The time I went to Berkeley

Posted October 9, 2013 by Stacee in Signings | 18 Comments

I convinced Hubs to take me to San Francisco for Tamara Ireland Stone’s launch party for Time Between Us, so it only made sense [to me] that I would head back up there when Time After Time launched. He was unable to take the time off work, so I headed up alone.

You think the drive to Vegas is boring? This is worse. The only good thing about it is that drivers on the 5 like to drive fast, so even though it was 2 lanes the majority of the way, I maintained a good speed.

I got up to the bookstore just before 5pm and was lucky enough to find parking right next to the door. I am horrible at parallel parking, so I was a little anxious at the idea of there only being street parking available.

I went into the store and found this delightful display for the event. Of course, after I walked right passed it and had to ask where the display was…

I completely ruined it by buying all of the books. I may or may not have knocked a few things over. As soon as I told the girls behind the counter that I drove up from San Diego, I got the blank stare. [When am I going to learn that people just don’t do things like this normally?]

They set the event area up early so I would have somewhere to camp out. I [like always] had eleventy billion books to flap, so I settled into the front row, got organized and started to wait.

Tamara got to the bookstore around 6:45. She saw me, hugged me, asked about my drive and introduced me again to her husband. I gave her the gift I had for her [Bri, she LOVED them!!] and we chatted for a minute or so before she started making the rounds.

And there were cupcakes with the book titles on them!

I met Anna and Keiko [who also came up from San Diego] before the signing and it was so awesome to FINALLY meet them both!!

The event started just after 7 and it was kicked off with Gayle taking her shoes off because so many people wanted to see them. They both have duets [Gayle: I have a duet of duets] and talked about how they were going to read parts of their books.

G: I just finished Time After Time on the plane, did you know you were going to do that? You’re juggling so many things and how did you do it?

T: And was it really hard? Yes. I wrote the first book hoping it would be a series. I was so invested in the characters I felt like I could write them forever. And by the time I got done with TBU, I was done with it. But I was so happy that they picked up a sequel. How about you?

G: With If I Stay, no. I didn’t think it was going to be a viable book and definitely didn’t think it was going to be a sequel. And then the characters started waking me up and I started feeling a responsibility to them. I didn’t want to deal with the immediate future and as soon as I made that decision, Adam’s story came out.

For Just One Day, there was a week where there wasn’t going to be a sequel. And FYI, I was going to end it exactly where it did. As I was writing Just One Day, I had to figure out a lot about Willem. I had to figure out a deep backstory. Why was that day so important? You have to plant the seeds in book one if there’s going to be a book 2.

T: I had a lot of fun with writing a new point of view, writing similar situations from another point of view.

Tamara talked about Time Between Us and then read from it. She read a scene about Maggie’s house first from Anna’s POV and then from Bennett’s.

G: The shift of perspective was fun. It changes everything. You see the entire year and you learn more about the characters and all of these moments where they could have passed each other.

Gayle read a piece from Just One Day that dealt with the watch and then another piece from Just One Year that also dealt with the watch.

They talked about both being pantsers. I missed most of this conversation because I was taking pictures…

G: Do you feel that each book has their own arc and then together tell a bigger story?

T: Yes. Absolutely. TBU is mostly Anna’s story and how she started strong and got stronger. And Bennett’s is the same way. His life is in no way miserable, he’s not missing anything. It’s how he is seen in her eyes.

G: I called mine books Trojan horse romance. I’ve got the army in there and look they’re in Paris and now they’re kissing and now they’re more than kissing and then bam!

[Then there was a topic about family.  I blame these two ladies for being so charismatic that I couldn’t focus on anything but them talking.]

T: In all 4 books, there’s a part of family. Bennett is attracted to Anna’s normal stable family and Anna is attracted to Bennett’s adventure and fly by the seat of your pants life.

G: Maybe it’s because I was a mother when I started writing. Do you get a lot of people asking about the third book?

T: All the time! Maybe it’s because they’re conditioned to trilogies.

G: How many people want a third Mia and Adam book? [I raised my hand] It’s so flattering, but let’s look at what it would be. It’s a book for the sake of being a book. Mia and Adam cook breakfast. Mia and Adam go for a walk. Mia and Adam kiss, but they’ve been together for a while, so it’s not that hot. Or there’s conflict.  Mia and Adam have a disease. Mia and Adam have a baby and it dies. Does anyone want that? If you do, there’s something wrong with you.

T: With Time After Time, I had all of the readers in my head. I had to figure out a way to get everyone out. [I missed most of her answer, surprise, surprise]

G: Why do you always write girls POV first?

T: It never occurred to me to write it from his POV. And it’s his gift… I loved the idea of a reluctant hero. I though that would be more interesting to show from the POV from the girl who loves him POV. Think Spider-Man from Mary Jane’s POV. And with the second one, it made sense. Once I got to know him so well, I thought it would be just fun to tell the story from his POV.

Was it hard? Yes. I don’t think I would have done it if my editor hadn’t pushed me to do it. FYI I’ve never been a 17 year old boy. I can get in the mindset of a 16 year old girl in high school. My husband read all of my drafts and told me when a guy wouldn’t say those things. I had a hard time with the general male to male interactions. [At this point, there was a comment from Gayle about Tamara scratching her balls in public or something like that.  Seriously, my notes are shiteous.]

T: How about you?

G: It never occurred to me to write a male POV. Adam was easy to access because he’s most like me. Especially the mean Adam in the beginning.

T: Let’s talk settings. You have some great ones in your books, have you been to all of them?

G: Yes. India sort of sticks with you, but I made the entire family go to Mexico for Spring break. What about you?

T: Yes. We had to go to Paris for “research”. I wrote 3 chapters and then told my editor to put them on hold. They were the last 3 chapters I worked on to make sure they were authentic.

G: I don’t like reading travel books and it’s important to me to have little details that make the location.  It’s not an information dump like in a travel book.

And then the floor was opened up for Q&A.

What are you working on now?

T: I just sold a book and it’s awesome. I was feeling a little sad, missing Anna and Bennett, so it’s been great working on that. And it’ll be out Spring 2015. [Too. Far. Away. I also might have said that out loud.]

G: I worked on If I Stay for myself. It was saved under “why not”. This is a book that I’ve cheated with, it feels amazing. I don’t have a title, but I will tease by saying that it’s the hottest guy I’ve ever written.

Do you have some routine when writing?

T: I can write anywhere as long as I have headphones. I don’t listen to music a lot, I can’t get the words down if there are other words in my head. I listen to a lot of movie soundtracks.

G: Get the kids out the door and coffee. Sometimes I will actually put on clothes and go to the cafe. It’s not always productive, but it needs to be done. People always ask how do I find the time. It’s like closet space, you work with what you have.

Do you write a requisite amount of words?

G: No. I write until I feel like there’s almost nothing left. And then the next day I go back through everything I’ve done.

T: I do the same.  Sometimes I just spend the day editing what I wrote the day before.

G: Yes, because it’s all crap.

Fan cast for your books?

G: I don’t have one for If I Stay. And then when they did cast it, it was perfect. And the guy who is playing Adam? He’s even hotter. Willem is the guy from the Lumineers, but not as pretty.

T: I don’t have an Anna. [Her son said Lorde and then Tamara said maybe because she has long curly hair]. Bennett is kind of Jeremy from TVD. I like the nice guys. Anna’s father will definitely be George Clooney.

What inspired you to be a writer?

T: I’ve always written for myself. It’s cathartic. I wanted to write something that was for me, something that wasn’t watching tv or going to the movies. Writing for young adults, I have to credit Judy Blume. In my dream of dreams, I want to create stories that people read over and over again.

G: The romantic answer would be that the stories inspired me. The realistic answer is that poverty inspired me. I was a journalist and we had bought and apartment and then I had a baby. I had 3 pieces killed in one month. Someone told me that I should write and it was like a light bulb went off.

There were more questions, but I just couldn’t take my eyes off of these two ladies. I do remember someone asking if Tamara was attached to Cyndi Lauper and that’s where she got the title for Time After Time. Gayle and Tamara instead bust out into the song.

The signing started around 8:15. I got up to Tamara first and told her that I had to ration what I had for her, that’s why there was only 3.

I gave Gayle her huge pile and she started working on them. She asked where I came from and when I said San Diego, she said that she saw my tweet about it. And also mentioned how I was a really good friend for getting all of the books for other people. I calked myself a pack mule [thank you, Kami Garcia] and Gayle started laughing. We talked about my necklace [hand stamped charm that says “Book Boys are Better” from Charmed by Books] and how much she liked it.  Meanwhile, I loaded up on swag…


And then Tamara asked if I was leaving right away.  I said yes.  She asked if I could wait a minute and sent her husband out to the car… When he came back, she showed me four different foreign editions of Time Between Us and told me to pick one.  I grabbed the pretty pretty oversized UK version.

While Tamara was signing it, she was telling Gayle that I’m her Kevin Bacon.  She can connect around 100 readers of Time Between Us back to me.  This woman….she slays me in the best way ever.

After another round of hugs, I made my way through the store, saying goodbye to everyone I had met.  And I didn’t get pictures with anyone. *face palm*

Tamara and Gayle are magical together.  This ridiculous recap and lack of good note taking is mostly my fault and partially theirs.  If they weren’t so damn entertaining, perhaps I would have been able to do better.

Now. Go pick up all of their books.  You won’t be disappointed.

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18 responses to “The time I went to Berkeley

  1. YAY You're amazing and I'm jealous I want to meet both Gayle and Tamara in person some day!! You're the reason I read Time Between Us… thank you for that!!

  2. I'm so happy and yes, mildly jealous that you were able to meet these two, both on my favourite authors list. But then I remember I wouldn't be reading again if it weren't for you. And really, I can't think of a better person to meet two of my favourite authors. Thank you for making the trip and sharing the story with us. The only thing that could have made reading about this experience better is if I'd lived it with you.

  3. I don't understand why people gave you strange looks. People from the bay drive down to LA and SD all the time, so why not the reverse? So awesome that you got to see both authors and had such a fun time :) I bought each of their books on ebook when they were on sale but I haven't read them yet.

  4. Maybe because I just drove up and then drove home? I don't know… I'm sort of getting used to it since I travel around for signings so often.

    I hope you enjoy the books, they're some of my favorites.

    Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. I love tamara's writing style. Sadly her books are not sold here so I have wait before I win cash again. Jelly u got to meet her. Cherish the signed books

  6. I would be apart of that 100. I had never heard of Time Between Us till I heard you raving about it on twitter and on the blog so I got myself a copy. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but it I should hopefully get to it in the near future!!!!

  7. This is the kind of stuff that I wish I was able to do more often. I am glad that you had fun and that the drive was safe. Yes, it is nice that you can go pretty fast up the 5. I definitely have to read some of Tamara's books soon.

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