What a nice surprise the last week or so has been. On the 9th, I happened across an article in the Wall Street Journal on an author that, up until that point, I have never heard of. Hugh Howey. He is the author of several books, but his most recent success has been Wool.
After reading the WSJ article, I hopped over to Amazon and picked up Part 1. I read it straight through in one sitting. I think it was around 11,000 words, and it read fast. I felt like I was right there next to Holston through his whole ordeal. When I finished the piece, I sat there and contemplated rushing back to Amazon and picking up the remaining 2 thru 5 parts of the story. Once I logged back into Amazon, I realized that the printed book was due out on the 12th, and that I might in fact wait to pick up a first edition instead. I’m a book nerd like that.
I ended up not buying the ebook and sort of forgot about the whole thing for a few days. Then, on Monday, I happened to be working on a story idea I had, and was hitting a “block”. That’s when I happened to be messing around the internet and happened across Hugh’s blog. I so wish I didn’t though. I ended up wasting more than a few hours reading some of his past blog posts. I read about his “adventure” with getting Wool through it’s current state. I was SO inspired, words cannot explain.
That’s about when I came across his book tour dates. To my surprise, he was scheduled to visit Denver on Friday at The Tattered Cover. I called the wife to see if we had plans for Friday night and she said we were clear. It was set. We were going to meet Hugh and pick up a first edition copy of Wool.
Fast forward to last night. I have only been to one other author signing, and it was for Clive Cussler. He also was at The Tattered Cover, but in comparison, the two authors paled in comparison. Clive had been wildly successful by that point, and was quite reserved. He showed up – sat down and started to sign books. Hugh on the other hand arrived and took pictures of almost every step of the way through the book store. He stopped and talked to anyone that would talk to him. He shook hands and truly made an effort to befriend his fans. It was truly a night-and-day comparison to the two authors.
As to not really knowing what to expect last night, we arrived about an hour early. We browsed through the book store for 5 or 10 minutes before making our way down stairs to where the even was to take place. There were some 6 rows of chairs set up with around 10 to 12 chairs per row. The room was practically empty. There was one woman sitting off to the right, and there were a few others walking around, scanning the books on the shalves along the sides and rear of the room. I had visions of the scene from 1408 where there are like 3 or 4 people there to meet the author in that movie.
We grabbed a couple copies of the book and found a few comfy seat off to the left. We sat and chatted about our week. A few at a time, people started to arrive. My daughter and I headed up to grab some coffee while the wife stayed back to hold our padded chairs. While we were waiting for our coffees, I glanced outside and there was Hugh walking up. He had a smile on his face, and he just looked like he was full of energy. He walked in and promptly took a picture of himself standing next to his placard sign at the entry. He almost immediately began to talk to people throughout the store. I was very surprised.
We made our way back down, and some 15 minutes later, Hugh made his way down stairs as well. He greeted a few folks standing around the back before making his way up front. We were seated just to the left of the podium and he walked up and began chatting with us instantly. We exchanged a few funny statements about wondering who the author was to demand the interest that he had garnered. He introduced himself and shook each of our hands. I was taken by complete surprise by just how down to earth he was. It was so refreshing. After our small exchange, he made his way through the first few rows, meeting others that had arrived. Before long, he was at the podium, talking, and answering questions. Before long, the question and answer time had passed. There were many great questions, and he answered them all wonderfully. If time wasn’t so tight, I could see him standing there answering many more questions for at least another hour without complaint.
Once the questions were over, he settled into a leather padded chair at the front and began signing book copies. We were about half way back in the line, and before we knew it, we were up to the front. I slid my book across to him and thanked him for being so inspiring to me, and asked exactly how. I explained to him that i was an aspiring author, and he just said to DO IT. Alicia was also there, but was a bit too shy to speak, so we told Hugh that she also wanted to write stories. He signed her book with best wishes on her writing. The wife was trying to take our picture while he signed the books, and he asked if we wanted a photo of all of us. I asked if he minded, and he smiled and said not at all. Again, I was a bit blown away by how approachable this man was.
All in all, it was an evening to remember for quite some time. I will aspire to achieve the same greatness that is Hugh Howey. I just need to actually write something that is worth a crap now.