The time it was standing room only

Posted May 15, 2013 by Stacee in Signings | 0 Comments

I wasn’t planning on going to the Joe Hill signing. One of the guys from MG, Rob, would always mention the signing when I was at the store for other events. My answer was always that I would try to make it, but I’m not sure I ever actually meant it.

And then, at one of the events, Michelle also started telling me how I had to attend. She even took it one step further by buying me a copy of  Locke and Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft. I caved and on the day the book [and tickets] went on sale, I called the store to get a signing ticket. I was number 34.

I got down to Mysterious Galaxy around 5pm, but didn’t go in right away. I had a book to finish, so I stayed in the car and watched people go in and out of the store. Intending to just peek my head in, I walked into the store just before 5:30. Not only was the event area set up, but there was several people already sitting down. I was able to get a second row seat and proceeded to wait.

It quickly became standing room only while people waited and by 6:15, there were people everywhere.

Joe got to the store around 6:30 and left to do an interview/podcast with someone who was in the crowd. He came back to the store just before 7 and we for started right away.

Talked about starting a drive-thru window at MG. You go up to the window and say you’d like a full order of sci-fi with a side of fantasy. Get the bag and your order is filled with books.

Normally reads a portion of the book and  then does a Q&A until he sees the glazed look on the faces of the crowd.

License plate is a German word for vampire. You meet the bad guy right away at a bad time in his life. Uses children to sustain his youth. Victoria also has a special ride. The two do find themselves in opposition over decades and many miles of road.

Ready to talk about writing or his graphic novels. Relationships. Politics. Where the Red Sox will end up. If no one asks, he’ll ask questions. Like what is the capital of Guatemala?

If you’re not confident in your knowledge of maritime history and your answer, you better ask a question.

Why use the term “gorks”?

I talked to an doctor and that was their answer.

What year is the Triumph?

Vic has a 1958, like Steve McQueen. Or Evel Knievel before he was getting paid to jump Harleys. Planned to do the entire tour in an Evel Knievel suit, but his brother asked how will the crowd know he was supposed to be Evel and not fat Elvis.

What is the genesis of story, especially the title?

By the end of the tour, will come up with an awesome origin story. A friend was fixing Triumph. Spent 2 weeks holding wrenches. Got idea about a girl and an awesome bike. 700 pages later… New Hampshire people are really weird about vanity plates. Everyone has one.

Favorite part of Locke and key?

On going comic series. Wrote comics before novels. Was asked “do you ever dream of guys in tights?”  Answer was: every night. Pitched baby hulk, but they said no. Pitched the mansion with different keys. They said no, but he kept thinking about it, even when buying diapers at 11pm.

Told British publisher [I think this is what was said. Joe talks fast.] about his great idea. Could tell the entire story in 6 issues, they bought that shit. And he’s just finishing after 40 issues. Most satisfying was killing everyone off [laughs].

Sparrow is a stand alone and it’s a tribute to Calvin and Hobbes.

Going back to getting diapers at 11pm, you never realize how punch drunk you’ll be after having kids. Pulled into Walgreens one night and everything is hallucinogenic. Loud speaker goes off, announcing  LUNCH MEAT is 50% OFF. Walking around the store saying lunch meat.  Said it in front of a lady and then ran out after she appeared to be scared. Got into the wrong car and after it wouldn’t start, figured it would be the woman’s car. By then she would have called the cops because it started with him talking about his lunch meat.

The time I almost went to jail.

How much of a hand picking the narrator in audio books?

Picked the person who recorded for NOS4A2. She read another story in a compilation and loved it. Emotionally smart and funny. Always wants Stephen Lang when it’s a male protagonist. Kate when it’s female. They can take a good story and make it better.

Any interest from Hollywood?

Second story is Horns. Character, Ig, is accused of killing his girlfriend. Gets drunk, goes to sleep cursing God. Wakes up with horns and all of the power of the devil.

Was filmed last year. Stars Daniel Radcliffe. Hasn’t seen it, just clips. Read the script in several stages and thinks it captures everything. Daniel is perfect for the part and loves to see Harry Potter struggle.

Make a lot of references of pop culture and self references. Will the the characters ever reappear?

One novel shadows the other. Best to address it. Heart Shaped BoxHorns — boom box with Jude’s Hammer playing. Ig and Merrin — treehouse of the mind — NOS4A2

Usually the story that is told is the one that needs to be told. If it needed to be done, it would have been done in the original story.

Locke and Key is episodic. On purpose.

Charlie Manx will have a 5 issue comic that tells before the novel.  And more uses for Maggie.

Planning another read along on twitter?

One reviewer said they were surprised that there was enough time off twitter to write 700 page book. All tweets would be a stupid book. Previous read along was called The Big Read Along and everyone read Moby Dick.

What’s easier to write? The internal struggle of characters or the concept?

You know how Juicy fruit for the first 15 seconds is the best ever. Then like chewing an eraser. Cares about character. Needs a character to root for. Always gets asked why give away the killer in Horns on page 60. More interested in who are they than who done it. Character not concept.

[There was a question about a novella called Gunpowder, but I didn’t get it.  Or the answer]

Speed round:

Do you dream these books?: no

Harry Potter fan. Very influenced by JK? Harry should have hooked up with Luna, that’s the only misstep in the series.

em>Naming character?  Sound like a human name. Don’t think about it. Just flings on the page.

Discipline for writing: it’s a job. Do it every day.

Want to work with other people’s things? Like Doctor Who? Other characters would be fun to play with.

When writing do you think in terms of comic books? Very comic book style imagination.

Loved the interview with Scalzi any plans on working together? Choking Scalzi? Eating him? I didn’t hear the questions.

When writing books do things surprise you? One thing in NOS4A2 did. And if it surprised him, knew it would surprise readers.

How did you come up with Endscapes? Explored extensively in NOS4A2. The idea that people live with their feet in 2 worlds. One in the real world, the other is a private world of thought where imagination is physics. Imagination powerful enough to split the words and bring over.

Keith Richards heard a lick in his head, plays it on guitar and a couple months later, everyone else has it in their head.

At SDCC last year at signing panel and no one was in line for you. Are you amazed how fan base has grown?

Fucking amazing. Do you realize that Iron Man 3 playing down the street. Do you know how many fun cat videos are on the Internet? Anyone who shows up for a reading or event where someone talks about words on a page is worth their weight in gold.

Before we left the store to line up, Joe took a picture of the crowd for twitter.

They lined us up just before 8 and in numerical order. There were so many people, we were let into the store 25 at a time.

I spent time trying to edit this monstrosity of a post [and yet, it still looks like this] and tried not to have conversations with strangers.  That latter part didn’t work so well.  I ended up chatting with the guy in front of me about YA books and what I thought his wife should read. I got up to Joe around 8:50.  I had asked one of the MG employees if I could grab a copy of Horns to have signed and then I would pay for it.  She ever so nicely grabbed me a copy and then took my phone to take the picture for me.


I thanked Joe for coming and then after he signed my books, we posed for a picture.  He had this little devil doll and had me move my hair out of the way so the devil could sit on my shoulder between us.  After the picture was done, the MG woman gave me my phone back and asked if I wanted another picture.  Joe wanted to see the picture, so I showed him and he asked if I wanted another one.  I asked if he wanted a new one.  He said it was my picture, so he wanted me to be happy.  And I am.

I left after paying for my book… I imagine that even as I type this post up, there are still people waiting outside in line.  And Joe was definitely worth the wait.  Huge thanks to Michelle and Rob for forcing my attendance.

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