This is how my day went.
I caught the train up to London, arriving early as you do for anything important (those leaves on the line can cause problems when you least expect them :-)). Being early, I’d arranged to meet up with tweeter @Has_Bookpushers to collect our tickets for Charlaine’s evening event so we wouldn’t have to brave the queue later on. Hasna was super and let me drag her off to the nearby Japanese Café (a great place for sushi!) where we had a quick lunch, with a healthy side order of ‘Bookpushers’ Book Chat’!
Then I left Hasna at the cinema where she spent a happy fang-filled afternoon with Edward, Bella and Jacob while they sparkled, loved and growled their way through New Moon. A film high on my Films To Be Watched list #1, so I almost felt green-eyed with jealousy about Hasna’s afternoon plans . . . if it wasn’t that I’d already got a better offer.
‘C’mon, get to the good bit,’ I hear you shouting!!
Right! Well, I waved goodbye to Hasna, walked round the corner into Leicester Square and—
—bumped right into Charlaine Harris!!
Charlaine, along with BFF Paula, and @Jon_Weir (Gollancz’s fantastic publicist #2) were on their way to the BBC for an interview. Jon introduced us all, and we all said some lovely hellos [with me looking rather shell-shocked, apparently :-)] then said we’d all see each other later, and off they went.
Feeling bouncy and happy that I’d actually met Charlaine, I went in the opposite direction to Gollancz’s offices to meet up with the fabulous Jen, whose job it was to look after me (which she did exceptionally well, thanks, Jen :-)). Jen took me to the hotel where I was going to be interviewing Charlaine – a beautiful, classy place in the heart of Covent Garden.
I was to interview Charlaine in the hotel’s ‘Tiffany’s Library’: a snug, wood-panelled room with a roaring fire, heavy floral curtains to keep out the chill, and comfortable, overstuffed furniture that begged you to curl up with one of the Sookie Stackhouse books conveniently left lying around *g*
Once Charlaine arrived back and everything was ready, the film crew positioned both of us strategically too!
Charlaine sat in a cosy chair next to the huge fireplace, while I sat opposite her, with the cameraman and his camera almost perched on my shoulder. Since there was only the one camera, Charlaine was going to be filmed during the interview, while I was to be filmed later. This set-up was quite a relief for the anxious, camera-phobe me and meant I could concentrate on Charlaine and asking the questions. *phew*
First off, Charlaine and I were asked to chat so that the crew could get the sound levels right for recording our voices. Of course, nerves meant I sat there with my list of questions clutched in my hand while my mind short-circuited, but Charlaine put me right at ease when she asked about my two dogs. We talked a bit about them, her own three dogs, and London :-).
Once the crew were happy with the sound levels and had adjusted the various lights, we started the interview. I know my first couple of questions were quite jerky; after all it’s not every day I get to interview an all time favourite author of mine, especially while being recorded. But Charlaine was lovely and very encouraging, and it wasn’t long before I relaxed and began enjoying interviewing her. She gave some really great and fun answers, despite the fact that many of the questions were ones she’d no doubt been asked many times before (like who *is* Sookie going to choose!
Now I would have loved to ask Charlaine all the questions from my blog – many of which I wanted to know the answers myself :-) – but there wouldn’t have been enough time. The questions I did ask (which had been thought up by FX and Gollancz, along with a couple from my blog) were great. There were some general ones about the books, True Blood, and Charlaine and her writing; some about Dead and Gone (the 9th Sookie book); and some about Dead in the Family, (the 10th Sookie book due out in a couple of months, and a fantastic book). And of course, there were questions about Sookie, Eric and Bill— their families, their pasts and their futures!
Which was where it all got very interesting! How do you ask a question, and more importantly how does Charlaine answer, without giving too many spoilers away? Well to find out how, you’ll need to watch the videos of the interview when they go live.
Once the interview was over (all too quickly it seemed :-( ), Charlaine very kindly signed one of her books for me, thanked me for the interview and then hurried off to get ready for her evening event.
Which left me at the mercy of the film crew.
Since the camera had been on Charlaine during the interview, and so that I wasn’t going to be just some disembodied voice asking questions, the crew now wanted to film me! Luckily by this time, I felt so relieved that the interview had gone smoothly, that my camera phobia took a back seat for once. Which was a good thing, as this was where it all got slightly surreal. I ended up sitting on the sofa, and prompted by Jen – who had taken careful notes about my ad-libbing – I asked all the questions again. Then after each question I stared into the eyes of Miles (one of the film crew) while I nodded #4 and smiled and pretended he was Charlaine answering me. Which was sort of fine . . . once I got used to it . . . and he stopped pulling faces at me *giggles*
After all that came the more relaxed part of the day (for me anyway) – Charlaine’s evening event at the Prince Charles Cinema. I met up again with Hasna, and her friend Jen (who took all the pics of the event here – Thanks for letting me use them, Jen :-)), and also said hello to pals @LizUK, @Gergaroth, @jberlyne, met their friend @Esssjay and had a great chat with Michelle, another big fan of Charlaine’s.
The event started around 6.30 with a short clip from an upcoming episode of the fab True Blood series, after which Charlaine took the stage and gave a very interesting and entertaining talk about her books, True Blood, and her writing. Then Charlaine answered the audiences many questions (including the one about whom Sookie might choose . . . and if you were expecting a spoiler . . . well, Charlaine didn’t spill the beans!).
Both the talk and questions were filmed by the same film crew as at the interview, so hopefully there will be a video of the event to look forward to, sometime soon; although I don’t have any insider info on that yet. After the talk and questions, came the book signing for all the audience— which made for a long, long, loooong queue of very patient fans.
And then after a really fabulous day, I said goodbye to everyone and it was time to go home . . .
Sadly I had a camera-fail day, and this is the only picture I have of me with Charlaine, but hey, I look happy :-)
#2 - @Jon_Weir is fab, as anyone who’s met him knows, and is so open to bribes *g* I begged asked him if I could meet Charlaine while she was here – hey, if you’ve got connections, no harm in using ‘em, right? – and he finally said yes when I promised to Tuckerise him in my next book . . . so long as he could be hot, hunky and heroic (not that he isn’t already ) Of course, I said yes! And he’s even keen to die horribly, like hot, hunky heros are want to do . . . when evil authors let their imagination run away with them. *cackles* A win-win situation for me .
#3 - Before my own interview with her, Charlaine had been to the BBC, done a phone interview with a magazine, and also filmed a piece with Sky TV. She’d already had a very busy day (not to mention a busy week!) but she answered every question with such thoughtfulness and humour that you’d never have known.
ETA: Here's the link to the BBC interview Charlaine did that day :-)
#4 - Which will explain why I might occasionally have this weird look on my face and why I’m doing a good impersonation of one of those nodding dogs you see staring out at you from the back window of the car in front