What’s more fun than hanging out with a bunch of romance authors all weekend long? Nothing, that’s what! That’s why if you’re near Baltimore next weekend, Friday to Sunday, September 27 to 29, you should come on down to the Baltimore Book Festival. Added incentive: It’s free!
To sweeten the pot, we rounded up a bunch of attending authors, and made them tell us their best/worst fan moment, their favorite book right now and why they love book festivals. They each also sent in a book for a mega giveaway of more than 15 (signed!) books. Details below.
What book are you obsessed with right now?
Right now, I am in love with Darynda Jones's 5th Grave Past the Light, Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot series, and Tracy Brogan's Hold On My Heart. I know you asked for one, but books are like potato chips. One is a travesty!
I'm loving The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz. I adore the elegance of her writing voice and the way the puzzle pieces of the series fit together.
Right now I’m crazy about Scottish historicals. You know, the kind wear the Alpha lead is wearing a kilt and nothing under them?
I’m currently obsessed with Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet. Its not a "diet" book per se, but rather a book on how to change your lifestyle to an optimum you.
The book I'm obsessed with right now isn't even out yet — it's the third in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I enjoyed the first two books so much because they combined authentic settings, both historical and contemporary, with page-turning plots.
Last week I read a YA book from 2008 that just destroyed me (I like being destroyed). Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd is about a boy named Fergus growing up in Northern Ireland in the early 1980s during the worst of the Troubles.
— Jeri Smith Ready, This Side of Salvation
Code Name Verity. I read it over a year ago and am still thinking about it. I love the historical elements, but also the strong female friendship.
— Dawn Rae Miller, Larkstorm
Best/Worst fan moment?
The best experience was at a history-specific book group. We had an intense, lively discussion about history and royalty, schmoozing about the lives of these long-dead royals as though we’d known them personally and were discussing the wild behavior of our next-door neighbors.
— Juliet Grey, Confessions of Marie Antoinette
I once met a woman while putting out “swag” on the festival goodie table. She picked up my bookmark and then asked me what my book was about. After I gave her a brief description of Beneath the Surface (which features a heroine who is an amputee), she hugged me and then pulled up her pant leg. She was an amputee and said it was hard to find books that featured main characters with disabilities.
Once on a historical fiction and romance panel a woman asked, "What did they do with their time back then before TV and the internet? There would have been nothing to do but make love all day." My first reaction was: “You idiot, they worked their butts off because they didn't have things like washing machines and prepackaged food.” But really, if we're talking about the upper classes, the women would just be waiting for their clothes to be washed and food to be prepared by servants. So did some of them "make love all day?" Maybe!
A few weeks ago I got an IM from a co-worker saying, “I just wanted to you to know I'm reading your book, Sweet Revenge. I promise I'm not stalking you.” I was curious and a little nervous. I do try to keep a little separation between my worlds. She said she saw it in her Amazon recommended reads, and she always checks out the author pages. She told her husband, ‘I know that lady.’ He said, ‘You always say that.’ But she really did!
— Vivi Dumas, Soul Catcher
A woman once contacted me to say she enjoyed my vampiric version of Pride and Prejudice. Noting her email had a North Carolina connection, I answered to tell her of an upcoming book signing. Her husband told her, “She didn’t really answer you. They have people to do those kind of things for them.” Thankfully, Kim ignored her husband’s advice. She is now one of my dearest friends.
— Regina Jeffers, The Mysterious Death of Mr. Darcy
I had received a scathing review from someone (not even the kind of review that makes people want to go see how bad the book is) and was crushed. She showed up at the book signing and wanted me to sign a book. I was gracious and professional and didn't even sign her name wrong.
It happens at least once a festival where my books are mistaken for Inspirational Romance, because of the word “Soul” being in the titles. Soul Reborn, Soul Awakened, Soul Unbound. You get the picture. Not that it is a bad experience, but can be awkward explaining to the reader that it is an adult paranormal romance based on Egyptian mythology, and ah-yes, there are some very steamy scenes. Often there is a pause, the OH moment, and then a smile. The best moment is when they laugh and ask for a copy.
— Jean Murray, Soul Awakened
At my first book signing, the bookstore set me up in the middle of the entrance, and as people walked in and saw me sitting by my lonesome next to a giant stack of books, I could see the horror in their eyes. Finally, some kind woman took pity on me and assured me that even though she wouldn't be buying a book, she was a big fan and had read "all" my books — which was nice, except at that time, it was my first and ONLY book.
— Cheryl Klam, The Pretty One
Who are you most excited to meet?
I am most excited to meet everyone on the Food for Thought stage! Food is my entertainment, hobby and passion. It’s how I feed my soul (and body). I have 300 cookbooks (and counting) and use them all. I’m bound to pick up a few more this year!
— Lisa M. Airey, Touching the Moon
I'm pretty excited to meet Jeri Smith-Ready and Jennifer L. Armentrout. I get all swoony over Zachary and Daemon, and I refuse to believe that makes me a Cougar.
— M.D. Waters, Archetype
What's so awesome about the Baltimore Book Festival?
I love to hear authors read their work in their own voice. It just feels so personal to me and when they talk about writing the book and developing those characters and the plots, I get shivers.
Hanging out as a reader and talking to strangers about books. It's a great opportunity for people watching and the event attracts a very diverse and quirky crowd, appropriate for the diverse and quirky city.
Janet Mullany, Tell Me More
My favorite part is getting to spend a whole weekend with my writer friends talking books and meeting readers. What could be better?
— Laura Kaye, Hard As It Gets
Only some of the Baltimore Book Fest books we're giving away!
Comment below on your favorite part of book festivals for a chance to win a signed copy of every book listed by the attending author’s name (that’s a lot of books!). This contest is open to U.S. residents and ends next Thursday, September 26. And don’t forget to stop on by if you’re near the Baltimore Book Festival next weekend!
UPDATE: The winner is Jessica Claypole