I first went into the store at about 5PM after I had arrived in Birmingham, to collect my ticket, and I was wowed by how pretty it was. In the centre of the store was a grand staircase and there were lovely high ceilings which gave the whole place a sense of grandeur. I came back at about quarter to seven, where I joined a queue of eager readers. We were let in at 5 minutes to seven, to browse Maureen's books and find ourselves seats. On our seats were some badges featuring Maureen's face, which I put in my bag from my best friend and fellow Maureen Johnson fangirl Ria and I. Next thing I know, Maureen was introduced and ran around from the back of the store and the evening began.
Maureen is every bit as witty, intelligent and hilarious in real life as she seems online and through her books. It is so incredibly rare for an author to live up to the expectations - the person you believe that they are in your head - but she did, entirely. Unfortunately she was sick and had lost her voice, but she assured us it didn't hurt - just sounded bad. She also gushed about how beautiful the store was, how most Waterstones are beautiful, and how England is genuinely a little bit better than the US (my words, not hers, but it was implied).
She started the evening by getting the audience to ask her questions, which is unlike most author events which have a dedicated Q&A session. She answered questions on a variety of topics, including writing, publishing and puppies, some of which you can see details of here on Bloggers Bookshelf. She even answered a question on gendered book covers from a very shy, nervous and awkward me.
About an hour after the event it finished for signings. I met another lovely book blogger in the queue, you can check out her blog here and after ten minutes or so I got to meet Maureen. She was lovely and even though I was incredibly cheeky and got my copy of The Madness Underneath signed, as well as a note written for Ria and got a photo together she really didn't seem to mind. Then I got to drift back to my hotel on the ultimate meeting-your-heroes high.
A massive thanks to Waterstones Birmingham New Street (seriously go there it's beautiful), Maureen Johnson and Hot Key Books for putting on the great event.
You can read more about this event and what Maureen said over on Bloggers Bookshelf right here.
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