“Thank you for coming”, the cool author of Asylum and Sanctum dressed in an awesome Game of Thrones-designed dress- Madeline Roux, tells me. “Can I get a hug?”, the warm author of the Evernight series with a chic persona-Claudia Gray, asks me.
I found out that Claudia Gray was coming here soon through one of my bookstagram friends named Pam. Hahaha. Imagine my surprise when I saw Stargazer, Balthazar and Fateful for sale at only 99 pesos each at National Bookstore SM Sta. Rosa! Then and there, I was hooked. I know a steal when I see one! Haha! I knew I had to adopt them three and welcome them to the bookshelf ♥
- Pre-signing happenings
Sure enough, several days later, @nbsalert (the official Instagram account of National Bookstore Philippines) posted this!
I could have hugged
Ate Pam a million times that day! Haha! 🙂 I was so happy that I have three of Claudia Gray’s books already! I knew I can have them signed!! Plus, not only is Claudia Gray coming, she’s coming with then-new-author-to-me Madeline Roux (who looks pretty in that poster and prettier in person, I swear to God) I kept my fingers crossed from that day on. 🙂
I asked my Tita Gel to come with me on October 18. She agreed. My hectic college schedule agreed. The weather agreed. Ohmygosh, everything and everyone agreed. My crossed fingers worked!
..and so I find myself typing about this once in a lifetime opportunity now!
- The Waiting Game
We arrived there at the National Bookstore Glorietta 1 branch at around 8:30 A.M. The mall officially opens at 10 AM so we had to wait for a little while. Even though it was a bit early, there was already a modes- sized queue. I was a bit paranoid because I think many of the faces I see are my casual friends from bookstagram but I was too shy to approach them haha! All the while, I was worried that they’d think I’m suplada. Hindi naman kaya 😦 Nahihiya lang ako. Haha. Plus, ayaw kong iwan yung tita ko na sinamahan ako! Haha!
- The Registration
At 10 AM, ganap na nagbukas ang pintuan ng langit. In other words, NBS’s glass doors finally opened and welcomed the people in line (including me and tita, yay!) . The line’s progress was not too fast but not too slow either-kumbaga, normal, something you’d applaud because most of the time when I have to wait inline, I’m quite impatient so I’ll say the line’s progress is like my lovelife’s progress-SLOW (Sinadya kong all caps yan hihi). Kahit na medyo nahilo ako sa paikot-ikot, akyat-stairs, system, okay naman kasi mabilis lang haha 🙂
I and my aunt were number 71 and number 72, respectively! We were happy because despite being not too early, we were still included in the first 100-the first 80, even 🙂 I also commend the staff who were in charge of the registration booth, they seemed friendly and helpful. Kung ako siguro yun, stress na stress nako kaya taray mode on. Hehe.
- Meeting a co-admin of BookishPinoys
After securing our booksigning passes, my tita and I just went around the bookstore because I told her I’m gonna find and meet
Ate Pam, my co-admin of the Instagram-based Filipino bookworm community BookishPinoys ♥ It makes me so happy to report that we weren’t awkward at all! May napag-usapan kami, may napagchikahan, even though it was the first time we met in person. ♥ After posing with her, (syempre dapat may phioto kami together hehe) my tita and I went off to lunch.
- The Waiting Game Part 2
After getting our passes and meeting Ate Pam, off to lunch we went. We ate at Yoshinoya. When we went to #VTRinPH, we ate there and very much enjoyed their food. This time around, super enjoy parin because it was so delicious! We enjoyed every crumb we ordered! Affordable pa, in fairness ♥ After lunch, to pass time and have WiFi access, we decided to have dessert at Sophie’s Cupcakes. I had the red velvet shake. It was awesome. ♥ We left around 2 Pm to go back to National Bookstore ♥
- The Interview Portion
Why 2 PM? Well, before the actual booksigning happens, there’s still an interview portion! ☺ We’re lucky enough to witness it. (Sidenote: I almost forgot to share that there were less people who turned up compared to how many I originally imagined. I think we were less than 300 but I’m just estimating. I’ve got mixed emotions for this estimate-I’m sad for the people who weren’t able to come but I’m happy because I knew I’d get more time with them authors later hehe) Granted, we were not given seats upfront or even on the back (there were a limited number of seats hehe) because we didn’t reserve them (as we chose to have lunch and stroll around instead of wait in there until the interview starts) , but we still enjoyed the interview portion because both authors answered the questions with witty answers.
To be honest, I can’t remember every question the fab interviewer* asked them. I regret this today because I know I could have packed a small notebook or something for complete documentation. Oh well, next time ? ♥ What I can remember as of this moment is the following though:
- Madeline Roux seems to be a freshgrad. (I can’t remember from where and from what course)
- Madeline Roux is also creeped out by some of the scary things she writes.
- Claudia Gray had all sorts of jobs, such as being a lawyer, before she decided to write full-time.
- Claudia Gray’s “A Thousand Pieces of You” will be released in the Philippines earlier than in the USA. #GrayAndRouxInPH will be the first booksigning event where she’ll sign copies of this new book.
*About The fab interviewer (idk her name 😦 )- I wanna share that ever since #GrayAndRouxInPH happened, I followed her on IG (@yvetteinmanila) and through sheer stalking skills, she has become one of my idols. ♥
Aside from viewing glimpses and hearing the banter of the interviewer, Mad and Clauds, the interview portion is also where I got to mingle with some bookworms. I met someone from the same University as me, Ate Yna, and a few other people I’ve now forgotten the names of 😦 (I really really really regret not blogging earlier)
StalkingObserving other intimidatingbookworms
After the interview portion, the real booksigning experience begins! As we were still number 71 and 72, we had some time to kill. What better way to do it than to
stalk err, observe other bookworms? For a short time, I hanged out with Ate Pam and she told me about some groups present in the vicinity. She told me that *right there* was a small group of bloggers (I later found out that these inspiring bloggers had their own mini conference with authors. Yes, I was jelly.) and that *right theeere* is the so-called group always present and most of the time the first inlines at booksignings.
As Ate Pam arrived so much earlier than I did, she got to get her books signed earlier than me. However, before she left me for Claudia and Mad, she introduced me to some bookish friends too. I don’t remember them now either but I do remember that I was in awe of everything and everyone. I remember seeing one or two fans who dressed up as characters of the books. I remember seeing some handing out trinkets and goodies to Mad and Clauds.
I had my first taste of booksigning happenings. My eyes were finally pried a little bit open regarding booksigning status quos. It was awesome, haha.
(Sidenote: My tita was just browsing other books while all this is happening hahaha)
- Meeting her: She’s cool, she’s fab, she’s Madeline Roux
Telling you about the mini butterflies that settled on my stomach upon hearing the hosts’ announcement that “numbers 61-80 are free to line up now” is useless unless you were meeting an author (whose book you haven’t read yet) for the first time. Yes-you got that right, when I posed with Madeline Roux, I just bought her book (literally a few minutes before I met her!) This fact makes me so sad because I would’ve had better questions to ask her and obviously I would’ve felt so much happier if I had read any of her books beforehand but alas- college life forbade me from doing so. I know there is no excuse but there really is! HAHAHA! At first there were no available copies in the mall I originally planned to buy the book from, a week before the booksigning. Another factor was that there was a sort-of hellweek the week I scheduled to buy and read her book before the booksigning even. The end result? I wasn’t able to read her book 😦
Well if you’re asking what made me have an idea about her and her books? Well…research, my friends 😉 HAHAHA.
I found out through research that her books reminded me of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children because of the creepy photographs. I used this tidbit of information when I finally got to meet her.
Here’s what I remember happening when it was finally my turn to speak to Madeline Roux:
M is for Madeline, R is for Rexy
M: Hi! Thanks for coming! Wow, Rexanne, that’s a nice name!
R: No prob! Aww thanks, that’s actually a combination of my mom and dad’s name!
M: Oh, that’s so cool!
M: *noticing the next book I was getting signed’s name is Novie Grace and not Rexanne* : Oh, is this for a friend?
R: Yes, she wasn’t able to come here but she really wanted to. There was a conflict in her schedule 😦
M: Aww that’s too bad. Well tell her hi.
R: *kinda awkward na hehehe* I’m so glad you can be here! Are you enjoying the Philippines so far?
M: Yes, yes, the Philippines is so nice! The people here are so nice!
R: I’m glad you think so. I hope you come back.
M: Well if given the opportunity I totally would
R:…*kinda running out of things to say* Uhmm… Your books kind of remind me of Ransom Riggs’ books. Have you read them yet?
M: Oh yeah, I get that alot! Actually, no, I haven’t read those yet because I want to stray from genres similar to what I write 🙂
R: Oh. *noticing I’m kind of holding the line already* Oh well, it was nice meeting you!
M: You two, thanks for coming! 🙂
*NBS Staff snaps an unflattering photo of me with her who looks flattering lol*
*I move in line and smile at her one last time*
…Thoughts? Well asdfghjkl I found her to be nice! I found our short time talking and posing together worth the wait! I found her cool and charming! 😀 I was flattered by the way she praised my name and held up her part of the conversation ♥ 🙂 To date, it’s the longest time I’ve ever talked to an author. To conclude my Madeline Roux experience, for an author that was unknown to me before a certain bookstore announced her booksigning event, if I can sing the A you’re adorable B you’re so beautiful song when asked to describe said author, after getting to know her a bit then that’s what I’ll probably do.
- Meeting the equally awesome other: She’s chick, she’s friendly, she’s Claudia Gray
Anyway, right after lining up for Madeline Roux, we moved lines and waited for our turn to meet the hip Claudia Gray. ♥ Unlike Madeline Roux whom I only heard of after NBS posted a poster of her booksigning, I’ve been familiar with Claudia Gray for a few years now.
I remember salivating over her Evernight books with pretty covers when I was younger. This time was around my Twilight-obsessed days back then. I remember wanting to start buying them and collecting them because I wanted everything that has to do with vampires. haha. #SorryNotSorry ;’)
Life interfered and other books took my fancy so one booksigning later, it turns out that I’m meeting one of the authors I’ve been curious about for a long time without having read her books yet too. Yes-you got that right, I attended #GrayAndRouxInPH without having read both of Gray’s and Roux;s books :O 😦 😦
I know, I know, shame on me. Still, can you blame me when I knew this was a golden opportunity that was too good to pass up?
So yes, there I went.
Where was I? Oh yes, I was waiting my turn for my Claudia Gray experience. Let me let you in on a little observation-that time, Claudia’s queue was significantly longer than Madeline’s. I’m sharing this not to maliciously announce that Claudia is so much more popular but just to give you a bit more info about what went on. I mean, let’s face it-they’re both NY Times Bestselling Authors. They’re both very popular, Haha.
While waiting in line, I had so many things in mind. I honestly don’t know what to talk to Claudia about. To be honest, I was still kind of recalling my “too cool for ya” Madeline Roux experience hehe. I decided to let the moment decide.
Sooner than later, my turn arrived. Here’s what I remember happening:
C stands for Claudia, R stands for Rexy
*a staff of NBS hands her a band-aid”
C: Wait, let me just put this here, I’m kind of afraid that my hand is starting to blister haha”
R: Oh sure!!!
*awkwardly waits while Claudia puts on the band-aid*
R *realizing she can be talking to her instead of just awkwardly standing and smiling*: So. Is this your first time here?
C: Yes it is, and I’m enjoying it!
R: Are you enjoying the Philippines so far?
C: Oh yes, indeed! It’s so nice here. I want to come back soon.
R: Awwww I hope you do!
C: Well if I’m ever given the opportunity I certainly will! *smiles at me*
R *kinda stupefied lol*
C: Can I get a hug?
R:*stupefied state intensifies. Doesn’t know what to say lol* Ofcourse!
*hugs* *poses for photo that we both look adorable in*
C: Bye, thanks for coming!
Well OMG I FOUND HER TO BE SO NICE AND ACCOMODATING! She. freakin. offered. me. a. hug. Me. I ♥ her! She’s so hip! 🙂 Her personality feels as warm as a newly-baked fresh batch of chocho-chip cookies lol. I deem the wait worth it too! Let me spell out Claudia in adjectives that will spell her out- C is for cultured (she was a journalist, lawyer and a writer, need I say more?) L is loving (hugs, dear God, hugs) A is for accomodating ( aww she was so sweet ♥) U is for understanding (because she understands that I was too stupefied to initiate convos and she took over hehe) D is for diligent (because she spelled out my name in the three books I got signed) I is for intelligent (because her answers in the interview portion certainly are and I believe she certainly is!) and A is for…adorable! (Like I said, her personality was like a batch of freshly baked choco-chip cookies! Haha) ♥♥♥
- Saying Byebye to my 2nd booksigning attendance
After the signing, we strolled around the mall, shopped a bit, ate dinner at The Pizza Warehouse (totally yum and affordable I tell ya), and strolled around abit more before heading home. We decided to use the NBS exit.
Then I saw this.
This is the stage for #GrayAndRouxInPH ♥ I managed to get this shot only because 9 PM na nun. As in, tapos na. Haha!
October 18 was definitely a happy day for me because I got to create memorable experiences. I met friends, I learned about booksigning status quos and then I got to meet, greet, and take a photo with two great authors. Last but not the least, I went home with a smile on my face! 🙂 Thanks for letting me share that experience to you by reading this.
Bye now, excuse this selfie! Hahaha!
P.S.- These are some of my books that I got signed ♥
PPS- even though I already met her personally, the way Madeline Roux noticed my papansin self on Twitter made my day. ♥
Till next blogpost! ♥