On Monday, I had the pleasure of being able to attend a signing for Sarah J Maas’s new book, A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR). It was held in the Congregational Church in Madison, CT and was hosted by RJ Julia bookstore. The event was initially going to be held in the bookstore itself, but the coordinators soon realized that the event was going to be too large so they wisely moved it to a larger location. Which was necessary because they filled a church with Sarah J Maas fans.
The signing was at 6 PM. My husband and I arrived at the church about 5:10. Doors were set to open at 5:15. There was already a huge line to get into the church when we arrived. Most of the attendees were high school aged and were attended by their parents. Some might have been early college. Some of us were a little bit older than that. It astounded me how many people showed up to this little town in CT for a book signing. I am a high school English teacher and I was so excited to see so many teenagers that excited about what they were reading. As a teacher, my goal is to foster a love of reading in my students. It was incredible for me to see high school aged kids vibrating with excitement because they’re about to meet one of their favorite authors. The excitement was palpable and it was great to be a in a crowd that had a shared interest in books. People were talking across pews to people they’ve never met before. I made a new teacher friend in a pew in front of me and I even met my British counterpart. It was an incredible time. There were even a group of people who cosplayed as Feyre, Rhys and Mor from ACOWAR. Their costumes were amazing and it is so cool that people cosplay as book characters. I now have a new goal. I’m kind of hoping this trend takes off so that at future BookCons people will start cosplaying. I could get into that.
Enough of the English teacher/book nerd talk though. Let’s get down to the real reason why you’re reading this. How was the event itself? Despite having so many people, the staff at RJ Julia kept everything running very smoothly. The price of admission was a purchase of ACOWAR. You were allowed to have one book signed and another book stamped, which was fair enough considering the amount of people at the event. The event started about ten minutes late and Sarah J Maas answered questions for about 40 minutes before the signing started. Now, I am a huge fan of Sarah’s work. I read Throne of Glass when it first came out and I brought my first edition copy with me to get signed. I devour everything that she writes and both of her series have the distinction of being the only series I actually keep current on. If you know me at all, you know what a big deal that is. Despite loving some book series, I never manage to actually bother to read the books right when they come out. I always tend to be one book behind, at least. Not so with her books. I read them the day they come out. I own several copies of all of them. Obviously, this event was extremely exciting for me and I was hoping that Sarah would be a wonderful person and not just a wonderful author. Thankfully, she is.
The author Q&A session was a wonderful time and even if I wasn’t able to get my book signed, it would have been worth the hour drive to get there. She talked about her adorable dog Annie, how much of a nerd she is, and answered some question about the future of her books. She has a new book in the Throne of Glass world coming out in September called Tower of Dawn that I initially wasn’t excited about at all because to me it just seemed like a side plot about a character that isn’t one of my favorites and I really want to know what happens to the main character. Don’t make me wait another year because of this book! I had opinions. Last night completely changed my mind. Her excitement about this book was contagious. She wrote it in five days and it is a massive book. Probably close to about 700 pages. Now I can’t wait until I can have the book in my hands. I’m also pretty sure Sarah J Maas and I could be great friends because she spent a good ten minutes talking about how amazing her dog is and how if she was any character in any of her books, she would be Fleetfoot the dog. This is a woman after my own heart.
She also offered what I thought was fabulous advice to aspiring writers. She said that when someone tells you that you can’t do it, you say “watch me”. She says the minute you listen to people telling you that you can’t, they win. She also went on to say that it is also about the hustle. You need to sit your butt down every day and write. Put effort into it. Don’t say that you’re going to write a book someday. Write a book today. Treat writing like it’s your job. All first drafts are garbage. Write it anyways.
The signing itself took a little while, I was at the back of the line but everything moved smoothly and no one seemed to have any issues. It was fun watching people walking away from the signing hugging their signed books and smiling like crazy; some of them even had tears in their eyes. It’s so inspiring to see people that passionate about what they’re reading. Eventually, I got my turn to meet Sarah. I am a socially awkward person, so I’m not going to lie, I was shaking a bit. I brought a picture of my adorable husky Rowan to show her because he’s named after a character in her books and she made the adorable aww noise. I also showed her my wedding photos where my husband and I used Throne of Glass and she said she was honored that we used her book. I also had her sign my first edition copy of Throne of Glass, which has the original cover art. She called it the “cheerleader Barbie” cover, which is definitely an accurate description. I do much prefer the new covers, but there’s something special about having the first edition signed. It will now sit on my shelf forever, never again to be touched.
Overall, it was an amazing event and it was well worth the hour drive to get there and the three hours spent at the signing itself. I’ve met Sarah once before briefly at BookCon when she signed a Litographs poster so it was nice to meet her again in a slightly less crazy environment. I would definitely go to another signing held by RJ Julia in the future and if I ever got the chance to see Sarah J Maas in person again, I wouldn’t hesitate.
**This guest post is brought to you by Sharon Muir.**