Last night, I had the chance to meet Leigh Bardugo, author of the Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology. While I’ve only discovered her work this year, she’s quickly become one of my favorite authors.
Bardugo has been busy this fall, with two books released in September. At the beginning of the month, Wonder Woman: Warbringer (the first of the D.C. Icons series) came out. I just finished listening to it on audiobook and it was really fun. This week, A Language of Thorns was released, which is a beautifully illustrated collection of folktales set in the Grishaverse world.
As part of my job as a librarian, I frequently host author talks, but this was my first time attending one that is part of a national tour. I’m the kind of girl who gets nervous around people I admire and frequently feel like I make a total fool of myself. (Seriously, it’s the worst when talking to attractive guys… I get sooo awkward.) Thus, coming face to face with an author whose work I love was really intimidating. But this was too good a chance to pass up.
The event took place at a theater in St. Paul and was hosted by the Red Balloon Bookstore. I attended with an old camp friend and some of her buddies. We were in the lobby picking up our tickets and copies of Language of Thorns when Leigh arrived. I recognized her right away and started freaking out inside.
There was trivia going on when we got to the auditorium, but soon after that they began the official proceedings. Leigh sat down on stage with a local author, who asked her a series of questions. It was a back-and-forth conversation filled with fun quips and banter. Leigh talked about her work as a writer, the inspiration behind her stories and characters, and her Hogwarts house. One of my favorite things is listening to writers talk about their craft (I follow several podcasts on the subject) and it was an absolute treat to listen to her describe her process.
At one point, she told a story about the first time she met George R.R. Martin. This was before the show came out and she was at a gathering for the official fanclub. She had consumed a few cocktails and, upon coming face to face with Martin, he took her hand and she burst into tears. She stood there, crying and blubbering, and holding his hand awkwardly and told us it was the most embarrassing moment of her life.
Hearing that story made meeting her significantly less intimidating.
I was really nervous when it was my turn to come face to face with Leigh to get my books signed, but she was absolutely lovely. She asked me how I was doing and engaged in a bit of small talk. I told her I’m a librarian and that I recommend her books every chance I get. She asked me where my library is, thanked me for coming so far, and for encouraging kids to read.
I was so impressed with how genuine Leigh was with her fans. I’ve been in situations where you have to be socially “on” for a long time and know how draining that can be. But when I was talking to her, she seemed genuinely pleased to meet me. She made a point of connecting with each person.
All in all, it was a fantastic night. It’s been a stressful few weeks with adjusting to grad school (which I hope to do a post on soon) and I dearly needed to get away for some fun. I ended up crashing at a friend’s house in Minneapolis and was up at the crack of dawn today to get to my library for work. Thankfully, Saturdays are really laid back.
Between studying and working at my family’s apple orchard all day Sunday, I have a busy weekend ahead. Currently, I’m super hyped on caffeine and will probably have some kind of meltdown today… but it was worth it.
Moral of the story: when an author you love comes to town, make a point to go see them. Your life will be richer for it. If you’re nervous, just keep in mind that it can’t get worse than blubbering all over George R.R. Martin.