Monday, November 1, 2010

Laurie Halse Anderson Signing

Laurie Halse Anderson is currently on tour promoting the release of Forge, the sequel to the acclaimed book Chains. She did a signing at the Brookline Public Library this past Thursday that I was able to attend.

A large crowd came out to see Laurie and we were not disappointed. There were little kids with their picture books, a bunch of tweens, teens, and a smattering of college age people and adults. Once again, I neglected to bring a notebook to write down what Laurie said, but here's what I remember:
  •  Laurie spoke quite a bit about Forge and Chains (I haven't read either, but I need to) and history
    • She did a lot of research for both and always has others read her historical work to insure the facts are correct
    • She told a story about walking through the snow in thin shoes and socks to get the feeling of how the soldiers did it. Her feet began to hurt, burn, then they went numb, and her husband forced her back inside before she got frostbite.
  • It took four years of querying before Laurie finally found success - she had queried with her first draft for a while before realizing she needed to edit and rewrite
  • She is easily distracted by the internet, so she writes in her cottage, away from her house and the internet
  • Fever 1793 took about 7 years to write
  • Is a huge history buff and could probably talk history forever
  • Is very patriotic and loves the US, but she thinks we could be doing a lot better than we are - this was a segue into slavery
  • She loved George Washington when she was younger, then found out he had slaves
  • Said that people tend to say "George Washington had slaves, but..." but they should be saying "George Washington had slaves and..." 
    • We can acknowledge people for their great accomplishments, but we also need to acknowledge what they did wrong
That's about all I can recall at the moment, but Laurie talked for about an hour and was incredibly engaging. I was enthralled with everything she said. 

The room was packed with people and after buying a copy of Wintergirls for myself, I was stuck at the very end of the line. Said line moved very slowly and it took nearly an hour before I made it up to Laurie, but it was worth the wait. The library was closing, but Laurie still chatted with the last few people. We talked a little about blogging and since a group of Simmons students were in front of me, she asked if I was with them. When I told her I wasn't actually a writing student/aspiring librarian, but a nurse, we chatted about that a bit. She thinks I'll really be able to get into Wintergirls because of it. I thanked her, she thanked me, it was wonderful and we took a picture.
Laurie is incredibly nice and kind and all kinds of synonymous words. She signed every single book that was brought up to her and personalized AND wrote little messages on the books. It was a wonderful experience and if you have the chance to meet her in the future, do it. 
In case you're interested, I've had that copy of Speak for six years - It's beaten up, but loved <3
Find Laurie Online

Standing in line, I also met fellow blogger Tahleen who runs Tahleen's Mixed-Up Files
and author Sarah Smith who invited me to her book release party for her debut YA novel (she's written several adult novels) The Other Side of Dark. I'm going to attempt to make it, but with my current lack of a car situation and starting NaNoWriMo, I'm not positive if I'll be able to borrow a car and then make the drive. But I'll try.


Melissa said...

Nikki, I'm insanely jealous! This is seriously SO cool! I think you'll really like Wintergirls - it's painful, but it's incredible :)

Bere said...

It sounds like you had so much fun, Nikki! I wish I could go to book signings. Maybe when I learn to drive hehe! Laurie seems like such a wonderful person. I've only read Wintergirls, in fact I read it in September, and I LOVED it. It was actually the first time that I was really inspired to write a little review on it. I know you'll enjoy it! I just got Speak, so I hope to begin it soon. =)

Tahleen said...

Yay I get a shout out! It was fun indeed. I don't think I'm going to make it to Sarah Smith's signing either unfortunately. If you do go, have fun! Happy reading :)

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