Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Book Signing

We arrived at the Baghdad Theater on Hawthorne St. in Portland at 5:40 to line up for the Stephenie Meyer book signing event. See the people standing in the front of the line? They arrived at 9am. (It was raining pretty steadily at 9am, but at 5:40: Sunny!)

The line extended down one side of the Baghdad, turned a corner and was half way down the block. There were about 300 people in front of us, but look! We seem pretty happy, don't we?
As we took our seats in the theater around 6:00, a woman was making announcements: Stephenie would only personalize "The Host" but she would personalize as many copies as we bought (we all got one copy with the price of admission.)
Stephenie would only sign up to two of her other books, but she would only do her signature, not an inscription. There was to be no photography while Stephenie was signing books (too distracting, too time consuming).

At 7:00, Stephenie came on stage to screams and applause. I took lots of pictures and it became clear to me that my camera sucks and I need a better one. A fancy 12 pixel one, like Debbie's. But Debbie didn't bring her camera, and either did anyone else, so my sucky camera had to do! None of the pictures of Stephenie turned out. We were sitting about halfway back in the theater and it was dark and cave-like.

Stephenie answered questions for about 20 minutes, not long enough in my opinion. Many were about "The Host" which I hadn't read and didn't want to be spoiled, so I tried not to listen, but did hear that someone in the book is NOT lying, so I hope that doesn't screw things up for me.
There were a few questions about her "Twilight" series books and a few about writing and editing. Surprisingly, there were no questions about Twilight the movie, which was filmed in Portland.

The only possible revelation from the question and answer session was that Stephenie has an outline for a sequel to The Host, but is not committed to writing it.

Next came the book signing. There were 600 hundred people in the sold out theater, each with at least 3 books. (I saw many with more). So Stephenie, at the very least, had to sign her name 1,800 times; a fact for which I felt the slightest twinge of sympathy for Ms. Meyer.

They called us up to stand in line 60 at a time, based on a number we received when we entered the theater. Here were the rules for the signing:

1. No taking pictures of Stephenie

2. Open all books to the signature page

3. Stack all books so they are open on top of each other

4. Put "The Host" on the top

5. When you get to the guy with the sticky notes, tell him your name so he can write it down and stick it in your book.

6. While holding your stack of books, retrieve your ticket to prove you are standing in line at the right time.

7. Don't drop your books. (OK, this wasn't so much a rule as an interesting challenge.)

And finally, we approach the table where Stephenie sits signing books. She is signing at the speed of light, almost. Yet somehow she is still smiling and saying "hi" to each person, like she doesn't mind the possibility that her hand will cramp up in protest and refuse to work for 3 and a half weeks.

And here's where having a unique name finally pays off!! As my copy of "The Host" is slid in front of Stephenie by two lovely assistants, acting with machine-like precision, with the little sticky note right there, Stephenie looks up at me and says, "Afton?"

Then I reply with something brilliant like, "yep."

Stephenie then says, "What a great name." And she smiles really big like she just might possibly mean it.

It's 8:30. Too early to go home. Our husbands, after all, don't expect us until later. So, we head over to NW Portland to Papa Haydn for dessert. Only 40 desserts to choose from, half with words like "torte" or "truffle" in the name, I chose a chocolate cherry brownie with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Yum!
So, while Stephenie Meyer and I are not best friends yet, I still had a fabulous evening. Thanks go to Debbie for setting it all up and knowing downtown Portland like a pro.


Betty Grace said...

Oh my gosh, she is totally going to name a character after you!

Heather said...

Oh boy, I'm jealous. :) Also, I didn't know that Twilight was filmed in Portland--yet another reason to be excited! (How come they didn't film it in Forks? :) Anyway, sounds like it was a fun reason, and I agree with the previous comment--I bet she wants to use your name!! :)

Afton said...

In the interest of full disclosure she also commented on my friends "cool" name, Jillyn, then asked if he hung around each other because we both had such cool names.

megan said...

AHHHH! I love the autograph! SO JEALOUS!

Senia said...

Please don't dis-own me as a niece, but your recap of the desserts at Papa Hadyn's excited me almost as much as the recap of the book signing. I should really keep going in the series- I feel so out of the loop!

I'm very happy for you, though! :-)

P.S. Remember back in the day when we could get excited over Shopoholic books together? Before Vampires took over? ;-) Well, I just got Shopoholic and Baby from the library so I'm excited to finally read that!

melziemom04 said...

I'm very jealous (about both the book signing and Papa Hadyn's - I haven't been there in years!) Have you started reading The Host yet? How is it? I'm waiting a few weeks so that hopefully I can get it cheap on eBay (or wait forever on the waiting list at the library!) I've already told my husband that I want the new "vampire" book for my birthday.

Afton said...

I'm reading The Host now and really loving it. I'm 200 pages in and just looked at the clock and it's an hour past lunch time! I think my kids helped themselves though because the kitchen is a mess.