Category Archives: Signings

Author Signing: Ben Aaronovitch at Waterstones, 26/06/2012

WaterstonesHaving previously reviewed Ben Aaronovitch’s first book, Rivers of London (U.S. title Midnight Riot) here on Chicks with Crossbows, it’s no great secret that I enjoy his work. So I was naturally very pleased to find out that he would be visiting one of the local Waterstones branches here to promote the latest book in the series. I’ve been anticipating his newest release, Whispers Underground, for quite some time now. I really enjoyed the sequel to River of London, the aptly named Moon Over Soho; so needless to say, my excitement was similar to that of a small child in a sweetshop when I found out that not only was the book coming out soon, I’d also possibly be able to meet the man behind the words!

Now, there’s probably something I should explain here (and a story that I shared with Ben yesterday at the signing) that I didn’t explain in my previous review. The first time that I was reading Rivers of London, I was on a train, and downloaded the book to my phone to fill the time. I’m sure you can see where this is going. A compulsive reader on a train is a dangerous thing. I will not hesitate to admit that not only did I miss my stop, I utterly failed to notice that I’d missed my stop until the train came to a halt a couple of stations later. I believe my first awareness of the world around me again was the rude interruption of an announcer stating a present location that was decidedly not my intended destination. Oops.

Regardless, this should give you some idea of how absorbed I was in the book. I’m relatively certain that I laughed quite audibly several times while reading, but I completely failed to notice any odd looks given to me by other passengers. Needless to say, any book that can distract me quite so effectively definitely deserves credit where credit is due.

Happily, it turns out that not only is Mr. Aaronovitch an exceedingly talented wordsmith (despite the fact that he makes me miss train stops and laugh in public, shock horror), he’s also very nice to talk to in person. I rather pathetically confessed to being a little bit nervous upon meeting him (one of those instances when I was definitely as shy as I felt, for once). That wore off after a couple of minutes, but I think that was because he greeted me with, “Not what you expected?” and grinned, indicating himself and managing to set me at my ease. This being despite the fact that I might have been a wee bit starstruck. Ben followed this up by admitting to some nerves as well and near gleefully expressing his enjoyment of signing from the balcony floor overlooking the whole bookshop. From there I managed to ask a few nosy questions that he very kindly answered for me.

One of the answers that he gave which I found very interesting was in regards to the length of the finished manuscript of Whispers Underground. Ben stated that he came in at just under 100,000 words, and that he feels that this is a realistic length for him personally. Of course, we both acknowledged that other authors have gone beyond that, but I agree with him that the length he stipulates for himself is a good one. It’s enough words to fit all of the details in without feeling as though you’re under pressure to immediately produce more.

And of course, I got my lovely copy of Whispers Underground signed!

If you’ll now excuse me, I believe that I’ll be busy devouring it. If anyone needs my attention before I finish it? I wish you luck in trying to get it.


Signing at Theatre Royal Stratford 26/05/2012: Cassandra Clare & Maureen Johnson [#1]

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra ClareThis is my vastly overdue post series concerning the above signing, for which I apologise. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this at the end of May. The London weather was beautiful and I was very lucky! The signing was organised through Foyles, a bookstore in London which I cannot recommend enough, as part of Cassandra Clare’s release of City of Lost Souls, the fifth book in her acclaimed Mortal Instruments series. This post will more than likely be one of two or three over the next few days, as I’m trying to make these accurate and an easy length to read in one sitting. I hope that you enjoy the posts.

The Q&A opened with an introduction from the ever-entertaining Maureen Johnson, author of The Name of the Star and 13 Little Blue Envelopes! Maureen felt the need to explore the theatre and introduce herself and Cassandra Clare from a balcony, which was a wonderful introduction. Needless to say, overall a genius plan and everyone was very excited to see both authors. Maureen also decided to gauge what type of audience we were from how loud we applauded for Jace and Simon (protagonists in Cassandra Clare’s books). Maureen is a hardcore Simon fan, which you will get to hear a bit more about later!

Ticket to see Cassandra Clare & Maureen Johnson

Cassandra Clare opened the talk with an excerpt of Clockwork Princess, the upcoming third instalment in The Infernal Devices. For those not familiar, Cassandra Clare has two ongoing series about the Nephilim, also known as Shadowhunters. They are ass-kicking, demon-slaughtering, risk-taking and outright fun characters. The modern-day series, set in New York City, is known as The Mortal Instruments. The prequel series, set in Victorian London, is called The Infernal Devices. Needless to say, I was very excited to hear what was in store for some of my favourite characters such as Will and Jem. The scene was a really interesting snippet between Will and his younger sister Cecily. I won’t spoil for anyone who hasn’t read the series at this point, but let’s just say that things stand to get a lot more complicated in the world of the Victorian London Shadowhunters. I’m very much looking forward to reading the book when it is finally released.

I took a lot of notes during the talk as a whole, so I’m going to be summarising below a tag as this will contain spoilers. Please note that these will not be word for word quotations as I couldn’t write that fast, they will be summaries of the answers given. I got spoiled for the most recent book of The Mortal Instruments, City of Lost Souls, while I was at the signing, which I really should have expected, as both series were being discussed fairly widely. Consider this your final warning! Here there be spoilers! Continue reading

The Fierce Reads YA Author Tour – Seattle, WA

Confession: before tonight, I had never, ever been to Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park. It turns out it’s not actually way outside of town. It’s an easy SoundTransit bus trip (less easy because like an idiot I let my Orca card go empty, but that’s my problem). Anyhow, fun atmosphere, great staff, and I got to meet Flannery of The Readventurer, so that was neat. I will be returning there not to just buy more books I don’t need but for future author events.

The Fierce Reads tour is 4-6 debut authors who write YA. Also I’m totally using the following picture because all of the authors look “fierce” and not because I’m a crappy photographer who took photos with an iPad rather than my canon, which I did not want to carry:


From left to right: Lish McBride, author of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer; Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder; Leigh Bardugo, author of Shadow and Bone; Jennifer Bosworth, author of Struck; Anna Banks, author of Of Poseidon; and Emmy Laybourne, author of Monument 14.

The presentation started with a book trailer for every novel and then a few words from the author about the book’s plot and where its inspiration came from. They went right to left, but I’m going to stick with this order and go in reverse. (Direct quotes are in quotations, otherwise I’m paraphrasing and/or summarizing.)

Continue reading