Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I knew that authors go around the country, showing up at various bookstores to meet their fans, talk about their books, and sign some copies. What a great opportunity for readers to see writers up close and personal, hear how their favorite books came to be and perhaps garner some tips for their own writing aspirations. Being a lover of literature, I always thought going to a book signing would be fun but didn't know how to go about pursuing one. Lucky for me, my friend Jodi R. and her sister Sally W., do this kind of adventure all the time. When I told them I would be interested in joining them one day, they kindly invited me to tag along on their next book signing outing. I was going to meet and hear a famous author at a real book signing!!!
We met up at Southern California's Oldest and Largest Independent Bookstore, Vroman's, in Pasadena. Our event was labeled as "Literaries who lunch presents Adriana Trigiani discussing and signing her book "The Shoemaker's Wife." Now, I have to admit: I was not familiar with Adriana Trigiani and I had only vaguely heard of that book. But that didn't matter. Adriana Trigiani was a famous author, invited by a famous bookstore, to share her famous book. And both Sally and Jodi had high regards for Adriana and her books. That was all the incentive I needed to take an afternoon off and travel an hour to Pasadena on a rainy day.
Before Adriana arrived, participants like me, Jodi, and Sally, gathered in the upstairs loft of the store with our sack lunches. Adriana's books were on display near the speaker's podium and were available for purchase. If you bought a book, Adriana would personalize her autograph for you. As I was perusing through Adriana's many titles, an older couple was standing next to me. I listened to them recall their favorite passages of every single book on the shelf. Both the man and the woman had read all of Adriana's books and loved each one. That impressed me. I already knew I was going to purchase the featured book, The Shoemaker's Wife but since this couple had such lavish reviews, I asked them for a recommendation of another one of Adriana's titles. It was hard for them to pick just one, but they both finally agreed that I should read, Lucia, Lucia. Before the event even started, I was clutching two of Adriana's books.
Adriana was larger than life. She waltzed in to the loft, speaking in a cheery voice, welcoming all of us who were there. I was immediately impressed with her friendliness to perfect strangers.To break the ice, she told us of her recent experience with Super Storm Sandy. Adriana lives in Greenwich Village and saw first hand the destruction and problems the storm left behind in New York City. Her older home made it through the storm but was left without electricity for 8 days. Yikes. She left town to stay with her sister until the power was restored.
We learned that The Shoemaker's Wife was 20 years in the making!!! While it is a novel, the characters and story line is based on Adriana's family; her grandparents who came from Italy and settled in America. 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of her grandfather's arrival As she did her research, she got to know her family intimately, putting together clues to build her characters. The actual writing of the novel took three years, years filled with magic as pieces came together to form her story. Her characters became as real to her as her own grandparents.
Adriana also shared some of her writing quirks. She herself was inspired by another author, Edna Ferber. From Edna she learned that writing takes devotion and that you have to invent different ways to achieve your dreams and goals. Adriana likes to "shake up" her writing. She doesn't stick to writing one type of fiction. She has written serials, Young Adult fiction, and an epic novel, The Shoemaker's Wife. Adriana shared that it is important for her to develop distinct details regarding the location of her stories that she almost describes it too much. As I listened to her speak, the impression came to me that Adriana is truly an artist, painting her pictures with words instead of colors.
At the end of the discussion, I waited in line to get both of my books signed. It was so fun to have a short, private conversation with Adriana. I told her about my blog and that I was going to feature her, and she seemed genuinely appreciative. I took a picture of both of us and then went on my way.
What a thrill to meet a famous author, to hear how a famous author creates her stories, and to learn about some great fiction.
Have you ever gone to a book signing before?