Meeting Neil Gaiman & Other Insanely Fortunate Events

With Neil Gaiman. Just two authors – one insanely famous and well-loved, the other just hoping he spelled “Neil” right in the inscription. All kidding aside, it’s a thrill to see Neil Gaiman holding a copy of The League of Delphi!

It’s been a big week already … and it’s only Thursday!

Sometimes I miss living in Minneapolis for a very specific reason – the writers. There are multiple readings, signings, and appearances per week in a metro area the size of the Twin Cities. There were lots of writer friends to see and many authors passing through my home bookstore, Once Upon a Crime. Here in Upper East Tennessee … not so much. But sometimes the earth moves and the forces of the universe bring a Minneapolis writer here, which is a pretty good deal.

On Monday I was sitting at the coffee shop where I often do my writing and other non-private business when I heard that Neil Gaiman, author of American Gods, Coraline, and The Sandman: Book of Dreams among many, many others was appearing at East Tennessee State University  at noon with The Unchained Tour – a storytelling troupe touring the 5-state area. The time was 11:45am. I  ran out the door and – after a well-timed reminder from the D.O. – grabbed a couple copies of The League of Delphi “just in case.”

(from left) Dawn J. Fraser, George Dawes Green, and Peter Aguero discuss the power and techniques of effective storytelling.
Pullout quote: “You are the clown.”

A little late, I made it in time to see Neil Gaiman, Peter Aguero, George Dawes Green, Dawn J. Fraser, and Rachel Kate put on a storytelling show and workshop. In the break, I joined a bunch of other admirers in the hallway where Neil Gaiman came out and did an impromptu book signing – which was very kind and generous of him, since the program said it wasn’t a book signing event.

I inscribed one of my “just in case” copies of The League of Delphi and was honored to give it to him. I also gave a copy to Peter Aguero. I sincerely hope it turns out to be good reading for them on the rest of the trip!

Tuesday evening I helped facilitate the YA reading group at the Johnson City Public Library. It was a rousing hour of 10-13-year-olds discussing the graphic novel Smile by Raina Telgemeier. The author’s autobiographical tale of a 4-year dental disaster while struggling to find herself in a sea of intolerably mean “friends” and teen pressures really resonated with the middle-graders and also with this 44-year-old author. Now, every time I see one of her self-portraits from the graphic novel, I smile – because I know and like this kid. Yeah, it surprised me too!

The library kids introduced me to “Smile” by Raina Telgemeier and I’m still smiling.

Wednesday, I finished the outline for the second book in the Delphi series (yes, there will be at least 3) and started writing it. It’s already fun and I’m really glad to be back with Zach in his battle with conspiracy and terror. Yes, it gets worse for the poor kid, but somehow I think he’ll scrape by …

And starting book 2 is well timed because, just today, another review of The League of Delphi was posted on Amazon that compared it to The Hunger Games (nice), used the word “fantastic” twice, and calls for another book in the series. If I was paying for reviews like some knuckleheads are reported to be doing, I couldn’t be getting better ones than my real readers are posting! Plus this demand for a second Delphi book is becoming a trend – which I hope to stay ahead of!

Also this morning, I saw Emma and Robyn – two of the three readers in my informal focus group. Seeing them always puts a smile on my face – they’re so smart and enthusiastic! I doubt I was actually as bright as them when I was a teenager, but they facilitate my happy illusion. Emma is in the middle of The League of Delphi and loving it. I finally gave Robyn her copy to read, review, and shout about at school. She’s excited, which makes me excited – people actually want to read it! I promise to keep up with any market demand so keep reading the books, keep loving them, keep shouting about them to anyone who’ll listen! There are more on the way.

Now, here’s the cheese on this Brain Burger.

3 things I would have been doing this week if I weren’t in East Tennessee:

  1. Sailing my yacht named “The Pythia” in the Greek Isles.
  2. Driving my Mazerati with vanity plates “DlfiCre8r” on the Amalfi Coast of Italy.
  3. Secretly visiting the Pythia at Delphi to get more great story ideas.
Chris Everheart is author of the thriller

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