Have I mentioned lately that I feel so fortunate to live in the Pasadena/LA area? If I haven’t, then I am saying it right now: I feel so LUCKY to live relatively near places where exciting things happen. Hollywood, LA Live, major bookstores, theatres, etc… I may not drive but a little planning with public transport can do so much.
If you have been following my blogs and/or other social media outlets, you’d know that I’m sort of a newbie fan of Outlander. I’ve heard of it and have seen it around but it took me this long to actually pick it up and read it. Well, the whole series is almost as old as I am. And I really don’t know anybody else who has read this before I did. I mean, the first time I’ve met fellow Outlander fans was at this book signing! And they are the sweetest bunch of ladies, albeit slightly overwhelming. But every new fan feels that way with veterans, right? I know I tend to scare LOTR newbies in some way. 😉
This book signing couldn’t have come in a much better time. I recently finished listening to the Outlander audiobook – which technically counts as my 2nd time reading it – and I was still in that honeymoon phase with all the TV show news and all. Then, I had the urge to check out the Events schedule from my local independent bookstore, Vroman’s. I’ve been to several author signings and readings at Vromans, my first one was for Karen Joy Fowler and then the other one was for Benjamin Busch. And I work not five minutes away from the bookstore so I could clock in some hours at work before the event.
I usually have great luck with these kinds of things. With Karen Joy Fowler, I just finished reading and watching the film version of The Jane Austen Book Club. I know of Ben Busch from my all-time favorite miniseries, Generation Kill. I was able to have a short chat with him and he signed my special copy of GK together with his memoir. This time around, it was like the fates were working with me. The urge to check schedules came out of nowhere and with a few clicks, there it was: June 11, 2014 at the Hilton @ Pasadena, CA. I immediately bought my ticket together with the book pre-sale. It was even before my trip to the Philippines so it was several months of waiting.
Since I’m a newbie, I still have a few books away from reading this one. Some of the ladies I met there said, “I’m so jealous that you have the series ahead of you!” There definitely was no cattiness or weird looks sent to me for being a newbie. I never felt like an outsider – outlander lol. In fact, I never felt so welcome in all the fandoms that I happen to come across in my fangirly lifetime. And oh, the feeling that you’re one of the youngest – if not THE youngest – in the room. Yep, I felt that.
From the interviews that I’ve read and watched, I know that Diana Gabaldon is super sassy! She’s not afraid to just give you a piece of her mind. After her talk, I kind of wanted her to be my professor. XD She’s candid and intelligent and so much fun. I love how she talks about her writing journey and how she ended up with the whole Outlander concept. It is so unconventional and it never gets old.
One of my favorite parts was in the Q&A session. A woman came up and said that she’s 35 years old and like DG, she has taken the plunge and started writing a novel. DG said, “Your joy of creation is worth more than anything.” That resonated so much with me. You can tell that after 25 years, 8 books, a million or so words… she still enjoys her craft.
I was pretty excited for the book signing. As you know, I spell my name with a C. The actress that they cast as Claire is named Caitriona Balfe but she says her name exactly the same way I do, Catrina. And with a C! Yes! The Vroman’s people had us write our names on a Post-it for easy reference. Some books were already pre-signed but mine wasn’t so DG signed and personalized it in one go. I also had my The Exile graphic novel with me.
When it was my turn, she smiled as she read my name out loud. “Catrina, yes,” she said. I told her that I wished I spelled it that way, like Caitriona’s. And then she said, “Well, you can always change your name or the way it’s spelled.” I had a fit of giggles after that and then I took my picture with her.
On the ticket, they said that there were no posed pictures allowed. But uh… all the photos that were taken with DG were pretty much posed. And rightfully so. 🙂 After signing thousands and taking pics with hundreds, she still had a ready smile for the next person in line.
I thanked her for being there and doing what she does and she graciously thanked me back. I met so many famous people and with DG, I really felt that warmth and sincerity. It was so worth leaving work early that day, lining up, and waiting. I met the sweetest ladies, had fun while waiting for our turn, and was further introduced to the magic that is Outlander.
Here’s my signed The Exile copy:
Oh you know I have more than one! (I am kind of a merch hoarder lmao.)