Friday, May 7, 2010

Our Kathryn Stockett Story

Last night, I finally manged to attend a "big name" author event at The King's English, our semi-local, wonderful independent book store. (I say semi because for me, it's about an hour-ish drive to get there, which might not be considered truly local.) They've had many many author events there that I wish I could have gone to, but usually, life just doesn't allow one to take the WHOLE evening... maybe part of it, but not all of it. Know what I mean?

Anyway, so last night, it all worked out. And not only that, it worked out that I was going with long time blogger friend, Melissa from One Librarian's Book Reviews.Then, through the wonders of Twitter (and new blogger friend WinterWrite) I learned that we might not get in, since all the tickets were gone. I knew we had to have tickets, but I just assumed we'd get them when we got there! So, I called the store and they said they would hand out "standing room only" tickets, and that we might just possibly still get in. Then I called Melissa to consult and we decided, hey, what the heck, let's have an adventure and even it we don't get in, we'll have fun trying.

So we went.

We got the tickets easily, the line wasn't huge when we got there, and they told us they thought we'd all get in no problem. That was great news. So then, to kill time, we browsed the book store, of course, and I bought the entire Queen's Thief series... even if the first three were paperback and the last one is hardback! I know! A crazy and bold move that was! But Melissa said "do it do it do it" and I had Angie's voice in my head telling me that they were definitely "buy" worthy, and I had this urge to "support your indies!" and so I did.

Now, I got a kick out of this next part of the story. At 6:30, those that had white tickets were able to go right in and sit down. Those that had the blue (or perhaps we could say "colored") stand by tickets had to wait... and wait... and wait.... for a half hour until finally, they let us in bit by bit. Does anyone else who's read the book find this interesting?! I wonder if I was the only one who made a connection.

We got in and actually ended up sitting in the very back, but on the soft bench seats. We were happy!

Kathryn Stockett's presentation was very fun. Here's some of the interesting things we learned:

  • She tried for 3 years to get her book published, and got at least 60 rejections.
  • But, she wrote it thinking no one would read it, so she didn't care if she crossed taboo lines.
  • She made up the Terrible Awful (if I understood her correctly) and so that wasn't a real incident.
  • She was scared to write in Hilly's voice, because it freaked her out to "go there."
  • She has gotten mixed reviews from the African American community. Some have come up to her and said, "That's not how it was" and other's have said "You totally nailed my story."
  • There were mixed feelings from her family too. She said, "I didn't know there were rules about using people's real names!" 
  • She was raised by a black maid who had been working for her family for thirty or more years. This maid would stand her in front of a mirror and say, "You are smart. You are beautiful. You are important."
  • She didn't realize that not everyone had a black maid until she moved to New York at age 24.
  • The book is being made into a movie with the screenplay written by her childhood friend Tate Taylor. Steven Spielberg is making it, Chris Columbus is directing. All the actors have been chosen, but I forget who they are now. (Ron Howard's daughter as Hilly, I remember that one.) 
  • She and that childhood friend, as kids, would dream about her one day being a writer, and him one day being a movie maker.
  • The first cover, that she fell in love with, was of a black woman's hand holding a white child's hand. They vetoed it quickly though, and after 25 more cover possibilities, she didn't care what the cover was but still wonders what the current cover has to do with anything.
  • There will not be a sequel, but a prequel is possible.
Sharla, Lyn, Suey, Melissa

Anyway, it was very fun and she was very interesting to listen to. The hour flew by and seemed much too short. Afterwards, we met up with a couple other bloggers, Sharla from WinterWrite and Lyn from Barding Well, and stood in the signing line with them, since we all had the "colored" back-of-the-line tickets!

Now it was time to decide what our author approach would be! We had decided to be brave and ask her to have a picture with all of us. But before we knew it, we were there at the table and she pretty much just grabbed our books, scribbled her name and grabbed the next book. She didn't look up at us, say hi, ask to personalize, or anything. There wasn't even a moment to think of an approach! I was stunned!

But, I was also determined. So as she just kept grabbing and signing, I said, "Can we get a picture with you? All four of us?" She said, sure. There were only a few people left in the line, so we waited until they were all done, so we posed with her and it was then that I said, "We are book bloggers and we need proof we were here!" I can't even remember what she said then, I think she just laughed and said, okay.

Sharla, Suey, Lyn
Melissa, Kathryn

So... that whole signing part was quite anti-climatic. I've never been through a line and a signing so fast. I'm assuming she had to catch a bus or plane or something and be on her way to the next place. I hope that's what it was. I hope she was truly just in a mega hurry. If not, then it was just sad. 

But then, we four bloggers decided to go eat something together, since we'd all missed dinner of course! (We'd left our houses at five or so and now it was about 8:30) So we ended up at a nearby Olive Garden where my brother's been the manager for years and years. Fun, huh? Yep, it was great. We talked and talked and talked, picking each others' blogging/booking brains! Very fun! Finally, we went on our way at nearly 10:00 p.m.

So, in the end, it was great to hear Kathryn Stockett speak, it was.... interesting getting her to sign my book, but it was a BLAST talking to Melissa on the ride there and back, and to Sharla and Lyn at dinner. I'm so glad we made the effort and just did it!


  1. Thanks for sharing! I just wandered over to to see what casting had been announced. Hmm...I wonder who they'll get for Minnie?

  2. Loved your bulleted tidbits! She was lovely, down to earth, and oh-so-funny. Maybe we'll catch each other next time. Thanks for the great post!

  3. I'm glad you bloggers had a great time hanging out together even if the signing was anticlimatic.

  4. Oh, that sounds like so much fun. Thanks for sharing! And yay Melissa for being the voice of reason re: Queen's Thief series buying. ;)

  5. Lenore: She said it's someone she personally knows, and that someone the one who did Minnie's voice on the audio version of the book. I can't remember what her name is though. I guess she is the one that Kathryn had in mind the whole time she was writing Minnie.

    Leeann: Yes, it was great! And yes, next time!

    Shelley: Yes, it was all worth it.

    Angie: I knew you'd be pleased with my purchase!

  6. Great story. Sorry to hear she was so eager to get out of there. She probably did have a plane to catch.

    I love that you told her you were bloggers and had to have proof. That made me laugh :)

  7. I had the best time too! Thanks for all the fun. I loved the metaphor you found in the tickets. I never even thought about it! Kinda interesting.

  8. Thanks for taking pics, btw!

  9. That sounds like so much fun! I'm glad to see the cover doesn't have to do with anything because I've been wondering that and I think it would make a great movie!

  10. Okay, seriously, one of these days I'm going to make one of these events. I'm clearly missing out on all the fun.

  11. So glad you had a good time despite the autho's hurry ... it is always fun to see otherb bloggers!

  12. You have inspired me to check out my own author events! I'm glad you had such a great evening!

  13. Love this post! I never even considered the blue-ticket, white-ticket connection until I read your post. Loved it by the way.

    I had a lovely time at the signing and dinner. So glad that we finally got to meet.

    Happy Blogging!

  14. I love hearing the author's story behind the story. WOW -- 60 rejections....she is quite tenacious!

    Sorry the autograph signing was such a let-down. I remember when Jodi Picoult was in town we were told that she had to rush to catch a plane, so there were to be no personal photos taken with her (although we could stand off to the side and take as many as we wanted). I wish these authors didn't have such tight schedules.

    Happy Mother's Day!!

  15. Sounds like a great evening. When I went to see Geraldine Brooks, she was pretty much doing the same thing. They passed on pieces of paper for you to write down who you wanted the books signed to and that was that. There was a really long line and it was getting late. But still! You'd think the authors could say "hi" or "thanks for coming" or something.



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