Yesterday, it poured.
I live around Chicago, so rain isn’t too rare an occurence, but yesterday, it rained in kind of that ominious inky sky, downpouring sheets of rain kind of way.
My brother was going for this tournament of his. It was in Naperville, and I found out that morning that authors Rae Carson and CJ Redwine were going to be in town.
I had actually been keeping my eye on that Sarah J. Maas event, but I thought, hey, why not? I liked Rae Carson–I had LOVED her Girl of Fire and Thorns books. Plus, I had never been down to Anderson’s before.
So long story short, I found myself sitting in the small, cozy bookshop of Anderson’s that afternoon.
The event started out quietly–just the two authors first introducing each other, giving reading recommendations, and then answering questions from the crowd of about 20-25. Not too big–it was great. I sat in the second row and managed to get a good view of the authors. Rae and CJ were witty and amazing and I found myself nodding along to CJ’s Strong Female Characters argument (check out Erin Bowman’s kick-butt post on that: http://www.publishingcrawl.com/2013/08/28/on-strong-female-characters/) and I asked a question of my own.
I wanted so badly to buy their books but I forgot to bring money. So after the event ended and the signings commenced, I slunk quietly to the bookshelves and settled down with a book. After a bit, the crowd had cleared and the chairs were packed up, the two authors wandered over to the bookshelves. And Rae Carson was there, standing literally two feet away from me, scanning the Sci-Fi and Fantasy shelf.
So I screwed up my courage and spoke. She recognized me from the event. I told her she was an inspiration to me and how I was a writer too, and how I wanted to be published some day. At this point CJ Redwine had joined us. So it was the three of us, talking about writing and publishing. The two ladies were so kind and humble and there and real.
And at one point CJ asked me, “What’s your name?”
“Christina,” I said. “Christina Li.”
“Christina Li,” Rae said. “I’m going to look for your name on the bookshelves one day.”
And that’s what made me nearly teary and absolutely giddy with happiness. To have an author–A NY Times bestselling author–look me in the eye and say that to a young unknown teen…I was speechless. And endlessly grateful.
And I spent the rest of the afternoon reading The Bone Season, which was stunning and complex and completely, totally epic. It lived up to my expectations and more.
My kind of a perfect afternoon.