Avon has decided to host podcasts of its authors' new releases, which I think is fantastic. I just so happen to live in Beaverton where Powell's Bookstores was hosting the most recent podcast with Julia Quinn and Elizabeth Boyle. Ms. Quinn was celebrating her new release, Just Like Heaven, and Elizabeth Boyle was celebrating her new release, Lord Langley is Back in Town.
There was quite a good turnout of local people come to see the authors, but through the magic of technology people were able to join from all over and ask questions over the internet. I think I even saw a post from the Phillipines on the website, which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
The ladies started off by telling us where the stories ideas came from. For those that have read Ms. Quinn's Bridgerton series, the Smythe-Smith musicales are legendary. She fully admitted that when she first brought the event into her story it was merely a plot device but, as the books continued and she was consistently abusing her characters eardrums with this horrible music, the Smythe-Smiths took on lives of their own. Thus, the idea was born.
Elizabeth Boyle finished a series that featured two sisters whose father was a love ‘em and leave ‘em type. While having never been a main character, he was discussed and dissected by many of her characters. Having led such a scandalous life, Ms. Boyle thought it was about time that Lord Langley was made to pay the piper.
Then began the question and answer time. I was actually quite impressed with the variety of questions that these authors got. Between the audience that was present and the online audience, there was never a silent time, as so often happens at signings. There were questions about specific plots, about writing techniques and just general storyline questions, so it kept the pace moving right along.
You could tell immediately that Julia and Elizabeth were good friends, and that continued to be obvious throughout the night. They played off each other's thoughts and stories quite frequently. What that accomplished was to pull out more information about particular subjects that would not have come out otherwise. And, of course, it made for funnier stories.
For Julia Quinn fans, this little tidbit actually had me laughing out loud. In response to a question about writing styles, Julia talked about writing in short bursts and then going back to add/fix scenes so that by the time she is done with the book it's pretty complete. In one specific book, she got to the end and realized that it all concluded just a little too quickly and resolved itself a little too easily. She ended up having to go back and add a couple of chapters so the characters could get to know each other better. The three chapters that she ended up adding happens to be the scene she gets the most emails on.... Can you guess which book and scene? That's right, the infamous Pall Mall scene from The Viscount who Loved Me was a complete accident. Thank goodness for accidents!
Author signings are always a joy to attend and I have to say that the idea of broadcasting over the internet is an exceptional one. Allowing readers to still get the chance to see their authors speak and be able to ask questions in live time, if not in person, is great for those of us that can't always travel. Big round of applause to the publishers for thinking of it and a BIG thank you to Julia and Elizabeth for providing us with a fantastic evening.
Special thanks to Elizabeth Boyle for sharing her images with us!