She immediately had the audience enthralled. She speaks quickly, with an almost raspy voice (although that could be the endless book tour she's on). She talks like she writes, with digressions, interludes and lots of detail.

Diana spoke about how she came to write her first novel, Outlander, and to get it published. I'd read some of the story at some point over the years, but she provided some more detail (those interludes and digressions I'm so fond of).

More than a feast for my ears, though, it was a feast for my eyes--textiles! Diana was swathed in layers of gorgeous cloth. I'm not sure if it was that she was freezing (she's from the southwest desert) or if it was fashion, but she really pulled off a very together gypsy look. The bottom layer was black, I saw a small, narrow black ruffle peeping out at the bottom. Then there were shawls and wraps in rich, glorious colors and touch-me textures (iridescent silk, metallic fabrics, overdyed panne velvet, layered with other silks, velvets, wide ribbons and a bit of black lace). I was mesmerized.

After her talk, she read a short (rather racy) excerpt from the new book, selected so it didn't contain any spoilers. A moment between Jamie and Claire. sigh...

She ended by asking for questions from the audience. Most of the questions were interesting. A couple cited previous talks they'd been to and wanted her to repeat what she said then. A teensy bit of frustration seemed to seep through there--I'm not sure if it was because she'd worked to come up with something new to say to the group (she's had similar events sponsored by this bookshop when previous books were published) or if she didn't remember all that much about what she'd said ten years ago. But she answered them all thoughtfully and thoroughly.

Anderson's Bookshop really has their act together with book signings. They had a microphone that was passed around to make it easy for everyone to hear the questions. They also have the process of doing a huge book signing efficiently and smoothly down to a science (they should, they have at least one most nights!). They had large piles of all of Diana's books there, ready to be purchased. They had post-its to premark the proper page with your choice of inscription. And plenty of staff on hand to help, guide or answer questions.

Still, there was a long period (over an hour for me) where we waited for our number group to be called. I really kick myself that I didn't bring my knitting. I made some notes for a new project, browsed through the new book, reading random excerpts, listened to the conversations around me. It was rather peaceful and relaxing, but it would have been better with knitting.

It was a lovely evening that I'll remember for a long time.


Judy S. said...

I'm a tiny bit green with envy....not only did you get to see/hear the author, but you also have the book! I love that series.

Anonymous said...

How Great is this?!!! I read the first couple of her books and then kind of dropped off...but I recall how fantastic they were. I'll have to do a reread as well one day. Sounds like you had a super time!

Anonymous said...

How Great is this?!!! I read the first couple of her books and then kind of dropped off...but I recall how fantastic they were. I'll have to do a reread as well one day. Sounds like you had a super time!

Jenny said...

That's a lovely picture of you, Marjorie. I don't think I have read any of her books, but I also have always had a memory problem with names (not like you are about reading books- at least not so mch fun)