Anyway, today kicked off my first official UK tour day. Fixing my hair turned into quite an adventure. I had to buy hairspray and am glad it doesn't go by another name here, like 'strand hold.' I have one US outlet in my room that handles my laptop and phone charger just fine but made the whole room start buzzing when I plugged in my flat iron. This made me pause and consider whether my hair was worth shorting out the hotel. I decided it was.
Once my grooming was attended to, I met up with the people at Puffin Books, the Penguin imprint that publishes VA in the UK. Everyone there was really nice, and I signed a mess o' stock for them. I was also interviewed by Isaac from Spinebreakers, Puffin's teen reader group. Afterward, I hopped a train with Hannah and Jayde from Puffin publicity, along with makeup artist Sonia. Why a makeup artist? Stay tuned.
I was excited that the train had a Harry Potter style trolley selling refreshments up and down the cars. For those who were surprised we don't have that in the US, what we have is a snack car that you actually have to *walk* to. The nerve. Anyway, an hour or so later, my entourage arrived at Waterstones in Southampton, where good times promptly ensued.
Not to further stereotypes, but this British crowd was very polite and we had a good time. And of course, the T-shirts came out to play:
And kept on playin'...
This St. Vlad's student makes no secret about her allegiance:
Tonight's signing also went one step further than shirts. Remember the makeup artist? Well, here's what she was doing with my new pals, the Ilyanou Family. (I think that's how it's spelled, though I don't think it's their real name). A note to Cheshire folks: you don't have to get full makeup at your signing. You can just get bite marks or monlija marks.
Those certificates they're holding declare them students of St. Vladimir's aka Vampire Academy. This now opens the road to Vampire Community College and Vampire Entry Level Position. Naturally, this type of enrollment involves a vampire name. And we all know there's only one way to get one of those: A SPINNING WHEEL.
Meet the vampire random name generator, the brainchild of Hannah from Puffin. As you can see from the picture, it's got you covered on a lot of levels. Spinning each level gives you a random result to string together into a vampirific name and title. Pretty sweet.
But let's not let this new stuff diminish T-shirts. In this picture, I don't realize the awesomeness that's about to step up to my table:
Check it out! The first *3-D* VA shirt I've seen. Not sure if you can tell, but Rose there is made of cut-out fabric and yarn affixed to the shirt.
And, of course, all book events follow with stock signings for the store. I've still got the smile here, but I think some tiredness is showing--as was the knowledge we had to hurry and sprint out of there to catch our train back to London.
Fortunately, we made the train just fine, and I was relieved to be back in my hotel room so that I could blog all this goodness to you (and get some sleep). Tomorrow I'll be heading up or over or wherever Cheshire is for more good times. The name generator and makeup will be there too...get ready!
Thanks very much to the folks who braved the weather tonight to come see me and to Waterstones for hosting such a lovely event.