It is slightly upsetting that so many really incredible author tours skip out on South Florida. Christopher Paolini is not one of those authors. He kicked off the Miami International Book Fair with a talk/Q+A session/book signing yesterday afternoon and he is, in a word, awesome.
He spoke about writing Eragon (including the incredible boredom that led to him first digging a hole eight feet in diameter, eight feet deep, covered by an old satellite dish and connected to a Viking-style mead hall by tunnel) and also how different (and bad) the first draft of Eragon was–most notably, the fact that Eragon wasn’t named Eragon, but Kevin. Weird. He also spoke about getting slaughtered in a Jedi video game (the name escapes me but I remember he stressed it was number 2) by an online gamer named Eragon. He did brief readings from each of the books in the series (very brief. I think he read the first two sentences of Eragon), answered a lot of really well-thought out questions (unless the question involved Angela), mentioned the possibility of other books set in Eragon’s world (but cautioned that they would not show up for a long time), and then started signing a LOT of books. His hand had to be cramping like crazy by the end of the night! And he’d just flown in this morning, so he must have already been exhausted.
I may seem overly excited by this event, but authors are my rock stars. In fact, they’re better than rock stars because they’re usually nicer, easier to talk to, intelligent (no, I’m not saying rock stars are dumb), funny (I’m not saying they’re dull either), and some of the best people in the world. Christopher Paolini is no exception. I purposefully attempted to be the last person in line (I say attempted because a couple came in late, took the spot, and then used the fact that they were on their honeymoon to keep it… How could I insist after that?). When I got to speak to him I asked him about his actual publishing experience and what advice he would offer authors who are still trying to figure out which side of the fence to jump onto. He tried valiantly to answer a question that I think has no solution, but essentially his advice came down to this: Write the best book you can, know who your audience is, and promote it as best you can because all truly exceptional books will find a home.
Christopher is very nice (he signed up to four books PER PERSON and spent a few seconds talking to everyone), incredibly down to earth, and a Trekkie! So many bonus cool points for that revelation. 🙂 It was also really great meeting someone who is right around my age and successfully doing what I would like to be doing with my life. Very inspiring! There are still a few stops left on his tour, so I highly recommend attending if you’re anywhere nearby. Well worth driving a few hours for!