This is their twenty-fifth collaboration, many of which involve the beloved FBI Special Agent A. X. L. Pendergast. In addition, each individually has written solo tomes. I highly recommend Preston’s most recent: The Lost City of the Monkey God, a nonfiction account of a search in Honduras for a city that had been unseen for hundreds of years. Preston was a member of the expedition.
The large friendly audience—I estimated over 200—was abuzz, displaying intimate knowledge of previous books with a lot of sentences that began, “Have you read…?”
Signings seem to follow a pattern. The author says a few words, sometimes reading excerpts.
Then there’s Q & A and I’m always taken by the depth of the questions. At least when I can hear them. Lack of a traveling mike the other night allowed some to waft into oblivion.
I enjoy the talk and questions because I learn situations faced by well-known writers more often than not mirror my own. Like not having at the beginning a full outline of a story’s path. Like writing yourself into a corner and wondering how the hell you’re going to get out of it.
The final stage is the important work, at least for the authors: selling and signing books.
I always buy in order to get a signature. For this event the books were purchased before the presentation and a bookstore representative passed through the crowd, writing buyers’ names on Post-it notes that were stuck to the book’s cover. Made dedications easier when you approached the authors.
Then the line formed. This was a large event, probably over 100 sales.
One would think folks would do all they could to move things along. One would think incorrectly. Some held up the line by asking to stand behind the authors for a photo. Some preceded this request by announcing they had not bought a book but hoped the men wouldn’t mind. Others gabbed and gabbed with the authors. Preston and Child were the epitome of graciousness.
I love it when people are rude or selfish or difficult in any way. More fodder for future writing.
When it was my turn I did not take much time. I mentioned to Child that I was a writer who had begun after retirement and he was supportive, without inquiring where he could find my books. He signed his name and asked if I wanted “To Bob” placed in the book. He had read the Post-it note. I said I did because then I could show people and pretend we were friends. He laughed. I advanced to Preston.
When I checked my book I could tell both men were famous. Their signatures are unreadable.
I’ve had a few signings of my own at a somewhat smaller level that the one I just attended. Two have been in my home. One was at the old Urban Think bookstore where I read a portion of When Your Lover Dies, a memoir/self-help book dealing with the death of a spouse. Then there were two events at local book fairs where one sits for hours wondering why everyone doesn’t stop at your table, with maybe two sales marking a good day.
But in many ways that’s enough. It’s a heady feeling when someone decides it’s worth paying hard earned dollars for something you wrote.