Brandon Sanderson, Leigh Bardugo and Bradley Beaulieu author event

I’d never been to an author event at Waterstones Nottingham before so when Kirsty asked me if I wanted to go to one with her, I couldn’t say no.

It was brilliant! The photo is of me and Leigh Bardugo (I’m not actually that short or as gremlin-looking in real life, I’m just leaning at a weird angle), the events room and my signed copy of Six of Crows and a signed bookplate.

Author event collage

The event was held in a large room just off the top floor of the building and nearly every seat I could see was filled. It took a little while for all the people to arrive but then the three authors took their seats at the front and we were off. There was a little bit of banter to start and then each author read an extract from their book.

Bradley Beaulieu

Bradley was up first with his book Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. He pitched it to us as ‘Arabian Nights meets Game of Thrones‘ and I won’t lie…it didn’t really sound up my street. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Sharakhai, the great city of the desert, center of commerce and culture, has been ruled from time immemorial by twelve kings—cruel, ruthless, powerful, and immortal. With their army of Silver Spears, their elite company of Blade Maidens, and their holy defenders, the terrifying asirim, the Kings uphold their positions as undisputed, invincible lords of the desert. There is no hope of freedom for any under their rule.

Or so it seems, until Çeda, a brave young woman from the west end slums, defies the Kings’ laws by going outside on the holy night of Beht Zha’ir. What she learns that night sets her on a path that winds through both the terrible truths of the Kings’ mysterious history and the hidden riddles of her own heritage. Together, these secrets could finally break the iron grip of the Kings’ power…if the nigh-omnipotent Kings don’t find her first.

He gave a nice, confident reading, if a little quiet for my tastes, and from the extract he read I could tell he had a lovely, descriptive style to his writing, but it wasn’t quite to my taste.

 

Leigh Bardugo

Leigh was next up with Six of Crows, set in the same universe as her Grisha trilogy (but you don’t have to have read those to read this). Six of Crows is essentially a fantasy heist novel and a few sentences into her reading I thought ‘I have to read this’, here’s the blurb from Goodreads, see what you think:

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Her reading was nicely pitched and she seemed to be more of a natural performer than Bradley had been. I did buy a copy of her book later.

 

Brandon Sanderson

Brandon was the biggest draw, the one most of the people were there to see I think. I’ll confess, I’ve only read The Rithmatist (which is a book for kids that makes chalk sound terrifying – this is a terrible summary as it’s actually very good), so I had absolutely no expectations from the reading. He didn’t read an extract from his latest book, instead he read from one that’s not due to be released until next autumn. So no blurb this time but if you haven’t read any of his books, Kirsty (who is a massive fan of his) has always told me to start with The Final Empire – the first book in the Mistborn series – so I’d start there.

Unlike Leigh and Bradley, Brandon stood up (he said so he could see us all better) to read and he was the best reader of the three (or potentially just the most practiced as he has written an absolutely enormous amount of books). The extract he read was by turns exciting and funny (someone else in the audience had an unapologetically loud, jolly laugh too, it was great), so I may have to actually go read his adult fiction now.

 

The Q and A

This was great. Seriously. All three were so funny it was really entertaining and some of the audience had some great questions. It was also here where I discovered that Brandon Sanderson’s written a multiverse?! As all his books are actually interconnected in various little ways, which just makes me want to read them more.

When they got asked the inevitable writer’s block question I thought Leigh had a good answer about how there’s two types and one type is that you’re just to anxious about not immediately spewing something wonderful onto a page. They all talked about how what you see on the shelves has been through countless revisions and Leigh was saying that if you compared your initial efforts you’d always lose.

Genuinely though, if any combo of these three authors come to your town you should definitely try and go to their author events. It was a really fun, engaging event.

 

The signingsme and Leigh Bardugo

AKA in which I shouldn’t be allowed to talk to other people

The lovely guys at Waterstones Nottingham had put a big stack of books at the back for people to buy/get signed at the end of the event, but with the sheer volume of people there…that stack of books was pretty decimated by the time I reached it, which meant the only book I actually bought was Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows.

The queue moved quite slowly as they had all three authors sat at one table, I didn’t actually mind so much, and eventually, I think it was Leigh’s publicist?, came and said we could move up the
queue to get our books signed by Leigh and Bradley as it was Brandon’s queue that was moving slowly. I got a delightfully awkward photo with Leigh (as in I was stood at a really awkward angle, not that Leigh was awkward) and she signed Six of Crows for me. She asked if I’d read her other books and I said I’d sold them not read them (without the context of knowing I used to be a Children’s Bookseller that sounds a little bizarre). She had this little pile of badges too, and I didn’t want to take one as it was a small pile, until she said she had more AND THEN I made a terrible joke about sweeping them into my handbag and selling them off to the rest of the queue for 50p each. Her publicist (who was such a nice lady) gave a nervous sounding laugh and went “I admire your entrepreneurial spirit”…which I took (rightly) as my queue to leave.

I’d like to say I’m less of an awkward human being normally, but…I’m not. At all.

signed book and bookplateAfter that it was back in the queue for Brandon. He had it down to a fine art – if you wanted a photo you had to hand your camera to his publicist who, while Brandon was signing the book would go “Photo on three, one, two, three” and one “three” Brandon would go into photo pose, and then have a brief chit-chat with the person before moving on to the next one. I had nothing for him to sign (I’d left The Rithmatist at home), all I wanted to do was tell him how much I’d enjoyed The Rithmatist. He was super-nice about it though and gave me a signed bookplate instead to put in the book when I got home. Then he said “do you have a question for me?” And I made another terrible jokey comment (because apparently I DON’T LEARN) and said “no, I just wanted to tell you it’s your fault I hate chalk”. At which point he smiled and said “nice to meet you” which I (rightly) took as my queue to leave.

 

So there you have it. One awesome author event and two terrible jokes made by me – all in all a good night!

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