Tonight I leave on my third trip of the month, this one to World Fantasy. The weird thing is, it’s the first time this month I’ll be flying on my own dime; the first trip was my GoH gig at Sirens, and the second . . . last weekend, my publisher sent me here:
About a stone’s throw from the Kodak Theatre, no less. But it isn’t nearly as exciting as you think.
I was not there to meet with a high-powered Hollywood producer about how they want to pay me lots of money to film one of my books. I was there, instead, for the Southern California Independent Booksellers’ Association annual meeting. This is an industry event that brings writers in to schmooze over dinner with staff from local independent bookstores. I’d never done one before, so it was interesting; the authors got fed beforehand, so we wouldn’t have to choose between talking and eating (or end up talking with our mouths full), and then during everybody else’s meal we got shuttled from table to table, chatting up the people there.
Serendipity was my friend at this event. Not on the travel side — two-hour flight delay on the way there, three-hour on the way back, for a flight that’s a little more than an hour long — but with the new friends I made. I got to the hotel just in time to fling myself into nicer clothing and run downstairs, whereupon I got my registration and stood trying to catch my breath, wondering if I would have anything other than the basics in common with the other writers there. (They come from all corners of publishing, nonfiction as well as fiction, children’s picture books to adult.) But lo, I was not standing a full minute before I heard the phrase “historical fiction” come from two women nearby.
I drifted closer.
Then I heard Newton’s name.
I drifted closer still.
Ended up with two new friends. One was a writer of historical fiction, Laurel Corona, who’s bopped all around the timeline even more than I have; her most recent book, Penelope’s Daughter, is set in Homeric Greece, and her next involves an eighteenth-century mathematician, Émilie du Châtelet. The other, Deborah Harkness, is (if memory serves) a professor of history whose debut novel A Discovery of Witches will be coming out soon; it’s about a researcher at the Bodleian Library who comes across an alchemical manuscript that gets her into all sorts of trouble. Oh, and Deborah’s a giant Tudor geek, too.
Nah, we didn’t have anything to talk about.
Best part was, Deborah was at my third table, and so were two women currently reading her novel and loving it. And the table host was a big SF/F fan. So I spent the dessert course geeking about alchemy and how Newton was a complete jackass. Friends, this is what we call success.
Anyway, that was my Hollywood adventure. Now I go off to the much colder environs of Columbus, Ohio. Send me warm thoughts . . . .