Monday, March 28, 2011

Markus Zusak: He Really Came!

All this time, waiting for this night, I thought that perhaps it wasn't for real. That someone was tricking us. That at the last minute they'd say... "JUST KIDDING!" That somehow we'd misunderstood and maybe they were just doing a tribute to him or something.

But in the end, he really came. Markus Zusak, my favorite author ever, came all the way from Australia (36 hours he said) to Utah to visit 500 of his adoring fans. All day long my stomach was in knots because I was so nervous about how it would all go down. I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted to get good seats, I wanted to not look like an idiot during the signing. And I was just plain excited.

So we got there quite early to get a place in line, to get good seats and to be first in the signing order. The wait wasn't bad, it actually went buy quite fast. We were about the 10th to 15th spot back. (And when I say we, I'm talking my friend Jenny, my daughter JJ, and my sister and her friend.) When we finally got into the room, we beelined to the front center spot... where the whole row was still vacant. It was actually the second row, right in the front, because the front row was reserved for his friends and staff people. Anyway, I ended up there right on the aisle, which made me a bit nervous actually! Perhaps I was TOO close!

As it turned out, when he came in and we all could see that indeed, this was for real, and he really was here, it was a perfect spot to be! Oh my gosh, awesome! I filmed the whole speech, which I'm hoping to get up on YouTube in parts, very soon... if people are interested. And being right there in the front, I know, I just know there were several eye contact moments! :)

So anyway, he told several fun stories, talked lots about The Book Thief, just a little about the new book, and then read from The Book Thief, which was stunning to me. The audience nearly forgot to clap afterwards we were all so... so... floored really. It was so cool. And he was just as cute, sweet, humble, funny, clever, nice, amazing... as I'd expected. Isn't it great when that happens? I could have listened to him for hours, and I think the whole audience felt that way.

I did get this overview video done, with teasers from the stories, and a bit of the reading, because you really do need an idea of how fun this was.  Sorry, I had to remove my videos from YouTube. :(

Then it was time to get our books signed, limit two copies per person. We got around that because my daughter, my sister and her friend all had no books to be signed! Lucky us! We were among the very first group to go in there, and were once again maybe 10th in line. When it was our turn, he was so nice, and very personable, and taking a ton of time to write all sorts of things in our books. And after all the worrying, I'm not really sure what I said to him! I think something like this:

Me: Thanks so much for coming. We are all so amazed you are really here!
Him: I'm amazed YOU are here! I can't believe you all came.
Me: Oh wow, you don't even know!
Him: Is this S-H-E-Y?
Me: No, it's S-U-E-Y... yes, I know, weird name, it's my nickname.
Him: Okay, cool, I just wanted to be sure.
Me: Cool... you are drawing pictures!
Him: Yeah, I hate it when authors just scribble their names, as if they didn't even care.
Me: Yeah. That's so awesome of you.
Me: Here's a book for Yamile, my blogging friend who couldn't be here and is so sad to be missing this.
Him: Cool. (Then you should see what he wrote in her book... ah... silly him!)
Me: And here's a book that I'm giving away on my book blog. I had a contest. So this is for the winner.
Him: Cool. So you don't even really know this person?
Me: Not really, well, I guess not, well, yeah, I think she reads my blog maybe....

Yeah, so that was my intelligent conversation. I have no idea if he really said cool that many times, but something like it anyway. Here's what I wish I would have asked him, because there was time, oh yes, because he spent a lot of time on those books:

-- So, what's up with Bridge of Clay then? When can we expect to read it?
-- Will it ever be possible for me to get my hands on The Underdog?
-- Is it true that Fighting Ruben Wolfe has really gone out of print?
-- So, which character are you most like? Rudy, Ed, or Cam?
-- What's your favorite music to listen to while you write?
-- Twitter? Maybe? Someday?
-- What's your favorite book? Who's your favorite author?
-- Will you come again some day?

The dazzling smile.

But you know, of course my mind went blank. I was actually quite fascinated with what he was doing to my books! And probably I was being a bit dazzled by that smile? Yeah, probably that. And then I took pictures of Jenny and my sister, and we stood there for a bit while he did their books, which were really more of our books!
Waiting our turn.

Finally, the moment of unintelligent chit chat, on my part anyway.
My sister talking with no problem at all. 
And Jenny, in her words, "smiling like an idiot!"
Then, we waited... and waited and waited. Because there was a bunch of bloggers there (Natasha, Melissa, Jessica, Emily, Jenni, Debbie, Enna, Angie, Holly, Chersti... were the ones I was aware of, there were probably more that I've forgotten!) and we had this fabulous idea to go out all together and eat something afterwards, but of course, most of them were in later signing groups, and it became apparent rather quickly that the line was NOT moving, and that he was taking so much time with people that it was going to be a long long time before everyone had a turn.

But still we waited and waited. And talked, and talked, and compared book signings, and waited and talked. And wrote him a love letter. Yes, they did have a book where you could write to him, sort of a thank you note. Once I got started on that, I felt I could go on forever. I'm so glad they thought of doing that. Awesome idea. I hope he loves it. Anyway, during all of that,  I was happy. Then tired. Then hungry. Finally at about 9:30 (he started signing at about 7:00) we who were done said to those who weren't, we are going to such and such a place. Call when you are done, and see if we are still there. Bye!

They called, just as we were leaving, to say they had just got done. It was 11:00 p.m. And there were still a ton of people there in line waiting! And a ton that were still waiting their to even get in the line! I keep imagining whoever that last person was, and what time it was and how tired everyone was, but maybe they got, like, a lot of special attention! I bet they did. So maybe they were the luckiest in the end?

So that was the little glitch in the whole thing. But that glitch only happened because he was so nice. So you can't really call it that, now can you? No. He was too nice. Yeah right, no, not a glitch.

It was all perfect. And now I can live off that high for awhile, and only hope that perhaps he had enough fun with us all, that someday, he'll come back again. And we can do it all over.


  1. It's amazing how it's still light outside when he's signing your books. It was dark when we got in there. Yeah... we left about 11:30'ish, but it was super fantastic (I also blogged about it!). I heard that he wrote more in the books he signed earlier, so do you mind sharing what he wrote in one of your books?

    In one of my books, he just wrote "Thank you" and then he was like: What I really mean is "Thank you for making me stay up so late to sign your book and not even eat a proper dinner." We were laughing way too hard, because at 11:30 at night pretty much anything is really really funny.

  2. Chersti: Yes, perhaps I'll do another post with pictures of what he wrote... I didn't have time in this one. It's WAY too long already! But I am a bit afraid that my going on and on and on about Markus Zusak might be getting a bit old?

    I LOVE what he said in yours! (Wait, did he write that or say that?) I bet he was fun late at night all loopy! That is so cool!

  3. Aww, that is so awesome. I smiled all the way through your post, vicariously enjoying him like you did. Excellent post, your emotions and the feel from the event came all the way through. Well done!

    How adorable is he? and you!

  4. Ah, it's fun to re-live it by reading yours and other people's posts.

    I do have to say, though, he also teased you for using other people to get all your books signed. I believe he said something like: what, are all four hundred people getting books signed for you?

    Just in case you forgot or didn't hear him. ;-)

  5. Sounds like a fun time was had! I really need to read something by him... I keep meaning to, but haven't yet...

  6. How cool! I love finding out that an author I admire is cool in person.

    Wish I could have come!

  7. Fun!

    One of the bloggers on Twitter said that they left, went to dinner, went to a movie, came back, convinced the security guard to let them back in and still got their book signed!

    I asked him how I could get my hands on Underdog and he said that a US publisher is packaging all three books and will be releasing here! When? I have no idea.

    Also, asked about Bridge of Clay and he said not until next year! Not this fall, next year! I told him I couldn't wait that long, so he wrote the first line in my book!

    What a fun night! Good thing there were so many fun people to chat with while we were waiting.

  8. That was a great accounting of how it all went. I have to say I am glad we didn't keep waiting with you, I was so hungry and tired. Thanks for getting the tickets for us. It was a blast!

  9. Suey, I'm so glad you were able to go and have a wonderful time meeting him. I can't believe the turn out! You are right; he was a great speaker and reader and this is by far the best signing/symposium I have ever been to. Plus, the eye candy! :)

  10. Raidergirl3: Him? Adorable. Me? Not so much. Just crazy.

    Mouseprints: Extremely fun!

    Jenny: I need to go find other people's post now that I'm home. And NO! I did not hear him say that! Arghh... too funny. I was feeling a bit hoggish, but hey, you had three books too, right? :) But I had those two extras... too funny.

    Kailana: You really really need to read something by him. No more thinking about it!

    Annette: Sorry you couldn't come! Yes, he for sure lived up to the image in my head!

    Natasha: They went to a movie? Wow. I will be looking for that Underdog thing for sure. And I'm insanely jealous about the first line in your book thing. That is just too cool.

    Bethany: Yes, it's good you didn't keep waiting. We had fun talking though, but still. It was pretty crazy. Glad you had fun! Maybe you'll do it again sometime?

  11. Well, I think you carried on quite well given your love for the man. At least you didn't drool onto the book while he was signing it or repeatedly reach out and touch him while he was speaking. Or did you?

  12. Lisa: Am afraid there may have been some drooling going on, but I managed to refrain from touching!

  13. I'm so glad it went well! He soudns amazing. I hate it when authors scribble their name and that's it when they sign books, but I also understand why they do it. He's just too cool to do that. Still jealous.

  14. I love this write up. Makes me not even want to try :)

  15. Avid: Yep... amazing. That's the word I can't keep from saying over and over again.

    Melissa: You have to! I want to hear your take on it all!

  16. AHH thank you for this! Markus Zusak is my favorite author but I don't think I've ever heard him speak before...until now :)

    I was wondering, what did he say about his new book? Anything about when it might be out? :D

  17. Amy: He said next year hopefully. I was hoping for this year, but we'll wait, yes, we'll wait! :)

  18. Hi Suey!

    This is Courtney @ the Library! I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for your post about the event with Markus, and I'm so very happy that you enjoyed the event! We worked really hard to make it perfect!

    Courtney Lowe
    Community Relations Coordinator
    Provo City Library

  19. Thanks for the comment Courtney! Now I can feel all validated! :) It was a pretty perfect day, so thanks for all the work. Here's to many more wonderful authors at the library!

  20. Wow, sounds like you had an amazing time. I'm so happy you were able to meet him! The Book Thief is one of my all-time favorites.

  21. OMG so glad to see I'm not the only who is completely in love with him <3 <3

    But it is just me or is it really hard to find any interviews/info about him which you haven't already read at least once?
    Perhaps I should just learn to see this as an healthy experience in NOT knowing everything about my celeb crushes XD

    (But if anyone know anything about his life or him as a person or have met him, PLEASE feel free to share!!! ;p )

    Suey: No, getting on and on about him will not get old :D

    oh, yeah and I would absolutely love to see or read the things drawed and wrote!!!!!!

    (Especially because I know my chances of ever meeting him, and thereby getting something signed, are smaller than small :( )

    Ps. sorry if I sound to obsessive, but none of my friends really read (besides Twillight)and I don't know anyone at all who love his way of writing like I do, so I am just very happy to find this :)

    1. Male: Glad you enjoyed this post! Yes, I'm a bit obsessive about this author! :) Hopefully you've had the chance to click on all the other posts I've written about him. A few months ago I devoted a whole week to him! There's not much out there about him because he has been pretty shy of the internet. Just recently did he finally get a Twitter and Facebook page. Now, we hear from him a bit more often, which is really nice. Let me know how to find you (email or something) and we can chat more! :)



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