Weird and Wonderful Time at Waldenbooks

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure of doing a signing for Twilight and History at the nearby Waldenbooks. Fortunately, it was not an experience like Parnell Hall describes in his absolutely hilarious song  and video about how depressing it is to have a book signing that no one attends. Every author has had these, I imagine (I certainly have). My husband still dines out on the story of the signing at  Barnes and Noble when he was elated to find four people waiting for him to get there, and they were the only ones who showed up the whole time!  We had a steady crowd, including one dear thing who looked at the book, looked at me, then said, in motherly tones, “Well, I’ve never read your books, but my daughter and her friends are just crazy about them.” She seemed rather startled when I assured her I was not actually Stephenie Meyer. (That was the weird part)

The signing was good not only because we had folks stop by, but also because the Waldenbooks folks, apparently going for a theme, set me up with a charming , hard-working author and her adult vampire novel (her description; I don’t think it was pornographic, but she was going for the more True Blood than Twilight crowd). We passed the time between passersby and customers chatting about writing, reading, and religion. As she is a practicing pagan and I am an evangelical Christian, one might think the conversation was unpleasant, but in fact, it was delightful, and we parted warmly with well wishes for each other’s success. My table-buddy was respectful of my beliefs, as I was of hers, and I hope I was able to respond positively to some of her problems with the version of Christianity sometimes on display.  I also learned more about neo-pagan beliefs.  Considering the recent rise from its shallow grave of  the “Harry is the Devil” tripe, I was particularly intrigued by her assertion that the  Wiccan crowd generally  find Harry cute, but not even close to being a representation of their beliefs, and kind of demeaning, probably the same way the Puritans would regard Thanksgiving decorations. She was very clear that the magic in HP was the not the feminist/ Goddess-worshipping/ animist faith of modern pagans.

Basically, what they like about HP isn’t the magic at all, but its emphasis on positive feelings, wonder,  and strong, smart females. Have any of the Harry haters interviewed actual Wicca or pagan folks?  I wonder. All in all, a fairly wonderful experience (even with being mistaken for Meyer, whom I seriously doubt would be set up at the Boone, NC, Waldenbooks hopefully saying hi to the mall shoppers!)


  1. Arabella Figg says

    What a delightful story! For several seconds, until the shock wore off and you responded, you got to be Stephenie Meyer, famous author, in someone’s eyes. I’m sure a hopeful Meyer spent her time in mall bookstores, too.

    Your conversation with your fellow author shows we needn’t be on the same page as others to appreciate and enjoy them, or learn from them. What great insights you got into neo-pagan/Wiccan thought, especially about Harry Potter. Seems Wiccans appreciate many of the same things Christians do about the story. Her thoughts are similar to other Wiccans’ I’ve read.

    Everyone be sure to get Twilight and History. It’s invaluable for understanding the context of the Twilight world and characters, and greatly enjoyable (not “dull history” at all). Elizabeth’s two essays (on Jasper and Emmett) are terrific!

  2. Elizabeth says

    Thanks, Arabella, it was an interesting experience! I do hope the author I sat with has great success with her book; she seems to understand, as few authors do, how much work it takes to be successful at writing fiction.
    This was the first time I’ve been mistaken for a celebrity, though Sharyn McCrumb (who put me onto the great Parnell Hall video) once threatened to send me as a decoy version of herself to the flock of little old dears who descended on us at a restaurant and all wanted books signed while poor Sharyn was trying to eat! I think that actually qualifies more as being a stunt double.

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