This past weekend was the Decatur Book Festival in GA. I planned to attend the festival with my cousin, a fellow-lover of all things Cassandra Clare. Cassandra was appearing on Sunday, and the two of us did happy dances at the thought of meeting the goddess of Shadowhunters and Downworlders; however, life got in the way. My cousin was not able to attend, and my grading stack for the weekend was ever-increasing. A decision had to be made...travel four hours alone to meet Cassandra or grade? Hmmm...that seems to be an easy one, except the idea of traveling alone four hours from home was not ideal for me. Initially I decided not to attend. That was Friday (I was suppose to leave Saturday morning).
Saturday morning arrived and I really wanted to go to meet Cassandra. Not only do I love her books but also my students love her books as well. I had to make it happen...so, I coerced my hubby to tag along with our five-year-old. This would mean a great sacrifice on his part, having to keep up with said five-year-old while I got my Cassandra love on! And so we were off: 7PM Saturday night.
A lovely four-hour trip in the dark, arriving in GA around 1AM their time, and a nice, comfy hotel bed. Sunday morning arrived and we were off! Arriving at the Decatur Book Festival around 11 or so, we walked around in, meeting up with a friend, and began exploring. Lets just say the Decatur Book Festival was full of delicious smells, sales, and everything in between.
Cassandra Clare spoke for 45 minutes (1:15-2PM) and did NOT disappoint. She was amazing! She was greeted by a cheer from her fans; she was rewarded with gasps and claps from the audience when she announced she was reading from City of Fallen Angels, and she was pelted with a variety of questions. She handled all of those questions with grace - she is just a natural with her fans. If anyone was born to write and meet/greet fans, it is Cassandra!
One fan asked what advice Cassandra had for aspiring writers: READ! Read to write. Read outside of your preferred genre. Read ten books a week (okay, not really her advice, she was quoting Stephen King). Just...READ! Reading is the best way to write.
At the conclusion of her speaking engagement it was time for the signing. Many of her avid fans rushed to the doors and raced across the street. Other avid fans, like myself, weren't too sure where she was signing and stood for a moment trying to figure it out. MISTAKE! This one precious mistake resulted in a 2-hour wait in line. Of course it was worth it. I mean, I traveled four hours to just see and meet her!
While in line I meet two women that were also teachers (and, as it turns out, faux Edward fans). I knew I was in good company when one of them took out a 6" faux Edward doll to take pictures of. YES, that is correct. They were taking pics of faux Edward waiting in the massive line. As we crept along in line, we spoke about all the awesomeness that is reading. All the awesomeness that is sharing what we read with our students. Kindred spirits while waiting for Cassandra Clare - you betcha!
The reason the wait was two hours (besides the fact that Cassandra is AWESOMENESS!): she spoke to every fan, posed for pics, etc. By the time I reached her, literally two hours later, she was still smiling, still cordial, still willing to take a moment and speak to fans. That long line did not seem to frazzle her for a moment, even though she too was dripping with sweat.
She seemed genuinely surprised to know that I have many male students that are fans of her books. I told her it was a male student, Corey Morelli, who encouraged me to read her books. She wanted me to say hello to those male students. Too cool!!! I did forget to mention to her, you know, because I was so excited to finally be in her presence, that my husband too is a fan of her books! He seemed a little bummed that I forgot to tell her. Oh well, that's what Twitter is for ;-)
The result of my trip to the Decatur Book Festival: three new reading t-shirts and hearing/seeing/meeting Cassandra Clare. Decatur Book Festival, I cannot wait to visit again next year.