When Laini Taylor toured for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I wasn't able to go. She appeared at MGRB on the same night that Kathy Reichs was at Warwick's. I ordered a signed copy and figured I would see her eventually.
We got up to Glendale around 5pm. The event area had velvet ropes/barricades around it so no one was able to get to the seats. I had asked one of the employees when it would open up and he said probably between 6:30-6:45. We settled in with some books and just waited.
Around 6pm, Laini came walking by with her agent and a woman we've met at various events before. The woman pointed us out to Laini and told her that we were from San Diego. Laini asked if we really drove that far and when I said yes, she said it was pretty cool that we did.
Just after 6, I noticed there were a couple of girls hovering by the event entrance and I quickly joined them. Not only were they the same girls I threatened to push at Kiersten White, but they remembered me. A few minutes later, the absolute nicest B&N employee I've ever encountered let us into claim our seats.
One of the best parts of waiting in the event area is listening to everyone around me talk. The women behind me were drawing hamsas on their hands and were talking about taking pictures. I would eventually offer to take pictures of all three of them together and we had an impromptu photo shoot.
Laini got there right at 7pm. She started out by telling us that Days of Blood and Starlight debuted on the NYT bestsellers list. From there, she talked about the origin of Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
Daughter came to be from "cheating on another book". Laini was supposed to be writing a scifi book with ballerinas, but it wasn't flowing. She decided to give herself a day to write whatever she wanted without a plan or prompt. From that came a scene with a blue haired teenager arguing with her father who wasn't human.
After about 15 minutes of talking, Laini read from Days. In the middle of her reading, an announcement for the "all new NOOK tablet" played overhead. Laini paused with a small smile and waited for quiet before resuming.
The Q&A session started and from that I learned that Laini loved to write the snarky conversation of teenagers so much that she created twitter handles for Karou and Zuzana to talk on. She quickly realized that she needed to channel that energy into writing.
Someone asked about Laini's writing process or "process porn" as she dubbed it. A messy chapter will prohibit her from continuing, she edits while she works. She always has two documents open sides by side: one is the chapter, the other is a working document that lists what has happened, what needs to happen and the character development.
She calls her research "magpie research" as she takes shiny things and writes them down to use later. According to her, that's why fantasy is so much better than scifi.
After about an hour, Laini did a giveaway for some Smoke and Bone jewelry. There was also a smaller giveaway for some tote bags. Hubs ended up winning one and when be went to collect, Laini commented on his tattoos.
Then the signing started and the staff had it controlled really well. I've never seen a line up that wasn't a free for all, so kudos to them.
Since we were in the second row, we ended up being about 10th in line. When we got up to Laini, I sort of apologized for having so many books. She started laughing and joked that it was just horrible. Somehow we started talking about the drive home, so after we were done and I got a picture with her, Laini told us to drive safely.
I was sort of standing around when I noticed Leigh Bardugo in line. Since I didn't stay long enough at YA in the Sun to see her, I wanted to make sure I said hi. She told me an excellent story revolving around the Siege and Storm arcs that I want to confirm I can post. If Leigh would rather I didn't, just know it was a really awesome story.
We were getting ready to leave when one of the ladies I did the hamsa photo shoot with came by. They were adding them to anyone who wanted it and taking a group photo with Laini. I said sure and got Ava to go with me.
Laini Taylor is a delight and the audience the flocks to see her is just as nice as she is. She was absolutely worth the wait.