This year the UK has gone crazy over Rainbow Rowell, author of books such as Attachments, Eleanor and Park, Fangirl, and her latest novel for adults, Landline. So I wasn't surprised - but very excited - when it was announced that Rainbow would be flying over from the US to do a UK tour, consisting of events in London, Liverpool, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Birmingham.
The only event there was a slight chance of me attending was the one in London, but by the time I found out about it tickets had understandably already sold out. But then another date was added. July 15th. In the space of three seconds, a lot of things crossed my mind - my anxiety, money, travel, meeting such a famous author - but then I thought 'meh' and ordered three tickets for myself and my parents. I didn't ask them. I probably should have done. Instead, I quickly printed out the tickets and stuffed them behind a stack of books on the shelf in my room, not to be seen again until a week later when I casually dropped the fact into conversation that I'd bought the tickets.
The parents were very reluctant, but I'd already bought the tickets...what could they do? ;) Luckily they ended up having an enjoyable evening anyway.
The day arrived and I was a nervous wreck. I considered not going. I considered missing the talk and only attending the signing. I considered letting my mum go ahead and get the books signed on my behalf - which she had offered to do - as I waited at Stratford station, which is where we were as I started having a panic attack. I think it was because I was already really nervous, and it didn't help that the trains were packed and boiling hot.
Because of that, we had to let around 15 trains go by (at 2-minute intervals - 15 trains sounds like a lot but it really wasn't!) as I got myself together. That's also why I didn't vlog the day, which is what I'd planned to do. Then it took longer than expected to get to Waterstones when we were back on the tube because there were delays at Liverpool Street. So we walked, which was intimidating because...let's just say we were in the part of London where there are more posh suits than tourist backpacks...
Eventually we arrived at Piccadilly Waterstones having completely missed Rainbow's entire talk, so unfortunately I can't tell you what she talked about, but Stacey at The Pretty Books has gone into great detail about it so you can read about that here.
But now I'll tell you about what I didn't miss...
Now, this was my first time at Waterstones Piccadilly. I knew it was the largest bookshop in Europe but nothing can prepare you for the pure awesome of it. We chilled on the armchairs just outside of the event until the queue got a bit shorter because I still felt pretty out of it and I didn't feel up to facing so many people just yet. Instead, I bought the finished copy of Landline and the special edition of Fangirl, and ended up getting two free Fangirl tote bags too. Win!
There was also a table with refreshments and the event was just generally really well organised, although I know the staff are used to dealing with popular authors so I wasn't surprised!
Then we headed into the event area and joined the queue; we were last.
I recognised Charlotte from her Twitter profile and also thought I saw Georgia from The Bibliomaniac out of the corner of my eye, but I didn't do anything about it because I wasn't expecting her to be there. Later it turned out it was her and we were even wearing the same shirt! WUT? I was also meant to be meeting Debbie from Snuggling on the Sofa but she couldn't make it. :(
The stage where Rainbow had been sat with Bim Adewunmi was still set up but unoccupied, and it was right next to the queue, so I decided to casually hop up onto the stage and sit in Rainbow's vacated chair. I SAT WHERE RAINBOW SAT. SOMEONE HOLD ME.
Then it was my turn and Rainbow signed all of my books even though there was a 4-book limit and I had 6, which was lovely. She didn't say much and I felt really awkward; Rainbow because she was understandably tired, and me because I was so incredibly nervous. She asked if there were any of her books which I hadn't read, and I said Attachments. She replied that it was the lighter of her books - the funniest - so I'm looking forward to it even more now! Then she said "I hope you enjoy it," and I said, "I'm sure I will," which made me want to die because I sounded so formal and forced and I SOUNDED LIKE SUCH AN IDIOT. Also, publicist Kat McKenna was next to the table but I didn't want to sound like a weirdo by saying hello when she wouldn't have recognised me.
I got my photo taken with Rainbow.
|Click to enlarge.|
Fangirl (hardback / special edition)
Eleanor and Park (paperback)
Landline (paperback / ARC)
Landline (hardback / not dedicated)
After the event we wandered around the city for a while, watched some buskers in Piccadilly Circus, and ended up in Leicester Square. It's like that place has this weird magnetic pull on me because whenever I'm in London I always end up there, even if it's not in the original plan. We then headed to a pretty little restaurant but ended up leaving after half an hour without having ordered any food because the waiter seemed to have forgotten us... so off we went to Pizza Hut instead. I didn't order anything myself, and all I ate that day was two packets of crisps. Anxiety really messes with my eating habits sometimes.
As we were waiting for the tube home, I saw a mouse on the platform. I've been to London a million times but I've only ever seen mice on the tracks. I resisted the urge to run away and instead backed away slowly... and in doing so, I discovered this poster. I fangirled.
If you were paying attention earlier on in the post, you'll know I bought a hardback copy of Rainbow's latest book Landline, but I asked her not to dedicate it. That's because I bought it for...you! This is an international giveaway.
Thanks to Rainbow, the publishers, and Waterstones Piccadilly for hosting such an awesome event!