I think it’s safe to say that Kelly and I are still living on cloud nine! We are so grateful for the opportunity to sit down to tea with Susan Dennard and Erin Bowman. Surprisingly I survived the day as I had spent all weekend at ALA Mid Winter 2016 and took the 6 P.M. bus to NY and got in at 11.
Monday January 11th, I met Kelly and her cousin Heather (@hdauub1) at noon and we headed towards Books of Wonder. Well actually we stopped at Starbucks because I didn’t have my coffee for the morning. It was a good thing we went to Books of Wonder first because we got good numbers for the signing line. We picked up our books and then it was off to the Strand bookstore!
If you’ve never been to The Strand in NY before, they’re known for having some great titles at a discounted price. We dropped our stuff and basically squatted in the YA section looking at books. Surprisingly Heather and I were able to walk away without buying anything! Due to being crunched for time, Kelly was able to only walk away 3 books! Rebel Spring and Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes as well as Redeemed by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast.
We sped walked back towards Argo Tea, which is a great little cafe on Broadway and 23rd. We were able to grab 2 tables by the entrance that gave us a lot of space. As Kelly and Heather got their tea. I sat with our stuff constantly looking out the window until finally I saw Susan and Erin walking. It was so surreal seeing them outside of an event and a wonderful feeling to greet them like friends I hadn’t seen in awhile. After hugs all around, Erin and I got in line to grab tea and we got to chat about Baby Bowman, WIPs, and what I’d been up to since I last saw her.
While Melissa and Erin were in line, Heather and I got to chat with Sooz about her stay in NYC, publishing, and the craziness of her tour. It was so much fun chatting with her and not really having to talk business. I had met her before, but never on such a personal level, where we could just sit down with some tea and chat. Needless to say, Sooz is AMAZING. I honestly adore this woman from the bottom of my heart for even coming to tea with us, let alone staying and having some normal, everyday conversations with us. She really takes the time to make sure everyone in her life, even her street team, feels loved and important.
After getting teas and settling in, it was time to shower Sooz with all of her gifts! As leaders of the Earth and Aether Clan, Kelly and I were able to gather things from our clan members and compile it into a big gift. Of course our clans also requested we get documentation of Susan’s reactions, so with her permission we got to take video reactions! Sooz will probably tell you that she lost it, but she kept it together pretty well compared to the appreciation videos we sent her a few months back. Kelly went first with a huge care package from the Earth Clan.
I honestly thought I was going to be freaking out or something when I met with Sooz and gave her Earth Clan’s gifts. I believed I would be so nervous, but all I really felt was this need to make this wonderful woman happy! So I handed the card to her first with a long note and all of the Earth Clan’s names signed on the back, which got the ball rolling. You all know how emotional Sooz gets, right? We promise, we really do love you! Below are the videos that I spent a few days looking at over and over again, filled with disbelief that it was me who was sitting next to Sooz. How did I become this person?!
I was a bit nervous because the first gift was a personal one from me to her. One of the Heists challenged each clan member to recreate the cover image. I presented her with the one I handmade and framed it for her. When she told me she would hang it in her office I was elated and kept my composure even though I was screaming on the inside.
She was surprised to get another gift bag from me, but I said well of course this one’s from the whole clan! She was shocked and overwhelmed with the details we put into our pages of the scrapbook. I apologize I didn’t take pictures of the scrapbook itself, but my girls put so much thought into it. A few of us made sure to include all of her fandoms (Zelda, Sailor Moon, Avatar the Last Airbender, Fallout, Anastasia, etc). Sooz was truly grateful to just take a day moment to sit with us and celebrate the release of her book because she had been so busy.
We have to give a HUGE shout out to Erin for joining us! You were such a great help to Sooz by organizing gifts and taking some back with her to the hotel when she left to meet Alex Bracken. Thank you so much for also taking time out of your schedule to sit and have a casual conversation with us. You are so kind and thoughtful. It truly made us feel special.
Once our gifts were given, we spent a little more time with Sooz before she left to go meet with Tor (Tor! TOR! What?! I feel so famous). We made the trek back to Books of Wonder where we ended up having a Hunger Games race to get seats up front. Legitimately, they told us to get out of the way while they set up seats, and once they told us that we could sit down, it was a fight to the death for that front row! We were supposed to be saving seats for about 16 of us who were in a group chat for the event. That was unfortunately not going to happen! We did end up meeting up with just about everyone though and it was awesome! Not only did we get to meet a few other Clan Leaders, but we met with some pretty amazing bloggers, clan members, and friends as well. I love spending time with all of you and getting to know you more at each and every event! You guys are such amazing people, and we couldn’t ask for better friends to share our passion and time with.
The talk itself was pretty awesome, though short because of all the people who needed books signed. We didn’t record it, so we have no questions and answers for you, but next time you get these three women in the same panel, you all need to go and see the chemistry for yourselves! Also, thank goodness we got there early to get low numbered tickets! That line was over 130 people long! Melissa, myself, and Heather were numbers 10-12, and as Melissa went first, we gave Sooz her final present from the Clan Leaders, which was her own Witchlander shirt with “Empress” written on the back. She didn’t cry that time, though we forewarned her! =)
Overall, this experience was really an incredible one, and a great day spent with true friends. We had such a blast walking around NYC, meeting Sooz, Erin, and Alex, and attending this event. Even the train ride home, which Heather, Jana, and myself took together, was an adventure. Thank you to everyone who made this day so special. You all helped to make this day a wonderful memory.