Monday, June 29, 2015

Our fan-girl experience at the Seattle tour stop.

We've been posting these on our other site, but we decided to preserve this experience for Daemons Domain, since it was such a special and personal weekend for us.

Ferry ride into downtown Seattle.
Pictured above is beautiful Seattle.  We were really fortunate that this tour stop was during the dry season (June, July, August, and most of September)!  One of us has lived in the area for over 10 years, so for her it was quite a different experience to get the 'tourist's eye-view' of her adopted city.  It was especially fun to take another Daemon along for the ride!  All of Saturday was spent traipsing around the downtown area.  We started at the Ferry docks, made our way through the market and wound up on the opposite side of town at the Seattle Center.  There was also a glimpse of another fictional hero's home! We didn't see Mr. Grey, but we did get a peek at the craning our necks really far back!
Escala - Downtown Seattle
Click to enlarge

On Sunday the 14th of June, the final scheduled stop of Deb's traveling road show was in Lake Forest Park, WA.  We battled Seattle traffic to make it there on time!  We did, with 10 minutes to spare!  If it tells you anything, we left with an hour 'cushion' time.  Yes.  The traffic in the area is that bad!  It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and there were many excited fans at Third Place Books—several of whom traveled some really long distances!  Deb's mood matched the day - sunny and warm!

We also got a lot of our stash signed!  Our 'stash', dear readers, is how we are able to offer frequent giveaways!  The U.S. publishers have been very generous, and we keep an eye out for the U.K. publications through online book clearinghouses.  We also have great partners that we work with in order to compile wonderful packages.  This year, we have some awesome prizes tucked away in our closets!  It is getting to the point where our significant others are looking at us sideways though.  Closet space is valuable real estate!  We digress.  Onward!

Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA.
 Summary of the talk:

Deb at the podium at Third Place Books.

Our author opened up with an overview of the journey covered in A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night.  We had a good number of attendees who had not yet read The Book of Life (lots of enthusiastic newbies!) so specifics about The Book of Life were avoided.  Deb mesmerized the audience with a reading of the opening passages of The Book of Life.  It was lovely to spend a little time with Philippe.

Deb stressed that time travel wasn't a gimmick. It was a way of highlighting the  importance of history in modern day life.  Matthew and Diana had to go to the past to learn important things about themselves and each other in order to grow and flourish as a couple.  The cusp of  the 17th century had to be the backdrop for Shadow of Night because it was the era when science made magic go away.  The settings of the trilogy, both past and present, were her way of bringing readers into the academic world.  It was her love letter to libraries, librarians, and researchers in a way.

 The first fifty pages of TBOL were a struggle for Deb.  She wrote the opening from 10 different points of view (including Corra's!) before she settled on the opening we all love.  She also divulged that she wrote the start of the book at Hedgebrook across the sound on Whidbey Island, WA. 

She revealed that she definitely has more tales to tell.  She loves fiction!  She has a number of "squirming puppies" and she'll probably spend the next six months sorting through them before she settles on a theme for her next story. 

The Q&A offered up some great tidbits touching on the trilogy and aspects of Deb's life.

As a professor, she uses fiction as part of her syllabus at USC.  She doesn't use any of her books, fiction or non-fiction, because her students have the source - her.  She's used Umberto Eco, J.K. Rowling and Arthur Miller in the past.

Fun fact: John Dee's library was rescued from a pie maker who was using the parchment as rudimentary "non stick cookware".

Deb related some stories about her academic colleagues' reactions to her decision to write fiction.  Her response to inquiries about using a pen name was the best: Women writers had been forced to use "Anonymous" for centuries hiding their identities and gender. She wasn't about to take a giant step backwards and hide behind a pseudonym. One of her favorite parts of academic conferences is when colleagues sidle up to her during breaks and tell her, in hushed tones, about their fictional forays, one of which involved a librarian and her magical cat.

The next question was whether there was a caste system in place for the vampire society depicted in AST.  Deb explained it as a society where there were responsibilities rather than rights.  Society was predicated on a life of service.  Everyone had a role.  Some people fought; some worked; some prayed. It was symbiotic and modeled on medieval society's ideas of family.  Family wasn't determined by blood relationships and much as proximity and affinity.  Practically speaking, living under the same roof defined a family.

When asked why she didn't have Shakespeare engaged directly with the main characters and chose to feature Marlowe instead, she pointed out that because of her deep respect for history she wouldn't change the known facts.  In this case, it was a known fact that Marlowe and Roydon were friends.  There was no evidence that Shakespeare and Roydon had crossed paths. She also pointed out that Shakespeare wasn't Shakespeare yet.  He was a struggling playwright looking to make a name for himself in 1590-91.   In the signing line, Deb confided that Gallowglass' tales may have inspired "A Midsummer's Night Dream", "The Tempest" and "Hamlet".

When asked about her writing style, Deb called herself a "driver" rather than an "outliner". She knows her starting point, some major landmarks, and her destination.  She doesn't know her "route".  It's her practice to write at least 2 pages a day. Her favorite part of the process is when something "clicks", and she has that moment of clarity.  She also somewhat sheepishly admitted to enjoying the revisions process on her fiction project.

In response to a question regarding other vampire families and whether Deb has "become acquainted" with them, she indicated we had "met" several of them, specifically identifying Domenico and Gerbert as the head of prominent vampire families.

Speaking of families, Deb gave us some insight to her family history, sharing that she came from a long line of  Scottish dissenters who were invited to leave for the colonies.  She also alluded to Daniel Shay and Shay's Rebellion. Marcus and Gallowglass were both reflect aspects of Deb's family history.

Concluding our awesome day:

The signing line was a highlight, as always.  We got to visit with old friends, make new ones, and try, mostly unsuccessfully, to get Deb to give us hints on the million little mysteries that make up the  de Clermont and Bishop family histories.   We bid Deb a farewell (until next time!) and went on to close out our adventure.

We had dinner with the lovely Ginger from All Souls Pod, had some drinks, and then put her on the plane to back to California—carrying an over-sized cardboard poster of the "The Book of Life"—we're glad the airline didn't hassle her!  And as we understand it, Laura of All Souls Con has it now, safely in her possession.

After we got home, we had some FaceTime with our partner in this endeavor — we'll call her the "Maven Daemon" of Chicagoland.  We discussed our weekend, how we would cover this event, and made plans for the launch of this very site.  We also had a discussion about our other projects in the works! Very productive!  We can't wait to share exactly what we discussed!  In time, friends.  In time.  :-)

What a great weekend!   By the way, if you are visiting the Seattle area and wander into Pike's Place Market, we recommend The Pink Door.  The food was wonderful, and the atmosphere was delightfully daemonic!

Until next time,
feed your daemons.

P.S. There is one last stop on Deb's tour:
July 8 – 7:00 pm
Pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, California
For more information, see Deb's FB announcement
Keep an eye on Deb's event calendar for detail updates on this rescheduled event.

P.P.S. If you didn't make it to a signing, we recommend watching this video (recorded at Politics and Prose in Washington D.C.): Watch Deb's talk at Politics and Prose