What is made from straw, has a carrot nose and is feared by large black birds?
A scarecrow, of course! And yesterday I had the opportunity to meet the amazing Matthew Reilly, author of the Scarecrow series among others. Now, I am (allegedly) a children’s writer, so I feel the need to stress here – these are probably not books you want to read to your children. Unless they’re in high school… preferably upper high school.
But for adults, these books are amazing. Seriously, they’ve been described as action films in book form (but unlike many action films, these have plots!). They are gripping and addictive, and all of the research that Matthew puts into these books really comes through.
I love them for a bit of wild escapism, because let’s face it – the closest my life has come to an action movie was rushing my dog to the vet when she started sneezing blood and subsequently cleaning blood out of the car (that part was more like a crime show).
I was SO EXCITED to have the chance to meet one Australia’s best authors and even get his new book in the Scarecrow series, Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves, signed. He wrote my name!!!
Now that I’ve gotten that fangirl moment out of the way, meeting Matthew was really cool – he is absolutely delightful. We had a chat about George R R Martin’s Song of Fire and Ice series (I just finished A Storm of Swords and he’s reading A Game of Thrones) and he talked about Martin’s talent for following so many stories and characters all at once. That’s another great series for adults, by the way.
I could have stayed and chatted to him for hours (actually, I could talk to anyone about books and reading and writing for hours), but I felt bad for the people in line behind me, so I took my (signed! with my name!) book and wondered off to do some other shopping.
Oh, and not only is Matthew Reilly a super talented writer and really nice guy, he’s also good looking! Want to see? Well, here is a photo of the two of us together. Yep, that’s right, I GOT MY PHOTO TAKEN WITH MATTHEW REILLY!!
So, what did I get out of meeting The Man, The Legend himself?
Book signings ROCK!
While book signings d0 look like hard work (especially for your wrists), they also look like a lot of fun! How good must it feel to meet such a range of people who are all brought together by a love of the books that you have created?
Bring a snack
Those lines can be LONG, and as someone who gets hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) eating regularly is important. I had a late breakfast, so was not even thinking about the fact that the signing started at 11, and could possibly run into lunchtime. Mistake #1.
When I got there I felt a little low, but was so excited to queue up I didn’t want to wait any longer… until I saw the length of the line. I decided to visit the nearest cafe and grab something to keep me going. They didn’t have any low GI, easy to eat while standing up juggling a large book, a handbag and my phone (so I could tweet my excitement), so I grabbed a blueberry muffin and vanilla latte. Mistake #2.
That snack got me through the meeting with Matthew (I put the shaking hands down to pure excitement) but after that I crashed badly enough that I had to get dad to pick me up because I didn’t trust myself to drive. He fed me and let me rest a while and then we came back for the car.
Still, if I hadn’t had someone close by who was available to get me, that could have been scary, and not in the “hey look, is that a scarecrow in that field?” way, but more of a “Oh no, I made the Scarecrow mad and now he and his super-tough team are out to get me” way.
So seriously, bring a trail bar or something (preferably nut-free, since anaphylaxis is a very real issue and you don’t want to risk making another fan sick – that’s not a great way to make a first impression) to keep you going. Even without health issues it’s a good idea.
Organisation is key
From an author’s perspective, organisation makes things run a lot smoother. A young lady (yes, I feel like a grandma writing that) from Dymocks, which was hosting the signing, came down the line writing down the attributions people wanted on post-its and sticking them in the correct page. That eliminated any issues with oddly spelled names, which not only made his life easier (can you imagine if he’d written Chrissy instead of Chrissie? I might have cried…) but also means less time spelling names and more time chatting!
The extras count
A couple of people (I think Dymocks staff, although they could have been part of Matthew’s entourage) were dressed up as characters out of his book, complete with plastic weaponry.
The signing table itself was set up in front of some army netting stuff (that’s the technical term) hanging from the outside wall of the shop, and there was a funky looking military machine-type whodacky (again, technical terminology here – try to keep up!) which I failed to take a photo of – I was too excited to see Matthew! Those little touches were really cool and made the whole thing feel more personal than just a table and chair.
Photos are awesome
They just are. I was there by myself since my Matt was at work, but the lovely lady accompanying Matthew and overseeing the signings was happy to take a photo of us together.
Sorry, I have to show off one more time. This is me… WITH MATTHEW REILLY!
- Matthew Reilly (www.matthewreilly.com)
- Bestsellers, blockbusters and the marketing world (rebeccaberto.wordpress.com)
- My top books for 2011 by Toni Whitmont (booktopia.com.au)