When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable. ~Leigh Bardugo,
Anything worth doing always starts as a bad idea. ~Leigh Bardugo,
This past Wednesday, I had the honor of meeting Leigh Bardugo. Who is she? If you have to ask, you just don’t get it, and you’re probably not into young adult fantasy fiction. If that genre strikes your fancy, then I suggest diving into her world straightaway. You’ll thank me later.
Leigh Bardugo is the New York Time’s Best Selling author of the Grisha Series (Shadow & Bone, Siege & Storm, Ruin & Rising) and the Six of Crows. She was doing a book signing for her newest release, Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Six of Crows.
How did I find out about this book signing? When I heard Crooked Kingdom was being release this September, I immediately went to Leigh Bardugo’s website. There, I reviewed her events and books signing gigs. It was at that moment, I started plotting my adventure.
Where was she? There were only a few locations in which she’d be in close proximity to me, Ohio, Maryland and Pittsburgh. To be honest, I actually looked at all the states and their corresponding dates, to see if I was doing an event with Thrill of the Hunt around the same time. Alas, nothing was easily working in my favor. Pittsburgh would have been ideal, however she was one of several speakers at the YALSA event at the convention center on November 4th, and it wasn’t a book signing. Incidentally, I would like to attend the weekend activities with YALSA. That might be a near future possibility, and a last minute decision. Next on the list was Ohio, only because the date was a day before the release of Crooked Kingdom, and I couldn’t wait. I was acting like Kyle, my nephew, when he was a kid and a new Lego was being released.
Initially, when I Googled the location of the book signing, it informed me that it was going to be about an hour and a half trip. I can handle that. However, on Wednesday, I called to confirm the evening’s book signing activity, and to ensure they did have copies of Crooked Kingdom for purchase. I also retrieved the address to GPS. That was when my jaw dropped. Keep in mind, I was excited beyond words and I was leaving in plenty of time without rushing or stressing. What happened? The GPS said it was going to take me three and a half hours to get there! What? I must have previously Googled the branch location. Yikes! I was already going to be late. Did my newest obstacle stop me? Nope! I darted out the door and put the peddle to the metal.
Where did I go? I ended up at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst County Public Library in South Euclid, Ohio, across from Notre Dame. It was a long trip, but one worth it.
I arrived without incidence, but was ten minutes late. Anyone who knows me, knows I absolutely detest being late, for anything. Regardless, I scurried into a room full Leigh Bardugo fans without missing a beat. It was an eclectic assortment of individuals, mostly young adults, but also a variety of ages and genders. Naturally, Leigh was on time and was in the middle of talking about the book and other projects as I crossed the threshold. Crap!
Prior to Wednesday, I read that DC Comics was teaming up with some writers for a four book collection based on superheros. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw Leigh Bardugo was writing the Wonder Woman book. Can my days get any better? I love reading her books and now she’s writing a book about my childhood idol! Life is just getting better and better every minute!
Before meeting someone of influence and highly respected, there’s always a bit of anxiety. Let’s face it, we’re all human, and no one is perfect. There’s that slight chance that person may not be what was envisioned. Was that the case with Leigh? Not at all. The minute I caught up to her conversation, I felt like she was already a friend. I know that sounds a bit stalker, but it’s true. She’s saucy, sarcastic, colorful, straight forward, and hilarious. We’re practically sisters! She’s the friend you call to go out for a drink, take a road trip or when you need cheering up.
After Leigh spoke and answered questions, we moved into the signing stage of the evening. As I walked toward the table, I saw the heavens opened up and light streamed down onto Leigh with Crooked Kingdom in hand, like the heavens were pointing the way. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a religious experience, but I did feel like a kid meeting a rock star. Seriously? Yes. It was a mix between meeting this very cool chick I just heard speaking to the room full of fans, and the desire to jump back into the world of Kerch and Ketterdam, its capital. (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom) Yes, her books are that captivating!
Naturally, I grabbed a few of my books for Leigh to sign. I was going to take them all but I chose against it, I didn’t want to seem like a super fan, even though I just drove three and half hours to meet an author I praise without reservation, even when no one asks.
Believe it or not, after reading the Six of Crows, I reached out to Leigh’s literary agent, to see if I could obtain copyrights to do a Grisha/Six of Crows themed scavenger hunt. I was instantly and nicely denied. But in my eyes, that doesn’t mean forever. Before taking on my midweek road trip, I meant to grab some literature on Thrill of the Hunt to give to Leigh. Well, I left in such haste I forgot. I did have a business card, like any good business owner.
During my own personal two minute encounter with Leigh, I mentioned that I reached out to her literary agent. And you know what? She seemed very excited, and then asked if I was a writer. Leigh’s comment actually threw me for a loop. Of course, for normal people that would be a typical reason for reaching out to a literary agent. Actually, I wrote a couple books, but nothing published. Now it was my turn to throw her for a loop. Briefly, I informed her that I own Thrill of the Hunt and I make theme scavenger hunts. I mentioned I would like to do a scavenger hunt based off of her books. For a second time, she had a twinkle of intrigue in her eye. Then discreetly, (actually not so discreetly) I pulled out my business card and slid it across the table to her, where she graciously tucked it with her purse.
Will anything come from this meeting? Who knows, but it sure was fun.
Just before I turned into a pumpkin at midnight, I stumbled into my bed. I was exhausted, yet really excited to crack that book and jump into the twisted and yet exciting story of Kaz Brekker. I really don’t have an addictive personality, and I can’t say I have any vices, except maybe my books. Actually, only certain stories can capture my attention and chain my hyperactive antsy bum to a chair. Leigh Bardugo is one such author.
I was going to take Kyle along, even though he never read Leigh’s books. If I can get that Kyle off of those video games long enough to read her books, I know he’d really enjoy the story and enjoy the Grisha world. Why didn’t I take Kyle? He’s very busy with school and band, and I didn’t want to keep him out late on a school night, especially to meet an author Kyle will only appreciate down the road. One day when Kyle returns to the land of enjoyable reading, and not just for school, we can hit up a few book signings.
Taking on adventures in made up worlds is so very relaxing to me and keeps me energized. I have an addiction to traveling to these mysterious lands, and fighting for the good in people and for simple love. Fantasy keeps me in check with reality.
Now I seriously can’t wait for Wonder Woman. On a side note, I should have worn my Wonder Woman shirt!
Leigh Bardugo was donating 10% of her book sales from the Troublemakers Tour (9/29 – 10/10) to GEMS, and Macmillan Publishing was matching her donation up to $3000.
Leigh Bardugo Website:
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential. GEMS is committed to ending commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking of girls and young women by changing individual lives, transforming public perception, and revolutionizing the systems and policies that impact sexually exploited youth.
10/3/16 – As I was wrapping up Crooked Kingdom, which is a great book, I had papers shoved in the book that fell out and made me think of an addendum to my story above. While Leigh Bardugo was opening my books to sign, a few receipts and papers fell out. Naturally, I apologized and then I felt like I should explain, so she didn’t think I was a junk collector.
Whenever I’m reading a book I tend to drag it along with me wherever I go. Typically, during that time, I find myself taking care of daily activities that sometimes require waiting, such as getting an oil change, sitting at the veterinarian’s office, flying to a new location, and so forth. Usually, I collect paperwork from those instances. I intentionally place certain documentations among the pages of my book. Granted, I can’t leave everything, or it would be a big pile of miscellaneous papers, but I do add a few select items, sometimes. Why? Those unrelated pieces of information are record keepers. My books record my history in a sense, of what I was doing when I read them. So the next time I re-read the book, it’s like a walk down memory lane. Plus, one day if Kyle decides to take adventures into my books, he might find it interesting to see my past, even though it’s usually nothing exciting.
I’m also the one who likes to write in the margins of my books, especially if I know someone is going to read it after I do. I like to make silly comments, or add inside jokes based off of the story. It’s another way for others to share in my adventure, and I in theirs, because no matter what it, these entries stop a person in their tracks and sparks conversation.