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posted on Dragonmount.com
This past Friday, October 21st, I had the great opportunity to travel to Dayton, Ohio for Robert Jordan’s book signing at Books & Co. This was an especially enjoyable experience for me, as I was able to share it with my parents. We arrived at the signing at six o’clock, after my parents had driven from Columbus to Cincinnati, and then we all drove from Cincinnati to Dayton - about 175 miles together. By the time we arrived, the stage area was completely occupied, and we received line numbers 100, 101 and 102. We looked around the bookstore, and staked out a location near the stage in case Mr. Jordan would have time to speak.
Around 6:40, I spotted Harriet coming out from the back of the bookstore to look around. Because I had the extreme fortune to host her and her husband for segments of this past year’s Dragon*Con, I was really looking forward to saying hello, and took this opportunity to greet her. She was so friendly and said she was happy to see me. I told her I’d really been looking forward to the signing, and had brought my parents to meet them both and have their books signed. Then she said, “Jim is in the back, would you like to come say hello?” I started to say that I didn’t want to bother him, but then realized I was crazy and said, “Well, I’m not going to turn that down.” So she escorted me into the back room behind the cashiers to where RJ was signing books. We came in behind him, and she said “Jim, look who’s here,” to which he turned and said hello and asked how I was doing, and gave me a very warm welcome. I just stayed for a few minutes to let him know I was happy he’d come to Dayton for a signing, and was looking forward to introducing him to my parents because they were fans as well. He was busy signing books for some special requests of the book store, and so Harriet and I left and went back out into the store.
I walked with her for a little while, talking about how the tour had been going, and their plans while they were in town, and eventually we approached the stage where my mother was reserving our spot. I motioned for her to come join me, and introduced her to Harriet. We all chatted for a few more minutes, and then Harriet went to discuss the set up with the stage manager. I heard Harriet say “Will we have time for some Q&A before the signing?” and the manager reply “whatever he wants to do is fine.” Harriet said, “Well I think he would like to do that first then.”
So Mom and I retreated back to our staked out location next to the stage, and waited for Mr. Jordan to come out. I was very happy that they’d both remembered me, and seemed happy to see me, and told Mom about getting to go “backstage.” It was a great experience.
RJ came out onto the stage just after seven, and started by saying that he knew some of the crowd would probably be newcomers “that just picked up the first book…” and that he would start by clarifying some things. First, “the next book will be out very shortly after I’m done writing it.” Next, “the next book will be the last book, even if it’s 2000 pages, and you need a luggage cart to carry it out of the bookstore.” He also confirmed that he had come up with an idea that might be good enough for “outrigger” novels that would take place outside of the Rand timeline, but hadn’t decided for sure what to do with it. He concluded with a brief pronunciation guide (Ny-neeve, Ta-eem, Ah-eel, Shawn-chawn, Shawn-daar, etc.), and then opened it up for Q&A.
Most of the questions were either very basic, and have been covered in on-line records already, or were extremely specific, and difficult to understand unless you’re an expert in that area of the book. One question was for a RP group, and they asked “Would an Aes Sedai who has sworn the three oaths be able to link into a circle, but not lead it, that would be used to kill someone (not shadowsworn or attacking)?” He answered that no, an Aes Sedai wouldn’t be able to join the circle or participate in any way with anything that was against the oaths. Another person asked him what he was reading right now, and he mentioned that he had been reading work by Tad Williams and Greg Keys.
Following the Q&A, they started with the signing. My goal was to get a picture with myself, my parents and both RJ and Harriet. I knew from d*con that Harriet isn’t a big fan of having her picture taken, even though I think she is extremely photogenic. As they started to call the numbers around 80, I went to try to find Harriet as she was wandering through the store. Eventually I found her looking at some of the cards, and asked her if she would mind taking a photo with myself and my family. She was very nice and said that she would. We wandered around a bit more, with my mother joining us, before they called our numbers, and Harriet showed us some of the books she’d been looking at. She said she really liked Books & Co. and said that she thought it was one of the nicer stops on the tour. They called our number and we met up with my father at the stage, and I introduced him and Harriet. We talked for a few minutes while we were waiting, about her getting to see her Godson on their New York/New Jersey stop, and that I’d heard they were going to get to go to Alaska for a tour stop in 2006. She said that they had tried to combine the Alaska stop into the tour this year, but there was no way to do it without significantly modifying the tour that was already set up. So, RJ asked the tour manager “when are the salmon running?” and that decided when they would make it up to Anchorage.
We got up to the table where he was signing and I said hello again and introduced my parents. We walked around the table and took the picture, and then gave him our books to sign. There wasn’t too much time to chat because of the line, but I mentioned that we were all really enjoying the blog, and understood that he wouldn’t be able to post more than once every couple of weeks or so. He said that he probably wouldn’t be able to post much more frequently than that, and I said that we all understood and were really enjoying whenever he had time. After my mom, dad, myself and Harriet exited the signing area, I told Harriet it was great to see her again, and that I hoped to see her back at Dragon*Con again in a couple of years after the next book comes out. We all said goodbye and thanks, and my parents and I left to go have dinner.
It was a wonderful time, and I feel flattered that Mr. Jordan and especially Harriet took time to talk with me and my family and really make it a memorable occasion. I would encourage everyone to go to a signing if there will be one near your home, and to let us know how it goes.