If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time at all, you should know by now that I absolutely LOVE anything that VE Schwab writes. She’s pretty much my hero, and I don’t hesitate for a second to pre-order when she puts a new book out. The amount of work she does and the sheer quality of her stories blows me away every time, leaves me in awe.
And now that I’ve had the chance to see her during her tour for the re-release of her debut, The Near Witch, I’m even more impressed and inspired than I was before! Because of that, today’s post is all about recapping Wednesday’s nights event and sharing as much of that incredible experience with you all as I can!
Wednesday evening, traffic and miscommunication meant I reached Villa Milano in Columbus a little after 6:00, even though I’d meant to get there at 5:30, when the doors opened.
Turns out, that’s long enough to fill a venue meant for about 300 people and leave very few seats.
Honestly, I didn’t mind. I got my free copy of Vicious at the door, found a seat in the corner, and got to chat with the other stragglers who ended up sharing the table. It was AMAZING to spend an hour waiting for V by talking with other people who love her books as much as I do. My poor aunt was a little lost (she was my ride to the event), but in that hour, I think my table convinced her that she should catch up, maybe even start reading that copy of Vicious while we waited.
Easily the best part of the event, though, was at 7:00, when V came on stage and started the event proper. She kicked things off talking about her dog, Riley (who is, in V’s words, “a buzzsaw” who can chew through table leg in a day), and about The Near Witch. TNW is the reason behind the tour, after all; it’s all about its rerelease, ten years later.
Interestingly, V said that she hasn’t made any changes to TNW even though she was offered the chance to. In her eyes, the characters are reflective of who she was when she wrote TNW at 21, and it’s an important part of her journey as an author. How she would approach TNW today is far different than how she approached it ten years ago.
She also talked a little bit about The Steel Prince and how different the comics process is, but also how much she really likes having the visual medium to work with! She says it’s been tough, since she has to be thrifty with the 22 pages per issue, so she can’t do the full page spreads with a single major action on them that she’d like to do, but she’s enjoyed the challenge of restructuring for the medium, and the chance to work with folks in the comic industry that she particularly admires.
After talking about TNW and TSP, the Q&A session began, and V was a DELIGHT. Her enthusiasm made for wonderful, full answers, and the answers themselves definitely caused a stir more than once. The whole room was hanging on her every word about The Invisible Life of Addie la Rue, and some of the things she revealed about the Shades of Magic series and the upcoming Threads of Power series had us all OVER THE MOON.
You might notice I’m being a little vague right now, and there’s two reasons for that. One, I was so excited that I completely forgot to take notes, even though I meant to. Oops! Two, V said she didn’t have a publicist with her, and that she’s been in trouble before for saying too much. In light of that, until certain things are officially announced, I’m going to avoid specificity. All I will say is that there’s wildly exciting news for pretty much every shade of Schwab reader, no matter which of her books is your favorite.
Besides the hush-hush things, though, I think my favorite point was when she compared a first draft to throwing a ball. You can have this shiny new idea in your head, the ball, but when you write the first draft, you throw that ball, and that puts you as far from the ball, from the perfect shape of that idea, as you’ll ever be. After that, revisions are equivalent to walking closer and closer to the ball, getting closer and closer to the shiny idea as it was in your head. For some reason, this struck me more than anything else she said, mostly because it completely altered the way I’ve been looking at my own first drafts. Throwing the ball and seeing it so far away is HARD, but remembering that doing the work of revision brings you closer again personally makes me want to keep at it.
Also, one of my questions was chosen right at the end of the Q&A! I asked which authors V looks up to. Neil Gaiman was her immediate response (hardly shocking if you follow her on any social media at all), but she also talked about JK Rowling and how reading The Sorcerer’s Stone as a kid totally changed her life and made her a reader when she really hadn’t been one before. She didn’t get into the recent JKR drama, but I don’t think any of us wanted to open that can of worms on what was otherwise a wonderful night, and it was also a night about V and her work, not about JKR running her mouth again.
After that, it was signing time! Which took two hours!
To be fair, it was unlimited books signed, with only one personalized per person. A lot of folks brought basically their whole collections, and they called people up in groups based on the letter on their ticket. I was in Group H, so…yeah, two hours.
But two hours WELL WORTH IT. V was incredibly sweet when I got to the front of the line, and when I told her that I was turning in my senior thesis proposal that night, she lit up and asked me if I felt free.
I said no, because I still have to write the thesis, but I also got to tell her that I plan to look at the Shades of Magic series in my thesis, which was a cool thing to share. V talked a little about how she went to grad school, so it was kind of cool to have a little geeky academic moment!
Plus, I got a picture! The staff running the event unfortunately was NOT taking very good ones, but my aunt managed to get a better one and I’m going to keep for basically forever since this night was so much fun.
— Meaghan 💛 (@hailandwellread) March 21, 2019
So in summary? The event was INCREDIBLE, and if you ever have the chance to hear V speak, I highly recommend it. She’s so lively and enthusiastic and open about things, and entertaining and relatable to boot. I had the time of my life Wednesday night, even if it meant I almost missed the deadline for my senior thesis, and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Not a single thing at all.
Now I just need to go make some time to read my shiny new copy of The Near Witch…
Have you ever been to an author event? If so, which one(s)? Who was your favorite? Or if you haven’t gone to see an author yet, who would you most like to go see? Let’s chat!