Tuesday 29th July was a date I had been eagerly anticipating (in other words I had circled it (twice) on my calendar, drawn hearts around the date and written AN EVENING WITH RAINBOW ROWELL in pink felt tip) Don’t judge me.
And finally, finally the date arrived, so off to Birmingham Waterstones I skipped. If you’ve ever visited Birmingham and like books then I’m sure you’ve visited their branches of Waterstones. There are two stores, both within close proximity of each other (I know! Book Heaven!) but the store the event was being held at was the one in New Street. I have visited this Waterstones before but never fully appreciated the beauty of the building, (well, I’m usually distracted by all the hundreds and hundreds of BOOKS!) Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself…
It’s a massive, beautifully designed building which I believe used to be a bank (although do tell me if I’m wrong…?) The first thing that came to light was the following: There are a lot of Rainbow Rowell fans in Birmingham. Arriving at 6:35 for the event starting at 7:00, there was already a huuuge queue of Rainbow fanatics, waving their tickets and itching the get in the building.
After controlling my inner fan girl and managing not to scream “OH MY GOD IT’S RAINBOW ROWELL! THERE! RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!” I took a seat and settled down to a thoroughly enjoyable Q & A session with Rainbow. She came across as warm, funny, friendly and it’s obvious that she is extremely talented. The audience interaction was fantastic and I loved hearing Rainbow discuss some of the ideas behind some of my all time favourite books. She discussed selling the rights to an Eleanor and Park film and explained that out of all of her books, this was the one she was most concerned about being made into a film. (She especially doesn’t want some size zero girl playing Eleanor…y’hear movie producers?)
Rainbow also talked about adults reading YA which seems to be a very hot topic at the moment. Her view is that we were all teenagers once and so why shouldn’t we be interested in reading books which relate to a certain period of our lives? She also pointed out that one writer had criticised teen fiction saying it depicts unrealistic, happy endings…HELLO? Obviously not read The Fault in Our Stars or Eleanor & Park… I completely agree with Rainbow’s take on this.
Other important topics included fanfiction, where she gets ideas for her characters from, how she always thought her dream job was to write for a newspaper and what happened when she realised it wasn’t, magic and why Rainbow’s hair went flat in Edinburgh…
I could have listened to Rainbow and her stories all evening, she is such a brilliant speaker and I was completely fascinated to learn more about her and her wonderful books. We were then given the opportunity to have Rainbow sign up to four books and have a photo taken with her. This was the part of the evening that seemed to take the longest as we went up row by row and I was sat somewhere in the middle. However, I used this as valuable reading time and got stuck into Landline whilst I was waiting.
When I did get to meet Rainbow she was just as you’d expect, chatty, witty and warm. She complimented me on my dress and I complimented her on her shoes (OF COURSE I DID, knowing me and shoes you’re not surprised are you? And anyway, they were cool…) She apologised for the queue and I reassured her that it’s not her fault as she can’t help being SO popular, to which she replied “It’s a problem I’ve had all my life…”
Rainbow very kindly signed my copies of Fangirl and Landline and posed for a ‘selfie’ with me. Boy, does that girl have stamina! She must have signed hundreds upon hundreds of books and posed for countless photos. I bet her hand and her face ached at the end of the evening.
Even when I left at around 9:30 Waterstones was still full with lots of Rainbow fans, which goes to show just how popular she is and how well the event went down. This is the first event of this type I’ve ever been to and now I can’t wait to attend more. I had such a good time and met one of my writing heroes along the way. It’s an evening I will treasure (along with the Fan Girl tote bag that I was given with my copy of Landline!!)
Huge thanks for Rainbow for being so fabulous and to Waterstones, New Street, for a hugely enjoyable night! ♥