I was fortunate enough to attend Sarah Addison Allen's book signing on March 16, the release day of her newest book, The Girl Who Chased The Moon.
She was very sweet and seemed to genuinely enjoy interacting with us. We had a packed audience, with standing room only. She told us a little bit about gigantism and Robert Wadlow, officially the world's tallest man at 8'11" tall. He was the inspiration for Vance Shelby, an elderly giant in her new book. Giants don't tend to live long, so she wanted to write about one who did. She talked about the research she had done on Wadlow and how he seemed to be a truly kind man who always had time to answer people's questions. I can't remember if Mr. Wadlow said it or if Vance Shelby did, but when one of them was asked, "How tall are you?" he answered, "Tall enough to see into tomorrow." She talked for a little while about how when you know your life is probably going to be short, you learn not to take your tomorrows for granted. She chose to dedicate her book to Robert Wadlow.
She read us a short excerpt from her book that ended with an excellent teaser:
People had always known about the Coffeys' aversion to the dark hours, but no one had ever realized just how serious they were about it. It was the first time the citizens of Mullaby began to wonder, What if it wasn't that they didn't come out at night...
What if it was because they couldn't.
You're curious now, aren't you? Go ahead and admit it!
She did a pretty long Q&A session with us, which was a lot of fun. We were kind of all over the place with our questions, so I'll just list what we learned.
Our local newspaper had just printed an article about Sarah Addison Allen. It led people to think that she had worked as a "garbage man." In reality, she had only wanted to be one when she was younger.
She didn't intend to write magical realism when she started writing. She felt that her "voice" was too light. It just sort of happened.
A couple of her favorite magical realism novels are The Passion by Jeanette Winterson and Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.
She said that she had just finished reading an advance copy of The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace and called it "exquisite." We should probably be adding this one to our wishlists!
She told us that she is writing a sequel to Garden Spells. It should be out in 2012. Yay! One person spoke up and and told her that her mother was 89 years old and loved that book, so if she could hurry the sequel along a little bit.... We all burst out laughing. No pressure there!
Garden Spells has been optioned for film! She doesn't know if anyone will actually make a movie, but the rights have been sold.
She has another book that should be published next year. I cannot for the life of me remember what it's going to be called. I know she wanted to call it God Loves Peaches, but the publisher nixed that idea. The word peaches is still in the new title though.
The reason that The Girl Who Chased the Moon (she was originally going to call it The Festival of the Naked Lady) took so long to come out was that she basically had to re-write it three times. Can you imagine?
That was pretty much it. She had pictures of Robert Wadlow for us to look at and a big barrel of Moon Pies to eat in honor of The Girl Who Chased the Moon.
I've waited so long to write this that it looks like her tour is already over, but if by chance she ever comes your way, you should go see her. I enjoyed the evening and she really was a sweetheart.
My review of The Girl Who Chased The Moon.
Find Sarah Addison Allen on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.