Yesterday morning as I was going through the twitter feed when I saw a tweet from Rainbow Rowell that she was going to do a reading signing at Book Soup. Rainbow Rowell is the author of the most excellent Eleanor and Park a young adult love story that I generally recommend and enjoyed. She went to BEA but after I had already left town (and hadn’t finished the book yet). And then lucky me, unexpected opportunity to see her out here (and have since finished the book).
Book Soup is a small bookstore out in West Hollywood on Sunset. They have a tiny parking lot that they share behind the store accessible via alleyway. I don’t believe it’s even mentioned on the website because the likelihood you will find a spot there is so small that it’s probably not worth mentioning. I parked on the street at a meter where it’s an amusing $1.50/hr $0.25/10 minutes. I may have used up my center console quarter stash. Well worth it. (I did notice they reserved a spot for Rainbow so I was very pleased to see that).
Book Soup as I recall was purchased by Pasadena’s fine source of books, Vroman’s. In fact the copy of Eleanor and Park I had in my collection was from the Vroman’s Pop-Up Shop. I bought another new copy from Book Soup so I wouldn’t feel weird about bringing in my own book to the book event even though it was from theoretically the same bookselling company.
And then when I was standing around waiting for the event that started a little past the time scheduled I noticed a tweet from award winning author John Corey Whaley who said he was late for the event. Had I been paying greater attention to his tweets I would have seen him mention this event a few days ago and then it wouldn’t have been a surprise but I think in this situation the surprise of a semi-convenient author event was worth the not actually being prepared part.
I did not record the event … so forgive my paraphrasing and generally inadequate reporting of things that were said. Maybe people who haven’t finished the book should stop reading this post now in case spoilers are mentioned. Rainbow was fairly pleased (I assume) to speak to an audience of people who have read the book so she didn’t have to worry about spoilers.
Eleanor and Park was written quickly. When Rainbow sold her first book Attachments, it was part of a two book deal so she had to write the second book. The book is written from more than one perspective and towards the end the shifts between Eleanor and Park happen quicker so it increases the pace of the book.
A bookseller told Rainbow that although the event may be billed as a reading, people don’t really come to hear you read. Now I think that may be mostly true, but of course if it’s an upcoming release the audience may be very eager to hear the reading. Eleanor and Park is difficult to read from because generally you want to avoid spoilers and the beginning contains language Rainbow would not like her mother to hear.
She did talk about the possibility of a sequel. She had wanted to immediately write the sequel but her agent told her to wait. But if a sequel were to be written it be Eleanor and Park later in life, fifteen years later. They’re too young to get a happy ending. (That could perhaps have been a ‘happily ever after’ happy ending and I may not have written down that correctly).
Someone asked about the postcard Eleanor sends Park at the end and although we didn’t get an explicit specific answer, it does seem like it wasn’t the three words I was hoping for.
Rainbow’s next book Fangirl I have not started yet but I do have an ARC of. She wrote some (Harry Potter) fanfiction to see if she could do it (of course). And when she was younger she wrote her own fanfiction although not necessarily calling it that because it was pre-internet and we didn’t call it that. However it was Mary Sue because she wrote herself into the stories.
Advice for writers: just finish the book. Don’t stop to edit. After the book is done, go back and revise and edit.
She says that authors write around cellphones and tv. The way characters use these things don’t match how people use it in real life and that’s more intentional than a failing of a writer to document real life. As she said that I realized that what I was doing with my phone would be very boring to write/read.
And then I noticed for the second time that behind me was John Corey Whaley and I did not say hello. I mean he wasn’t like standing directly behind me. There were people in line who were talking to him and I was kind of concerned about running out of time on the meter and if it would be too awkward to get out of line and talk and then what do I talk about? Hey I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were going to be here or else I would have brought your book you know the one from a few years ago, the one that everyone talks to you about and I probably have nothing new to say about it because I am not great at conversation.
Somebody asked him what he does in his free time and he replied that he sits in traffic. Which I tweeted. And then he called me out for tweeting and not saying hello. I did get to talk to him later. So I guess I’m not completely incapable of communicating with people. Just like I’m not completely incapable of folding laundry. It just sometimes seems harder then it actually is.
Totally should end the post there but I will note that I’m (re)starting Winger because Corey was speaking so highly of Winger and Grasshopper Jungle and sadly it is not within my power to read Grasshopper Jungle. Mrs. Nelson’s is having a “Barbecue with Andrew Smith and John Corey Whaley” August 15th which I’m going to try and attend. August 15th. 5pm. La Verne.