Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Visit to my British Publishers Hodder & Stoughton -- Part I

Look look look! Look! It's a book!


Always, this is the moment for me that a book really feels real: when I first hold the ARC (advance reading copy) in my hands. This is the UK ARC, and it is lovely and gold-foily and embossed and isn't that feather gorgeous?? 

This copy was handed to me, gift-wrapped, by my lovely editor at Hodder & Stoughton, Kate Howard, over breakfast our first morning in London.

Hi Kate!

I think my shriek of delight is still circling Regent's Park, startling birds from their nests :)

It was so good to meet Kate in person! She bowled me over so completely last year by flying out to Los Angeles to meet my agent Jane in person to put in her bid for the book. She wowed and overwhelmed us, and from the very first, we knew Hodder would be Daughter's second home.

Later, she sent me this by way of introduction to herself and her coworkers:

How could you not love them? (Blue hair and mustaches = Daughter references :-)

From breakfast we went to Hodder Tower, which is on Euston Road, the busiest street in London. I flat love going into publishing offices. The air of creativity and busy-ness and general book-makingness, all the cool stuff on the walls, the stacks and stacks of books, everything. It makes me so happy. Always, it's such a potent reminder that I am doing what I have always wanted: I write books! Thank you, publishers, for making this happen!

And thank you readers for reading. May you prosper and multiply! Here is every reader's task on this Earth: make as many new readers as you can, either by giving birth to them yourself in the form of babies, or vampire-style, by "turning" them. No biting though. (Unless you have good reason to suspect them of deliciousness.)

One thing to make me especially happy of the giddy variety: Hodder is printing a limited collector's edition of Daughter of Smoke and Bone, print-run 1,500, all beautiful and slip-covered -- SWOON! I am over the moon about this. I love special books you want to touch and hold. I can't believe there will be one of my book, and I can't wait to see what it will be like!

I spent a few hours signing the numbered tip-in plates.

I hid secret mustaches within three of my signatures, so if you do order the special edition (I will share details when it's available; I think it'll be around £40 or 50), check to see if you happened to get one!

So, it turns out it takes a long time to sign 1,500 pages, especially when you are getting to know wonderful people! Fortunately, I was fortified with cupcakes and marshmallows! Jim and Clementine had come with, and they stayed a little while but left as I settled down to the stack.

[insert here: interlude of Londoning with family and friends, to be covered in a later post.]

That night was a treat too: dinner at the Bleeding Heart French restaurant in historic Bleeding Heart Square, of which Dickens (Dickens!) wrote, "The more practical of the yard's inmates abided by the tradition of the murder." What murder? The murder, I suppose. In 1626, the beautiful Lady Elisabeth Hatton was apparently found in the courtyard torn limb from limb, with her heart still pumping blood onto the cobblestones. Charming! 

No, really, it was charming. I should have photographed the courtyard, but when I get excited, I forget to take pictures. Oh, look! A photo snitch:

swiped from Lynsey Newton :)

The waiters were all French, the food was fancy (I had sea bream), there were feathers on the table, and wine and champagne circulating. My goodness. Look, the walls are red. Also, the butter cups had little red hearts dyed in the centers.

In attendance were Hodder folk, James and Catherine from Sales, Katie of International Sales, Kate, and my completely darling publicist Eleni -- and this was cool: they had invited two bloggers! In the fabulous red dress, so perfect for the place: Lynsey Newton of Narratively Speaking; and Liz de Jager, originally of South Africa (I couldn't place the accent!) of My Favourite Books, wearing blue. Lynsey and Liz (who both brought my previous books, neither of which are available in the UK, so I was especially touched) received the very first two copies of the ARC to be given out, and I'm so glad. They are Daughter's first readers in the world! (I so hope they like it!)

So far, so marvelous. But the BIG EVENT was the next night. 

Okay, so here's where this post gets long. Are you still with me? My shutter finger was a bit overactive! This is where even my craziest writer daydreams are surpassed by reality -- an evening so surreal it still feels like a dream. (This did really happen, right? I mean, I have pictures!)

Francine, Kate's assistant, came to pick me up at the hotel, and we drove into the West End, London's glam theater district. Hello, giant shoe of lights (I would love to see Priscilla on the stage, wouldn't you?).

The occasion: Hodder's Annual Sales Conference, which they DO UP. All day, at a nearby cinema, they had been presenting their new list to the trade -- booksellers, accounts, reviewers, etc -- including debuting the new Daughter book trailer, which is so good I cannot beleeeve it, and can't wait to show you it! 

After, they would adjourn to the Café de Paris in Picadilly . . .

. . . this famous luxe nightclub from the 1920s, erstwhile host to Lord and Lady Mountbatten, young Princess Margaret swathed in furs, Orson Welles and Vivien Leigh, Frank Sinatra, Grace Kelly, and on and on. Cole Porter was a regular act, and many other jazz greats of the age, and the cafe was allowed to stay open during the Blitz -- a poor decision, as it turned out, as it was bombed in 1941 and eighty people were killed, including the musician on stage. It was rebuilt, obviously, and continued to be one of the city's top hotspots. 

I can't help imagining what Princess Margaret and her ilk would think on arriving to find this group of musicians lounging outside the door with their ciggies:

I know what I thought: 

Oh my word. My book lives.

Because here's the thing: the party was themed on Daughter of Smoke and Bone.


Upon entering the Café, you immediately descend through velvet and crystal.

And what, on this evening, greeted you at the entrance to the ballroom, where the two sweeping wings of stairs meet . . .

photo from Cafe de Paris website

. . . was this table, a set straight from Daughter:

Since no one has yet read the book, I suppose I must be mysterious here. But you might recall the line in the cover copy that says:

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

Well, this was that shop. And it. Looked. Awesome.

I arrived early, so I had leisure to gape and take pictures, thank goodness. I wanted to take the whole table home with me. Who did all this? Hodder had hired this amayyyzing firm of costumiers called Prangsta, based in London, which blends vintage garments with props and art to create bespoke tailored costumes for events -- along with appropriate and wildly inventive decor, and entertainment and actors. You can read more about them here, and gape at their galleries here. It was only the week before we left for London that Kate gave me any clue as to what was brewing -- it was going to be a surprise, but then they needed my measurements, so the cat was let out of the bag. When I saw Prangsta's website, I knew it was going to be phenomenal.

And it was.

Feathers and wishbones hanging everywhere.

Curious statuary in beast regalia.

Masks at every place setting.

And backstage, in Prangsta's costume "boudoir," the special stuff. The one-of-a-kind masks. And wigs. A Marie Antoinette bouf with antlers. A horned pig snout. Astonishing beautiful weird stuff.

And astonishing beautiful weird people.

This angel and devil had a role in things on stage later on.

The makeup artist: 

On the far right, Holly, who put me in my costume.

I had no idea what my costume would be, but I was hoping for horns.

I was not disappointed.

And . . . 

. . . because this post is so long already,

and because I think I'll be getting more photos from Hodder later this week,

I think I'll turn it into a two-parter, and cut away here. 

Forgive me.

I know I keep teasing about the costume.

So I will say this:

















My feet were not neglected.

Aha ha ha ha ha ha! 

Okay. Until next time. Cheers!


GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

Oh please post more photos-this is too AMAZING!! I want to be at that party. The costumes! The makeup! The sets, tables and masks! It's like a dream world come true!! And your shoes-LOVE them-I must find some just like that because they are just too cool! (Ok, my comment has too many exclamation points-obviously you can see how excited this post and your book make me. I seriously did a happy dance at the library when I found out it was coming out-just hope I didn't scare away any patrons:) Seriously, amazing party and amazing post-so so jealous!

johanna said...

Amazing, Laini!! Beautiful trip, incredible experience! Can't wait to see more...and read the book! xo

Sarah said...

OK...I thought I was excited for Daughter of Smoke and Bone before, but now that I've seen that party I can't wait until October. Actually, I can't wait until your next blog post because I'm SO curious about what ensemble is going with those fabulous shoes.

Fletcher of the Day said...

Hmmm...Now I see what you were up to while your husband and I were painting the town a purpley orange color....

Anonymous said...

Squeee! Laini, this is all AMAZING, and I'm so happy for you! You so deserve it, and I can't wait to read the book!!! Congrats! =D

Alexandra Saperstein said...

Oh my Lordy they didn't spare a thing!!! Brimstone's shop is extraordinary. I'm just so happy for you Fattae and I hope this brings many, many new readers by the thongloads to your doorstep. Not literally though, because I will be out lounging on the porch frequently eating donuts and watching Buffy (on the outdoor widescreen tv I'm setting up through Tyler). I don't want to deal with fans. But if that's unavoidable then I might open up a beignet and advice stand out on the front lawn. Smokeybone may bring many unexpected surprises!

Kiersten White said...

Has anyone seen my jaw? I lost it when it dropped to the floor.


Jennifer Morian Frye said...

Ohmyohmyohmy! Wow! I'm with Kiersten.....

Heather Davis said...

Wow, Laini -- what a fabulous party and amazing publishing peeps you've got supporting you in the U.K. So cool!

tone almhjell said...

Okay, so I read this post. No, that's not entirely true, I sort of devoured it, skimming, racing, staring. I blinked.

I took out the recycling. Blinked. Vacuumed the cat. Talked to the neighbour. Have no idea what he said.


First coherent thought: Is this what it's like to be published?

Second coherent thought: No. This is what it's like to become a SUPERSTAR.

Laini, you're DOING it! Congratulations just doesn't cut it. Need a new word. PROHUGELATION!

(Pro cause we're totally FOR this, not against, Hug cause that's what I'd like to do, and the rest is just elation.) Prohugelation, Laini!

Camille said...

I always knew that Daughter of Smoke and Bone was going to be amazing because your the author. I loved Your three previous book were great and I'm guessing this one will be also. But now that I've seen this.... I just can't wait to read it. It's looks amazing. Oh my! What story's do you have brewing. The scene looked amazing...and I am so jealous. Congratulations, Congratulations. I just can't wait...please tell us soon the rest of the story.

SarahWT said...

WOW, Laini - this is phenomenal! Think I woulda cried. And then danced a LOT. How wonderful it must've been to see your book brought to life like this! Excited for Part 2 of the story. :)

Jess said...

Oh, WOW. This looks amazing! I can't wait to see more pictures, especially of your costume! It looks like so much fun! What an author dream.

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

WOW! WOW! WOW! These pictures are so gorgeous and that is so incredible! I could look at these pictures all day!

Liz said...

You deserve it all! Strangely, I feel proud, as if I know you in real life, rather than through your books and blog.


Squee dance!!!

Faith Pray said...

Wow! You know how to pick a publishing house! The UK ARC is pluck-it-off-the-shelf-and-devour gorgeous! Your trip sounds astonishingly awesome. Cheers!

storyqueen said...

Dude! So unfair!! You can't NOT show us the costume!!! Man. Uncool.

Okay, I am getting up super early in the morning and I had better seem some new pix.

Or else.


On a different note, I keep thinking things cannot get any cooler for you, and they keep getting cooler!

So happy for you.


Laini Taylor said...

Thank you for all the awesome comments, everyone! This has been so amazing, and it's wonderful to share it. I've become such a blogger at heart. Even as things are happening sometimes, I can't help seeing them through the lens of "blog" :-)

More soon!

And Tone, thank you for coming up with a new word. I love it.

Lynsey Newton said...

OMG!! This is exactly why I LOVE Hodder, they have an AMAZING team!!! That party looks just WOW, how wonderful of them to do that for you! And what a tease you are for stopping when you did as we're all dying to see your costume ;)

So lovely to meet you, glad you got some nice photos and I'm especially glad you enjoyed your trip to the UK :D

Ina said...

This is unbelievable! Sooo amazing! Its brilliant that they did this, it must be the best feeling in the world for you to see your dreams/thoughts/ideas and ultimately ALL THE HARD WORK come to life! I hope you have many more trips like this and can't wait to get my hands (*fingers crossed*) on one of the limited copies!!!

Orchid Witch said...

They are obviously REALLY excited about this book..and YOU are the one who has elicited all this excitement...your words, your creativity!! Bask in this, you deserve it..and PUT your costume up..thats not fair!!!!

Suzanne said...

Amazing... gah, just AMAZING. I can think of no other word for this post. Just so, so cool.

paris parfait said...

How fantastic!! Could there possibly be a better UK editor for your book? I think not! So thrilled for you, Laini. (When it is published in Dutch, do let me know; would love to see you in Amsterdam).

MotherReader said...

That was crazy cool.

mel said...

omg - i can't believe i missed this one.

the costumes? *swoon*

most incredibly HUGE congratulations to you..i am beyond thrilled!!


(of course it's slightly weird seeing as we don't actually know each other but i envision a virtual fist-bump every time you do something awesome...it's the YA writer thing in me...:))

Jenn said...

That's so amazing your UK publisher brought out the big welcome mat. So nice and well deserved on your part. Your writing makes us so happy as readers! Congrats on all this success and glad the family had a good time.
Bestill my heart with cupcakes. mmm

Hardygirl said...

HOLY COW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Speechless over here. And, drooling.


Katie Anderson said...

Don't forget to tell us how to order that special addition. NEED

Evie said...

Wondering the same: how do we order the special addition?

Anonymous said...

I cannot wait to read the book!

UK Travel Blog said...

Great party & photos! I just bought Dreamdark and can't wait to read it tonight. Will write a review about your book later ;)

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