This past Thursday, I made the 4.5 hours drive down to Miami, FL for Lauren Kate's signing for her latest release, Passion, which came out this past Tuesday. A lot of my co-workers couldn't understand why I would drive nine hours in a day to meet an author and have her sign my books. The biggest reason I have for driving that far for a signing is that the Orlando area doesn't get nearly as many signings as other areas of the Southeast. We don't have that many indie bookstores, and those we do have do not have the presence that many indies do in other areas. We're mostly surrounded by chains. And I think the crazy touristy part of Orlando might frighten some people away. So anyway, the drive didn't feel nearly as long as I thought it would (except when we hit rush hour traffic in Miami). The drive back, on the other hand, was mayhem. Mapquest wanted us to take I-195 East for 198 miles, instead of staying on I-95, which would basically lead us into the ocean. So I made the executive decision to stay on I-95 and we got home just fine.
So on to the actual event! We arrived really early, so I purchased a copy of Passion and then we walked a couple blocks to get some Starbucks. And stop at an ATM because I didn't have any cash for the parking garage. Oops. We still had some time to kill, so we tried reading, but as more and more people showed up the noise became too much for me so I settled for games on my iPhone. And then Lauren Kate walked in and the event started. There were a lot of people (the staff had to add more chairs), but it still felt very intimate due to the layout of the bookstore. Lauren started off the evening with an anecdote from when she met Lucinda Williams, who influenced her character Luce. Although she had brought a copy of Fallen to the meal, she never thought she would actually tell Lucinda Williams about the novel, but her husband talked her into it. She was really surprised when Lucinda took the novel and started reading it right there. It was a pretty cool story.
Then Lauren read an excerpt from Passion. I'm not sure which chapter it was, since I have not started reading it yet, but it was a very interesting chapter. The chapter took place in Halston, and is basically the prologue of Fallen from present day Daniel's perspective. It was great to revisit that scene and learn more about what was happening. Lauren also enjoyed being able to read an excerpt that wasn't the prologue. She explained that for Fallen and Torment, she couldn't read anything but the prologue because they were the only scenes that didn't really build off of earlier scenes. But the departure taken in Passion, where every chapter is its own little story in a sense allowed her to pick a scene besides the prologue to read.
Next, was the Q & A. Lauren answered a number of questions from readers. A fellow blogger from Miami posted a number of the questions on twitter under the hashtag #All4Love. My favorite questions involved learning more about how she researched angels for the novel, and how she got to mold her own angel lore because a lot of the information she found was contradicting. We also learned that Passion is her favorite novel of the series, and that Cam was supposed to be the bad guy, but his character grew and changed throughout the writing process and she grew to love him.
Afterwards, we lined up to get our books signed. And we also got a bottle of nail polish. The choices were white, pale pink, hot pink, and red. I chose hot pink and gave it to Christen, since I'm not really a nail polish person. Lauren signed very quickly, but still took the time to take pictures and talk with each fan. When it was my turn, she commented that she really enjoyed Memphis (I had on my Memphis Zoo t-shirt). I also mentioned my blog, and was stunned to find out that she had heard of and seen it before! I never expected that because I had never contacted her, just posted my review of Fallen back in 2009. A couple employees at Books & Books asked for a business card after they heard I had a blog because they like to work with bloggers as well (although they were very surprised to find out I was from the Orlando area). All in all, this was a great event and I can't wait to read Passion.