Friday, November 5, 2010

Towers of Midnight Book Signing

So last night at the Borders Books & Music in Dallas, Brandon Sanderson showed up to do a signing for the release of the thirteenth Wheel of Time book, Towers of Midnight.  Also on hand was Harriet McDougal, wife of the late Robert Jordan, who has been collaborating with Sanderson to help make sure that the WOT series is completed as RJ envisioned it.  I'm not gonna lie to you folks, it was awesome. 

I attended with my husband and one of my best friends, Miss J.

Me and Miss J.

Me and the hubby.

There was a pretty decent crowd assembled.  Huzzah for geeks!  Everyone was very excited to be there and get to meet Brandon and Harriet.  One of the things I love about being a geek is that it seems to me when we get together in large numbers, we tend to be mostly pretty organized and polite to one another (or to be so introverted that we all just leave each other alone).  I am usually not good with crowds, but I had no problems last night at all.  Everyone I encountered was pretty groovy.  There was also a group of volunteers, The Tower Guard, on hand to answer questions and help keep things running smoothly.  My husband and I both thought about volunteering for it this year but didn't, though we are in agreement that we will probably apply next year for the signing of the last book.  My apologies for the pictures not being top quality, but I am, quite frankly, an amateur.  I still haven't totally figured out how to work my silly camera.

Waiting patiently...

The Tower Guard.

Some more fans.

Brandon and Harriet were introduced to enthusiastic applause and then Harriet kicked things off with a reading of an excerpt from the prologue of ToM.  Can I just reiterate that I cannot wait to read this book.  Gah.  Must finish The Gathering Storm reread first though.  Egwene is so awesome.  Anyway.  during her reading, Harriet was interrupted by a phone (hers I think) ringing.  She played it off with a Star Wars reference, which was awesome, and then continued on.

Harriet McDougal and Brandon Sanderson

After the reading Brandon took questions from the audience for the both of them.  He asked if anyone present hadn't read TGS yet, and there was a fair smattering, so he refused to answer any spoilery questions about either TGS or ToM.  He asked audiences to save up those questions for they got up to the signing table (but did not promise to actually answer them, I suspect there were quite a few RAFO cards handed out).  One of the audience members, complete with her handmade Brown Ajah shawl, really wanted to ask a question about a "certain member of the Brown Ajah," but, other than that people kept to the request to try to be spoiler free for the two most recent books.

Someone asked Brandon if he writes the stories linearly as they appear or if he writes scenes out of order.  He told us that he writes the scenes linearly, but he writes them in POV groups (like all of Mat's story for the book, then all of Perrin's story), and then gives them to Harriet, who decides how they get split up and arranged.

Someone asked who Bella is really working for, to which Harriet replied, "Would you believe Bella is the Dark One?"  You know what, I like her, she's got sass.

Brandon shared that in between writing contracted books, he likes to work on other projects based on whatever strikes him.  He revealed a story he had recently started about a pizza delivery guy that becomes a necromancer. 

Someone else asked him which character was the most difficult for him to write.  He didn't really have any one in particular, but did tell us that it took him a while to figure out Aviendha's voice in particular, and that he has a hard time writing Gawyn, not because he can't find his voice, but because Gawyn's frustrations bleed through in to him as he writes them.

He was asked who his favorite villain is to write and said that it depends on the books.  For ToM it was Fain.

He ended the Q & A by demonstrating his best Forsaken evil laugh.  It was pretty awesomely evil.

Then came a few announcements about how about how the signing would work.  He would sign up to three books for each person.  He would only sign WOT books that he had worked on (so only TGS and ToM).  Harriet would only sign the books she worked on, which in addition to the last two WOT books included Brandon's newest book The Way of Kings, which she consulted on I think.  Also, as you may or may not know, ToM was dedicated to all of the people from WOT fandom who have kept it so strong over the years by running FAQ sites, discussion sites, message boards, forums, etc.  One of those people, Bob Kluttz, is a Texas native and was at the signing, so Brandon and Harriet asked him to come up too and sign ToM.

When we got to the store and bought our books, we were given wrist bands (you needed to have one to get signed).  The wrist bands were in different colors and what they did was have people line up one color group at a time.  I thought it would have been pretty nifty if the order of the color groups matched the order of the Ajah bands on Accepted's dresses and the Amyrlin's stole, but as we were orange, that kind of blew that theory out of the water (there is no orange Ajah).  Our group was the second group.  So while the people from the first group (green) got their books signed, we hung out in the cafe until it was time for us to line up.  I felt really sorry for the lady working at the cafe who was clearly in training.  It was looking like a rough night for her.  Though to her credit, while she was a little slow, our order was perfectly right and she was very nice to everyone.

While we waited, Hubby hunkered down with ToM--apparently he had just gotten to a really really good part.  Miss J and I chatted about writing--she was asking me about my story for NaNoWriMo, and she is in the middle of writing a really awesome series that I have been reading as she gets it done.  I drew a map for my story on a cafe napkin.  It was fun, and got me super excited about my writing all over again. 

When it was our turn to get in line, we hung out and chatted with some of the Tower Guard--they were giving out post it notes for us to put whatever personalization we wanted in our signings on.  One of them was a super cute 16 year old girl who told us her mom was a little worried about the whole thing--all of the adults and she was the only kid.  Her mom was worried she might be getting into a cult--at Borders--and so was hanging around keeping an eye on things.  She was clearly having a ball.  Turns out the Tower Guard got to have a mini-pizza party with Brandon before the signing.  That's pretty spiffy.  Also, one of the Guard was the lady who played Moiraine in the ToM book trailer that came out a little bit ago.  If you haven't seen it, check it out here.  It's pretty cool, despite the weird voiceover that I don't think sounds like Moiraine would sound (that may be because in my head, Moriane is played by Teryl Rothery), but everything else is spot on. 

We also chatted a lot with the guy in line in front of us.  He was very nice--very talky.  But it was cool, we talked about a lot of different book series as well as some television shows we mutually watched and he recommended a lot of good audiobooks.

When it was our turn to get signed, my husband was all calm and cool and I totally went fangirl on Brandon and Harriet.  I didn't have any questions, just thanked him (them) for being so awesome, and for doing the Egwene scenes in TGS so well, though I don't know how coherent I was.  They were both super nice and seemed genuinely happy to be there, despite obviously being tired.

We even got some free bumper stickers.  Yay, swag!

Bumper Stickers!

Our two new Brandon Sanderson books.

All in all, it was a fantastic evening.  We are definitely going again next year for the A Memory of Light signing if they come back, and will most likely at least apply to be part of the Tower Guard as well (getting accepted is another matter entirely, I am sure).  My husband picked up a copy of The Way of Kings, while I snagged a copy of Elantris, which I have been wanting to read.  In addition to getting those signed, we also got TGS and ToM signed as well.  Good times all around, and much fantastic reading to look forward to in the near future!

Also, there were people dressed as Aiel, which was just frakking awesome.

Thankfully she did not ask me to dance the spears!

Oh, and, as it's Friday, don't forget to check out this week's Gronk!  That is all.

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