When we got to the store, probably an hour before the event started, there was already a bit of a queue forming so we grabbed a copy of 'NOS4R2' (a full-priced hardback copy for the pricey sum of £18.99 - shame on you for cashing in on Joe's fans Waterstone's!) and joined the back of the rapidly growing queue. And yes, this is Britain so of course every so often you could hear somebody asking what the queue was for. You know us Brits and our obsession with queueing.
Eventually we were seated and I started to get super excited. It's not everyday you get to meet a legend now is it. And then suddenly, this bearded bloke in a Hemingway tee shirt shuffled up the aisle asked us to smile for Twitter, took our photo and said he had to leave now and headed off back the way he came. It was then that I realised what a genuinely funny guy Joe Hill was going to be.
When he came up to the lectern and read the prologue from his new book, I felt a little like a child being read to by her father. Joe did the voices of the characters and even some weird little actions. I actually didn't want him to stop reading. I could have listened to him all night. But he had to move on to the question and answers session, which was pretty interesting. He talked about 'NOS4R2', the process of writing it, the re-drafting and the editing and then he told us about a comic book he's planning that is linked to the plot. He told us about the 8 foot tall Tardis he has in his living room that opens onto his study and about why he will never write for Doctor Who (they've never asked an American to write an episode).
And of course somebody had to ask about his dad and why he chose to drop his famous surname and write as Joe Hill. He was open and honest, telling us about how he didn't want a publishing house to accept a mediocre manuscript because he had a famous Daddy, that he wanted to be published on his own merits. Which is exactly what happened. He told us about how he originally steered as far away from horror and speculative fiction as he could, choosing instead to write New Yorker style pieces about suburban families and their troubled teenage kids. And how it wasn't until he accepted that he needed to write what he wanted to write that he wrote something good enough to get published.
It was a great night that ended with a chance to get our books signed and have a photo with the guy who I've now decided is one of the coolest writers around.
|*My girlfriend wasn't really wearing a mask, she just doesn't want to appear on my blog*|