I broke a little rule I have about book signings—I don’t like to go and meet an author without having read anything they’ve written.
Foz’s family and friends were on hand serving sandwiches, crackers and dip and a nice, spicy fruit slice with plain white icing (I’ve always loved icing sugar). White wine (Kat, do you remember if it was a still white or champers? The glasses seemed a bit wide for champagne and I can’t remember if it sparkled) was also on hand for the celebration. Given that Solace is a vampire, I think it would have been appropriate to serve red wine as well, but since I don’t drink, it made no difference to me.
Scott Westerfeld introduced Foz and her book. He said that he wasn’t familiar with her when she asked him to help launch her book so he asked her to send him a copy first. His praise ended with, ‘It’s a really good book and you should buy it,’ but he also gave us an idea of what to expect from Solace & Grief. The book confounds your expectations and he compared it to turning on a light. You flick the switch and the light comes on, but sometimes the light blows up unexpectedly. So the book confounds your expectations like that light bulb but in such a way that it makes you want to move forward and see what happens from there.
He also said that it gives an impression of our world in which bad things happen, but it’s still ultimately a good place. Although Solace gives the impression of being lost, the story is still written with an obvious plan in mind.
One theme covered by both Scott and Foz was how Solace & Grief explores the hidden secret paranormal elements that may hide beneath a mundane exterior, like an unmarked door that you walk past every day with no idea of what lies behind it.
This is one of the things that interest me most about Solace and Grief—that this is a book for us. Not just Australians, but Sydneysiders in particular. Although Foz lives in Melbourne, her book is set in Sydney and refers to actual landmarks, such as a dungeon beneath Hyde Park, so I’m really looking forward to reading it.
While Foz introduced her book, she had a slide show playing showing pictures her friend in New Zealand had drawn of her characters. Solace was a very unassuming little brunette dressed in mostly black with something red (might have been black and red striped stockings).
Kat and I were among the first to get our books signed and without having read the book like I otherwise would have, I had very little to say for a change. Foz was friendly and enthusiastic and had bookmarks and stickers on her table. I was a bit surprised about the yellow capsicum, but at least it matched the flowers. And I assumed her pwnies were My Little Pony but kept quiet :P
I saw her later in the event and asked how her hand was after signing everyone’s books and it managed to be both shaky and cramped. Aspiring writers, take note.
Unfortunately, I had other plans for the afternoon and wasn’t able to join Foz at the pub. But I did start reading Solace & Grief on the train home.