Because I'm a Nervous Nellie, I called Boswell earlier in the afternoon and played dumb.
"Hi, is the Jasper Fforde signing tonight?"
"Yes it is!"
"I know you're not psychic or anything, but are you expecting a big crowd?"
"Yeah, we are, we might hit capacity."
"Oh, so I should maybe leave work early? (I wasn't working yesterday.) I was thinking I'd get there around 6." (It started at 7.)
"Oh, yeah, definitely, leave work early for sure. I'd get there as soon as you can to make sure you get a good seat."
"Okay, I'll get there ASAP!"
See? Nervous Nellie.
So I left home a little after 5, and walked in the door at 5:45. They were just starting to set up the seats. *sigh* I didn't want to look overly excited or nervous or anything, so I casually bought the 2 newly published books and went for a coffee next door. By the time I got back, they had set up 2 rows of chairs. There were maybe ten people kind of milling around, trying to look like casual browsers instead of waiting for the appropriately early time to nab a seat - I was one of the 10. :) After the majority of the chairs were put up, most people ran to sit down in the armchairs and sofas that made up some of the rows. Why were they sitting so far away? I raced up to the first couple of rows - now, I didn't want to sit in the front row (too close and maybe too adoring?) and there was already a lady sitting there (the row composed of a whopping 2 chairs). I took the second row (3 chairs) and sat on the inside so I could have a more direct line of sight with Mr. Fforde when he appeared. Here's the view from my seat:
I asked the nice lady if she could watch my chair and books while I went to the restroom, and we both made the same joke about throwing elbows! By the time I got back she had moved to the middle front row, right next to me, so we were the first people that he would see. Nerds! We started chatting to pass the time, and she was so unbelievably nice and funny, we had a lot in common, and the hour flew by. It was great! Then, we started hearing rumors that Jasper was at the front of the store casually signing books and chatting with people, with a backpack over his shoulder. No way! My new friend and I were like a couple of teenagers, giggling and swooning about how awesome he is. By this point her husband had joined her and seemed half amused and half embarrassed by how she and I were quietly freaking out about this dude who writes.
The time finally arrived, and Mr. Fforde was nattering on (his words) about all sorts of things; how he writes, strange loopholes in classic novels, his love of "Alice in Wonderland". He spent a half hour just talking, and that didn't leave time for a reading of the new Thursday Next book, so he started answering questions. My cheeks were hurting from laughing and smiling so much!
After the excellent talk, it was time to get the books signed! Because my friend and I were there so stinking early, we were some of the first in line. Neither of us knew what to say that wouldn't seem overly gushing or creepy (or creepily gushy) - they talked about getting a hold of UK titles for a reasonable price, and then Jasper noticed that she brought in her first US edition of "The Eyre Affair", which got this reaction:
If I'm honest, I'm still a bit overly excited about the whole thing. Part of that is my new friend (Hi Erica!), but it's mostly because I finally got to see one of my favorite authors live and in person. The whole experience was only topped by another of my favorite authors, Bill Bryson, but it's quite a narrow margin between the two. Thanks to Mr. Fforde for his appearance, and for Boswell Books for hosting yet another amazing author event!