Holman reports on his trip to WI10 in Asheville:
I had a wonderful few days in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina attending the American Booksellers Association’s Winter Institute 10. I arrived on Saturday night and stayed at the Renaissance Hotel, along with all the other overflow guests who couldn’t get a room at the historic Grove Park Inn, where WI10 was actually being held.
No matter, because those staying at the Renaissance were steps from downtown Asheville, and the beds there were absolutely amazing.
On Sunday during the day, I took a tour of the historic Biltmore Estate, the largest privately owned house in the United States, built by George Washington Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. My wife and I happen to be fans of Downton Abbey, so I was thrilled to be at the Biltmore Estate while it hosted an exhibition called “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times”. In many of the rooms of the Biltmore Estate, there were actual costumes from Downton Abbey displayed. Here’s a picture of the library:
Sunday evening featured a reception at The Venue, which was extremely well attended. And this is only one of the two rooms the reception took place in!
Scholastic authors who appeared included Pam Muñoz Ryan, Dan Gemeinhart, Ally Carter (whom I had the pleasure of meeting), and Sarah Weeks (who’s book Glamourpuss was an instant hit with my daughter when I brought it back home).
On Tuesday, I visited Malaprop’s Bookstore in downtown Asheville, but somehow missed the wall of headshots they had set up honouring visiting authors attending WI10. However, I did manage to find this image of Rebecca Dinerstein on Twitter standing in front of the wall. I’ve circled the image of me in the background (yay, made the wall of fame!).
In the early afternoon, I stumbled into one of the ballrooms at the Grove Park Inn and witnessed an amazing spectacle: the bookseller “Speed Dating” session (Day 2) where book reps give lighting quick pitches of their top books for the coming season. This photo actually doesn’t do justice to the number of people in the ballroom, and the beehive of activity that the speed dating session was!
Later on Tuesday in the Grove Park Lobby, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Canadian David Usher, as well as Danish crime writer Jakob Melander. They both have books coming out with House of Anasi Press. Here they are just before the start of Tuesday night’s Author Reception.
And speaking of Author Receptions, here are some pictures of my table before and during the event.
I had the great pleasure of sharing a table with Tamara Ireland Stone, who’s YA novel Every Last Word (Disney-Hyperion) will be released on June 16, 2015. Since our Epic Yarns series is licensed by Lucasfilm, now owned by Disney, I guess you could say Tamara and I were the double-Disney table!
The response from booksellers to Star Wars Epic Yarns was absolutely incredible! From the moment I picked up my silver Sharpie to the moment we ran out of books to give away (a good problem to have), I barely had a moment to even grab a sip of water! There was a constant stream of people coming to my table to chat, get signed copies of A New Hope, and ooh and aah over the felt figures I had brought. All and all, it was a wonderfully successful evening. Many thanks to Rachel Geiger from Chronicle Books for all her help that night!
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I had what was quite possibly the best meal of my life at Cúrate afterwards (Spanish tapas). Highlights included the octopus, the raw trout, and the fried eggplant.
My wonderful dinner companions included Rachel Geiger, as well as:
- Linda Devlin from Linda’s Storytime in Monroe, Connecticut;
- Heather from Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona;
- Sarah Pishko from Prince Books in Norfolk, Virginia; and
- Maryelizabeth Hart from Mysterious Galaxy Books in San Diego, California.
ABA WI10 was a wonderful event that showcased the strength and vitality of independent booksellers. I greatly enjoyed meeting so many committed indie booksellers, and with any luck, I’ll get to visit a lot of their stores in the future!
Star Wars Epic Yarns images © 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. STAR WARS is a TM of Lucasfilm Ltd.