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Friday, October 12, 2012

Erin Morgenstern--The Day After

So last night Erin Morgenstern and I had a very fun conversation in front of about 300 library patrons from the Fox Valley.  As promised, I have a short report on how it went.
  • I am happy to say Erin is a delightful person.  She is engaging, interesting, and fun.  She truly loves answering questions and interacting with fans.  She mentioned multiple times how crazy her life has become, but was so happy to be in the position she is.  She was also a good sport, pulling 6 winners of a free copy of the book on stage.
  • Her mom is a school librarian! 
  • The Night Circus won the Alex Award from the ALA.  This is an award given out to books which were written for adults but have "special appeal" to teens. When we were back stage waiting to go on, I told her it was my favorite award.  She said, "Oh, I have a good story about that. Ask me when we are out there."  So I did.  She said, when she began writing seriously, she thought she wanted to write to a YA audience but was having trouble doing it.  Then she read John Connolly's The Book of Lost Things and loved it.  She noticed in the back that it won the Alex Award.  After reading a description of the award she said to herself, "That's what I want to do."  With the Alex Award in the back of her mind, she wrote The Night Circus. I found her story about the influence the award had on her as an author very uplifting, but also, it was an affirmation of all of the hard work the ALA award committees do (on a volunteer basis).  Authors pay attention.  Thanks for the nod of support Erin.
  • She shared that she writes in bursts.  She does not sit down every day and write.  She will work on her larger pieces for days or weeks at a time, writing constantly.  She then puts it away and goes back to what she wrote with fresh eyes a bit later.  She does however, regularly write short flash fiction pieces to go with the photographs a Chicago based friend of hers takes. You can see the pictures and read the pieces on her blog here
  • The movie version of The Night Circus is moving along. The executive producer of the Harry Potter movies has been hired to oversee it, Erin will be seeing a screen play soon, and the people involved want to honor the book and her wishes.  She is optimistic it will go well.
  • An audience member who had listened to The Night Circus wanted her to talk about that a bit.  Jim Dale, narrator of the entire Harry Potter series and famous Broadway actor, did the audio version.  Erin was there one of the days of taping and watched in disbelief as the famous Jim Dale was reading her book.  At this point, she noted, the book had not come out yet, and she was still finding it hard to believe anyone was going to read it.  She reported that Dale basically records the book in one take, reading 3 pages at a time.  They then go back and fix any lines that were not perfect to drop in later, and then he moves to the next 3 pages.  As he was reading, he stumbled over a character name, turned to Erin and said, jokingly, "Why did you name her Tsukiko? It is so hard to say"  She felt so bad.  She told him she never dreamed he would have to say it.
  • People ask her all the time if she thinks magic exists.  To this she says, magic exists if you believe that magic is when the extraordinary happens.  "How can I not believe in that?  Look it my life now."
  • She shared that she is currently working on a project that (as of now) is best described as a "Noir version of Alice in Wonderland." Sounds like a great book to me.
On a side note, the readers' advisor in me could not let her go without giving her a reading suggestion.  I told her I thought she would love the Locke and Key series by Joe Hill.  She told me it was in her to-read pile, and now, after I book talked it to her, she would move it to the top of the list.  Her hesitation came from the fact that she likes to wait until a series is complete before beginning it.  I told her Locke and Key will be done in a year, so if she started now, she would not be left hanging for long. 

As I said last night, those of us in libraries greatly appreciate when authors come to support us.  It means a lot.  Thanks to Erin Morgenstern for agreeing to be interviewed and for staying late to sign a ton of books.  And thanks to Fox Valley Reads for asking me to be a part of a wonderful night.

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