March 31, 2010
The time is 4:30pm, two and a half hours before Patricia Briggs, author of the Mercy Thompson Series, arrives at my local Powells Books. I come ready with knitting basket in hand, to knit and purl and ssk the minutes away while I wait. Patiently. Earnestly.
Strolling through the double doors, my eyes immediately fall upon vibrant book covers. Book covers with the titles, “SILVER BORNE” scrawled across them. I practically scream of pure geekdom within the stacks as I grab a copy and hug it like a precious, fluffy kitten. People stare. I blush. I suppose my suave decorum could only last for so long. Hey, I tried.
Fortunately, I was not alone. Huddled with the comfy chairs were other fans, some of whom I had seen last week for the Cherie Priest signing, and they were waving me over. We chatted, we knitted, and I kept my eagerness to dive into the new novel at bay. “When I get home, I’ll start reading it,” I promised myself.
At 6PM, Powells employees were setting the stage and unfolding the chairs. Because of our preparedness (or overzelousness, which ever you prefer), the early birds were able to snag the front row. Minutes ticked away as I counted the rows in my shawl pattern and searched in my bag for my measuring tape. I was curious as to how many people would show up. Every reading I’ve been to, the numbers have always been unpredictable. Twenty? Fifty? Five hundred? I also find it humbling and cool to peer upon the guest author’s face as they survey the crowd, jaw a bit slacken, and say in awe, “Wow. There are so many of you here.” Not once are they grumpy because not enough readers showed up, they are always surprised people actually like their books.
Patricia Briggs was no different. When she approached the podium comprised of wooden stacked books, she beamed over the microphone in her light, lime green top and bright orange scarf. She was wearing my two favorite colours. Together. I liked her already.
Briggs treated us to reading from “Silver Borne” and she picked just the right chapter as to not spoil anything, yet hook us enough to want to read it ourselves.
During the Q&A, people raved about her books, asked if she does extensive outlining, how many more Mercy Thompson novels will she write, and where does she get her inspiration. Well, this is what we learned:
1. Briggs does not outline, she merely has an idea of where the story will go and just writes it. She likes to be surprised with her characters, not predictable.
2. She is contracted to write seven Mercy Thompson novels but feels strongly in continuing the saga after that. She will also dive back into her Fantasy roots by producing a sequel to “The Hob’s Bargain” and perhaps another in the Raven Strike series. Briggs’ promised she will quit before the work goes stale. Something a few authors haven’t learned yet.
3. Fans of “Masque” will get any extra treat when it’s re-released later this year. Briggs has polished it up since it was first published by adding character descriptions, finishing conversations, and covering the plot holes a lot better than the first time. LOL!
4. Daniel Dos Santos, who has done all the Mercy Thompson covers, teased Briggs by putting BACK in the “Bone Crossed” cover, that damn crescent wrench. Joke is, no mechanic in their right mind would admit to working with, let alone owning, a crescent wrench. When they were prominently in the covers of “Moon Called” and “Blood Bound”, Briggs asked if they could remove it. They did. But Dos Santos snuck it back in for a laugh on the fourth book and teased, ” It’s baaaAAAAAAAAAaaaack.”
5. When Googling the words “walking stick” to look up fairie lore on it, do not, Briggs’ repeated, “Do NOT type in “fairy staff” because you will end up with some VERY interesting links.”
The it came time for the signing. To my surprise, throughout the entire time Briggs was speaking, I was sitting in my chair giggling and doing giddy clapping. I knew I was an admirer of her work. I knew I wanted to meet her. But I had no idea how fangrrl ga-ga I would become in her mere presence. Apparently her books mean more to me than I consciously thought.
Patricia Briggs was very kind and talkative as over 100 people waited patiently for their books to be signed. Because I hate towering over the author while they inscribe, I crouched down to eye level and conveyed my heart-felt appreciation to Briggs and the werewolf world she created. “THANK YOU. I love what you’ve done with it because it’s not merely, here’s a werewolf pack, there are so many layers. There’s sociological, political, behavioral, familial….the list could go on. Thank you for breathing life into it.” Briggs beamed with a “Thank you! I’m so happy you enjoy what I write.”
I do. I truly do.
And later that night, I kept my promise to myself. With fuzzy snuggies adorned, I plopped in my bed and began reading the latest adventure of Mercy Thompson.