LA Times Festival of Books
Wow. Definately a going concern! I'd never been, but it was great to see that books and reading still draw such a large crowd. The festival is huge, and there are a ton of people going through it.
On my way to the signing location, I walked the gauntlet of political activism booths. There was some heavy stuff there, accompanied by some very intense photo displays. Example: one booth discussed the issue of the vast numbers of land mines still out there that have not yet been disarmed. They had terrible, nightmarish photos to back it up. I live in a quiet town, and write in a quiet room, and tend at times to be divorced from the screaming of the world. I found it both sobering and refreshing to reconnect. I came away bruised but awake.
As for the booth/signing itself, it was thoroughly enjoyable. People actually showed up to get me to sign my books (and thanks to each and every one of you!) On my right, variously, were Michael Connelly and Joseph Wambaugh. I got them both to sign their books for me, natch. (Trivia: Connelly is a leftie, just like my mom. I was ambidextrous, but a doctor told my mom to make me pick a hand, and she chose the right. ) To my left was Brent Ghelfi, writer of Volk's Game. We had time to talk since we're both relatively new authors and didn't have the long lines of Mr. Connelly or Mr. Wambaugh. Brent is a very nice guy, and I've added his book to my list of books to read.
The Mystery Bookstore, by the way, is one of those wonderful last bastions - the independent niche bookstore. It's filled with staff who know the genre because they love it and read it. They like to talk books. I went to the Gotham Bookmart in NYC for the first time in 2006, and was awed by how it practically oozed history. Little did I know that it would be closed within the year. Thankfully, The Mystery Bookstore is going strong!
Thanks again to those who showed up to the signing. I write to be read, so seeing you all is what really made my day. All the other stuff is frosting - you guys will always be the cake.