Few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I will have a chance to meet any of my favorite authors. It’s like just one my bucket list before! Then National Book Store (NBS) started bringing different International Bestselling Authors here in the country and I found myself attending almost every event they organized. Through those events I have not only met some of my favorite author like Gayle Forman but also other International bestselling authors whose books I do read, like Lauren Kate, Lauren Oliver, Tahereh Mafi with Ransom Riggs, Kiera Cass, Melissa De La Cruz, Margaret Stohl, Alyson Noel, Becca Fitzpatrick and a lot more. With that I am very much thankful and grateful to NBS for inviting those authors here in Manila. At least I don’t have to shell out so much money flying abroad just for a chance to meet those talented and lovely authors.
So last Saturday, April 26, 2014 another author meet-up and book signing happened, and I am one of the lucky person who got the chance to meet three international bestselling authors, Ransom Riggs, Tehereh Maffi and Veronica Rossi during the close and private gathering organized by NBS before the public appearance of these three authors in Glorietta 1. Meeting and interviewing/chatting with these talented authors is always a privileged for me. It’s fun, inspiring and memorable!!!
Unlike with Veronica Rossi, this is not my first meeting with Ransom and Tahereh but I am so much excited just like the first time. I didn’t expect to get sleepless night again before the event because of too much excitement. So the day of the event I went early to the venue which is still close when I arrived. I got the number one spot at the signing this time, though I have to say, the person who went to the public signing deserves much acknowledgement. I’ve heard that who ever that person is, he/she was there so early, as in around one in the morning early. And mind you, the event is set to start at 2 in the afternoon, which means he/she waited in line for more or less 13 hours to meet these three authors in person. I don’t know what to say to that. So determined and dedicated!!!
When I drop by at the public signing venue by 10am, I am surprised and overwhelmed by the huge crowd that is already gathering and lining up for the book signing. At that time, I feel so happy because I know that Ransom, Tahereh and Veronica will appreciate how much fans they have here in the Philippines. I’ve heard almost 2000 fans are there and I assume those 2000 plus are just the count of person who lined up to have their books signed and doesn’t include the spectators and fans’ companions, because I saw more than thousand of people during the event. Too bad there’s no way too capture the whole crowd but just check this photo below to have the idea of how many people are there.
So back to the forum. When Ransom, Tahereh, and Veronica arrived at the venue, the event automatically started. Chad, our host that day wasted no time in introducing our lovely guest and proceed with the Q&A right away. Since we have a very limited time, not everyone at the forum got the chance to ask these lovely authors their questions. Lucky me, I got my chance to ask Ransom. Though my original question about the film adaptation and the recently announced open casting for the lead role of his book, Miss Peregrine’s is already asked before my turn, so I have to change question on the spot. Here’s what I asked him:
“We all know that you really collect photos even before you started writing books, maybe there are some photos from Hollow City that came from your old collections, my question is, thus the photos contributed or shaped the story you are writing or you already have the story planned way ahead?”
and here is his answer:
“I didn’t have much of the story planned for the first book before I started writing it. I mean, the photos really guided and shaped the narrative of the book, they are what that inspired me. And then when I get to go to the second book, the story already have this kind of momentum and view that go in a certain way so the photos can’t be the drivers anymore. Somehow the photos is my rocket, it makes me go instead. That was a little harder, keep going, finding photos and working stories rather than painting, you know. I can write many more if I want but I can’t just find the perfect story, that’s a lot harder. It took me a lot longer to write the second book, part of that is I take journey like literally across America meeting with collectors, and going to flee markets, and finding pictures…”
As for the other part of the Q&A, here are some of the few things that I remember while I am at the state of starstruck with these three lovely authors:
Ransom has already read part of the scripts for the movie adaptation of his book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children which will be directed by Tim Burton, and he is very excited with it. He even joke scream “I feel excited!!!” He also told us a little info about the open casting announcement of the film. He even invite us (jokingly of course) saying “if any one of you is 18 and wanna be in the movie…” which we all just laugh. Precious asked him, what photo will he think best represent his books, Miss Peregrine’s and Hollow City which he had a hard time answering. He even say that it will be his homework and asked Precious to tweet him for his final answer. But eventually he said that the photo that will represent his book is a heart – a real heart, beating, pumping and bloody.
Tahereh talked about her writing – how she knows who will end up with Juliet. And how she intentionally make Juliet character weak for readers to see her character growth. Because she was inspired by women who maybe physically weak but mentally strong, and that was she was trying to go for. If she has to choose one character from her books as a confidante she’d choose Kenji because Kenji is actually based from her own brothers whom she loved so much. She also love to be friends with Roar from Veronica’s series and Emma from Ransom’s Miss Peregrine’s series.
Veronica co-authored a new book under the pen name Noelle August, which entitle Boomerang. It actually started from a Skype conversation with her friend and eventually push to writing a full length novel. She had so much fun writing this one which makes the transition from new genre so easy. Compare to her previous series, this NA novel is easier to write for her.
After the Q&A is the book signing where we got the chance to chat to these lovely authors more up-close and personal. It’s really like chatting with friends – light and fun. They even signed the shirts we are wearing that day which are printed with quotes from their books. Ransom is quirky and funny as always. Love this guy! He is enthusiastic and full of energy even with a jet lag. Tahereh is very sweet and adorable while Veronica is especially nice and friendly. It is really a pleasure meeting them up-close. Wish we have more time but the thousands of people are already waiting for them.
Watch this video of Ransom, Tahereh and Veronica as they leave a quick message after the Q&A:
Thank you so much Ransom, Tahereh and Veronica for gracing us with your presence and for sharing us your time, knowledge, and even your life and experiences. You are all become an inspiration to most of us. Thank you also to the publishers who allow these three lovely and talented authors to visit us all the way here in Manila. And a big thanks to National Book Store and partners for organizing a huge event like this. It is another successful event so kudos to everyone who makes this happen. Till next bookish event!