Hi lovelies, today I thought I’d share with you my experience one of my favourite authors, David Levithan.
On Saturday 28th March, I met up with my best friend Laura and hopped on the train to Liverpool. I decided to invite Laura along as she has never been to a book signing, and I thought she might find it interesting.
We had a good catch up on the train, including discussing Laura’s dismay over losing a favourite character in the TV show she’s loving. Once we arrived at Liverpool we went to Waterstones to pick up our tickets and went to get some lunch at Pizza Hut.
We decided to head to the venue a bit early so we could get some good seats. I wanted to try and sit at the front so I could hear David speak. What you may not know is that I struggle with my hearing, so if I’m further back and the mics fail I could miss hearing the answers. When we arrived it was still rather quiet, so we got on the front row and we waited for David to arrive.
David arrived along with one of the booksellers, and he began by reading a scene from his recently published novel, Hold Me Closer. This is a companion novel to Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which was co-written with John Green. I loved hearing him read, it’s always my favourite part of these sorts of events (because I’ve been to loads…well… two). I think it brings something extra to the words that are on the page.
After he finished reading from his new novel, the bookseller went on to ask David some questions. Most of the questions focused on the experience writing the companion novel, and writing the story of a character that wasn’t originally his own creation. He explained that it felt like the right move, and that the character had developed between them both. John Green gave him full support in writing this book, and I think that’s fantastic. David is hoping to see some of the musical numbers in the book produced by fans, and really enjoyed coming up with the songs especially because he admits he cannot hold a tune.
The floor was opened up for questions, and as ever, there’s that awkward pause when nobody wants to go first. Thankfully David gave a funny commentary about the moment to break the ice and then the first question was asked. That question was ‘The majority of your novels are set in New York, can you tell us where your favourite places are there?’ to which he explained that The Strand bookstore (I really want to go there!) is one of his favourite places, even sharing a funny story about the cashier recommended one of his own books to him, not recognising him.
One of the things that really interested me during the Q&A portion was that he revealed that when he writes he doesn’t visualise the world or characters. He likes the reader to suggest their own image of the characters so he doesn’t really describe them. Apparently, 75% of authors he’s spoken to about that find it weird and I think I’d agree with the majority too. I got the courage to speak up and ask a question, I asked about co-writing and that whole process as opposed to writing alone. David explains that writing with other authors are his favourite because it takes his writing to another level, and that he sends chapters back and forth via email. I love hearing this because I always think working with other people is a great way of experimenting and like David said it can really make you discover things you wouldn’t have solo.
Once the question portion was over we all queued up with our books to be signed. I had 12 books for him to go through which he thankfully didn’t mind. After all, like he said it’s not a bad problem to have is it! Whilst he was signing all of my books I was asking him questions about his trip, and what it was like to have a film produced from his work. He explained that he really enjoyed the whole affair because (as mentioned previously) he doesn’t visualise as he writes. We discussed his cameo in Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist adaptation, and that he really enjoyed the experience which was conveniently filmed about 5 blocks away from his office.
It really was a wonderful day, and a privilege to meet one of my favourite authors. He’s a lovely person, and I can’t wait to go to his next book signing. Huge thanks to Waterstones in L1 for hosting the event.