There are no words... Okay, there are plenty. Last week I went to Ann Arbor and (after getting lost - what is with university cities?) Smithy and I ended up sitting in the back row of Lauren Willig's book signing - and I will never be the same again.
Firstly, her new book The Mischief of the Mistletoe is out - I won my copy from Passages from the Past - and it is currently on its way to me (Squeal!) so while I didn't get it signed, I still have it! I encourage everyone to go and buy it - Smithy got three copies while there (one for her, her mom and her cousin) and there are a few goodies latched onto it: (1) an awesome recipe for Christmas pudding - which Smithy and I are totally using our first week of exams when we have our regency Christmas party; and, (2) the rejected intro that can be found here (Willig tried to include it in the published book itself, but apparently no one has a sense of humour ...).
I am eagerly awaiting my copy and am living vicariously through Smithy's raised eyebrows and chuckles ...
Anyways, onto the book signing:
By the time we got there, we were a tad frazzled and the first thing we saw was this absolutely beautiful vibrant red dress. And I thought, Aw someone dressed up! Why didn't I dress up!? Then I realized the person in the dress was Lauren Willig. Oh, giddiness!
Smithy and I scrambled for a seat, and eagerly awaited the talk - all the while quoting from the books clutched in our hands. Then I tried my camera. Bloody hell, the batteries died (rechargeable my hiney). So I spent a good half hour trying to strategize how to get the batteries from the Rite Aid in order to take pictures (this kills me, so much... btw that is a spoiler alert). Anyways, the talk was great - Lauren Willig is probably one of the most approachable, funny, interesting authors I have ever encountered! She was friendly, laughing and rambling on, putting me at ease. I had a million questions - but I hadn't the guts yet to raise my hand.
She read the intro (go to the link, read it - trust, it is worth it! I printed it out and I am going to stick it in the book when it comes), had us all laughing, then explained how the book came to be - that is, how Turnip, her almost anti hero - the best friend, funny man guy - how he got a book of his own. And she went into this interesting discourse that basically boiled down to this: Turnip wanted his own story.
Now, all the non writers out there (fan girls excluded) might not understand this, but it is a very relevant thing: characters, when they truly get to the heart of you, have their own say. They are alive in a very real way - even if it's only in your head sometimes. And to have her vocalize it - talk about Turnip as if he were real, it was an amazing thing, and I felt instantly in awe of the way she uses words.
(I am making myself so jealous of the readers of Mistletoe right now ...)
That's another reason I can appreciate her work: what she chooses to write about - be it the "bitchy prom queen" or the "sardonic regency potential bad guy" - or the bumbling best friend, she brings her characters to life more then usual, because they're more realistic - they're not perfect specimens of humanity - they can be useless, curious, cautious, and have their stupid moments. They can be mean, rough and bitchy without reason - and there is something tantalizing in that.
And it makes me want to read more.
She then read some more (yay!) out of Mischief - the first part where Turnip is introduced, delivering his sister's Christmas basket to her at boarding school - amid hordes of flighty young females that scare him witless.
May I just say that I was red with laughter? I would prove it but ...
Now here is the sad part: my camera ate the photos. No, you have no idea. I nearly cried. I think I still might. And I thought Smithy would kill me - though she was actually way gracious and nice about it.
We waited in line, getting all sorts of excited, and when we reached her, she was so nice - she recognized my name from when I posted on her blog (very stalker-ish, I told her I would see her the next day in Ann Arbor - Why do I allow myself to post things without supervision?), and we told her that Smithy and I were Jaded 3Ls and writers - and she was so fantastic about encouraging us. She truly is one in a million! :)
Again, one last word - seriously, do yourself a favour - pick these books up - it is an amazing series, and though the next one (after the Orchid Affair) only come pout in 2012 (I know, kill me right?) - it is worth the wait!
Also - another last word: The COVERS! ARE THEY NOT TO DIE FOR????
Nov 9 2010 7:00 pm
'Tis the season to get Pink! Lauren Willig's beloved Pink Carnation series gets into the holiday spirit with this irresistible Regency Christmas caper.
Arabella Dempsey's dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson's Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls' school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies...
Reginald "Turnip"Fitzhugh-often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation- has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, "Meet me at Farley Castle," the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens'modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of Dovedale, where the Dowager Duchess is hosting the most anticipated event of the year: an elaborate twelve-day Christmas celebration. Will they find poinsettias or peril, dancing or danger? Is it possible that the fate of the British Empire rests in Arabella's and Turnip's hands, in the form of a festive Christmas pudding?
About the Author
Lauren Willig is the author of six previous Pink Carnation novels. She has a graduate degree in English history from Harvard and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, though she now writes full time. Willig lives in New York City.