In late September, I was lucky enough to attend the St. Paul
(Yes, the one in Minnesota) stop of Leigh Bardugo’s Midnight Tales Tour for the release of The Language of Thorns hosted by the Red Balloon Bookshop. For those of you who know me, I live in California so it was a whirlwind trip to Minnesota the day of the signing to meet Leigh Bardugo (and see some friends who were also important I guess). It was my first time meeting her, and she truly is a shinning star amongst Young Adult Authors.
After arriving from my 6 a.m. flight from LAX to St. Paul, I promptly forced my childhood friend, a complete non-reader besides the occasion hockey romance, to take me back to her place so I could get changed into my Darkling Costume. Yes, my Darkling Costume. I looked like goth. He was my favorite character, besides Nikolai, from the original Grisha books, so I figured why not as the bookshop encouraged us to dress up.
Then, we visited the adorable Red Balloon Bookshop (which I’m still kicking my self over for not taking pictures of) to pick up our tickets. As per my usual “get 5 hours early to a book signing” philosophy, we got to Stepping Stone Theatre where the signing was actually happening, way too fucking early. And I mean, way too early. We could’ve gotten there an hour before the event and been fine. I am so used to California Signing culture where you HAVE to be there at least 3 hours early to get a decent spot. Apparently, Minnesotans aren’t the same.
So, basically we went out to eat and met up with former Book Twitter Legend & bookmark designing extraordinar Mana. Eventually, aka an hour before the event, we were finally let in doors to sit down for the signing. There was a cute coloring page to do along
with a background to take photos, but we just ended up sitting down. The bookstore hosted Trivia before Leigh came up to talk in which you could win a Grisha button. During that time, Mana ended up writing what she wanted Leigh to sign on her book (pictured to the left). And Leigh did end up signing it like that.
Tragically, I did not take my usual notes as I do with book signings so I don’t have the transcription to share. Leigh talked about a lot of interesting things like her love of fairytales and how the creepier ones really got her thinking. There were a ton of audience questions about her writing process as there were a bunch of writers in the room. Leigh mentioned that when she writes, her first drafts are extremely short. Like only 30,000 words short. After she gets to the end of writing the bare bones of the story, she then goes back and adds in everything to end up getting to 130,000 words.
After she finished, it was time for the very long ticket signing line. When we finally got to the top, Leigh actually asked to take a picture of my costume *insert scream*. I then got the prize for dressing up which was a “Enter the Grishaverse” sticker and the oh so coveted enamel pin set (which I lovingly gaze upon every day know that I put the pins on my jacket). I ended up just getting Wonder Woman and The Language of Thorns signed…. I may or may not have brought my copies of the Grisha Trilogy but decided not to get them signed because I want to see Leigh again…… You didn’t read that. And then we busted out of there as I was extremely jet lagged.
Now, let me talk about Leigh Bardugo for a second.
As you might know, I attend a lot of book events. I go to at least 1 signing a month. I’ve met a ton of Young Adult authors in the past year since I’ve become active in the community. Meeting authors in person is really telling of who they are as people. Truly gauging someone’s personality and heart online can be hard, and usually ends up with wrong impressions. There have been some authors that when I got to meet them… Well, let’s say that I probably won’t be meeting them again.
With an author like Leigh Bardugo, I wasn’t sure what to expect. She’s a HUGE name in Young Adult. A lot of people I follow have talked about meeting her and loving her. I’m the type of person that has to see it to believe it. And, oh my god, Leigh Bardugo is one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.
She’s such a genuine person and you can tell she actually cares about her writing and her audience (you would be surprised how many authors I’ve seen confess to not giving much thought to their own story or audience). I’m not her #1 fan, but her books do hold a special place in my heart. Meeting her definitely made me want to reread them all. Leigh is one of those authors that I WISH I loved her books that much more because she’s such an amazing person. I would definitely meet her again….