Though the crowd was very underwhelming (maybe 15 of us attended), it was probably to our advantage as many of the night's activities were made that much more intimate. It was like we were sharing in our own group of private jokes. Of course, this is not advocating for leaving all your friends at home, but if you arrive and don't see a huge crowd, don't you dare chicken out! You won't want to miss these guys.
Now, the event features four authors...
Cat Patrick caught a bad stomach bug for the Portland stop...
...so the remaining three improvised!
Yes, that's right, Cat was represented by a Bratz Doll bust, pictured on the right, and sat beside her latest book, Revived, on the table top. "Cat" was backed by her clever compatriots, Sean Beaudoin (The Infects), Kevin Emerson (The Lost Code), and Martha Brockenbrough (Devine Intervention) who offered a very welcome change of pace as author events go, despite being a (wo)man down on the night.
The evening started out with trivia. Aided by his daughter's microphone, Sean walked through the audience and had them pull a slip of paper out of his hat, which he read (using the mic of course) and asked which author this factoid was about. A correct answer earned a small prize, like a Thor Pez dispenser or one of Kevin's band's (The Board of Education) CDs. For example, did you know Martha wrote questions for Cranium and Trivial Pursuit? Now you do!
Next up was a bit of information about the authors and their books. Of course, to make it interesting they were strongly encouraged to use a shout-out word from the audience in their response. The word of the night was "Moist". So if they were to describe their book in only 6 words... Boy and girl explore MOIST city (Kevin). There were standard questions, and not-so-standard questions, both informative and funny. And most importantly, everything was spoiler-free!
But next came the funniest part of the evening, the speed-reading section! Each author had their book in-hand, and a 1-minute time limit. Sean (or Kevin) would shout out page numbers, and the author-in-turn would have to flip to that page and read the best sentence (or first they could find) on the page. The object was to get as many as they could within the time limit. As if that wasn't hilarious enough, part two of the challenge was audience-driven. All three authors were to flip to pages that we shouted out and read as quickly as possible. Then they traded books in-between. One page-race was too much for Kevin (I believe, though it might have been Sean) who ripped the acknowledgements page from his book.
And lastly, before the signing, we were all asked to pose for the authors! First was zombies, then came fish-people, and lastly angels, to go along with each of the books. Unfortunately I'm out-of-frame in this one, but you might recognize local blogger the Novel Novice there in the front row!
So there you have it, the You Are Next Tour features some off-the-wall activities, quirky authors, and a whole lot of FUN. Be sure to catch it in your area if you can!