So if you’re part of the YA book-tok world there is absolutely no way that you haven’t heard of the Folk of Air series which includes The Cruel Prince, The Wicked King, and The Queen of Nothing. Holly Black has authored these as well as many other titles in Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction. She has now taken her first step into Adult Fiction with Book of Night which was released on May 3rd.
To celebrate her new release Holly Black is on a short book tour to a handful of locations across the United States. I was lucky enough to attend her signing in Nashville, Tennessee at a beautiful independent bookstore called Parnassus Books.
Each of these signings are independent events so I will be speaking about my personal experience at the event I attended.
Let’s start by introducing you to Parnassus Books. This intimate bookstore was opened in 2011 by novelist Ann Patchett and her business partner, Karen Hayes. They strive to offer a safe space for all readers and offer a location for authors to connect with their audiences as well.
I felt that this bookstore was well organized plus the staff were very friendly and helpful. I went to the event about 2 hours early just to enjoy the bookstore itself and in that time I was able to see staff assisting customers with book recommendations based on other books they like. They also have a section celebrating local authors, as well as a large collection of signed books. The in-store design is enchanting and enjoyable as well. If you are in or near Nashville please give this store a visit, I cannot recommend it enough.
As far as how the bookstore handled the event, I would say pretty flawlessly. Because of how early I arrived I was able to get seats in the front row but decided to sit in the second row instead. Signing in was as simple as scanning a QR code. The staff offered book pickups before and after the event and were extremely quick in handing the books out. The event itself started only five minutes after the scheduled time and if anything didn’t go as planned, the attendees were not aware of it.
I can’t make you wait any longer. I have to get off my chest that this was AMAZING, but now let me tell you why. Holly Black was in conversation with Hannah Whitten, author of For the Wolf an adult fantasy novel so this was a 2 for 1 event, you guys! Two amazing fantasy authors in one.
Hannah wrote a list of questions concerning Holly’s new release and asked her them before opening questions to the audience. All of Hannah’s questions she wrote in her magical notebook that she also writes notes for her books in, seriously I think that notebook is magic. Each one was thoughtful and it truly felt like a conversation more than an interview. Holly would bounce some of Hannah’s questions back at her and so we were able to hear a lot from both authors.
Out of respect for the authors and the hosts we were asked to wear masks and not audio or video record the event. Due to that, I won’t be sharing any specific questions that were asked during the event. Books were also pre-signed and personalized beforehand.
They both are very humble and enjoyable people and it never felt like they were talking down to the audience. They both even seemed genuinely excited to hear from us. A majority of the questions from the audience were about the writing process in general rather than the book itself, which I don’t think either author minded and made it easy to avoid spoilers since many attendees were getting their copies of the books that day.
The flow of questions was so smooth and they really tried to answer everyone’s. They even took questions up to the very last moment and I am pretty sure they let the event run overtime just to have more interaction with the audience.
The atmosphere from the event really was just a celebration by readers with authors they love so much. I really felt like Holly and Hannah are such genuine people and lovely to listen to. Although there was a small crowd there it felt like being in a room full of friends having a chat together.
In conclusion, I would indefinitely recommend going to a Holly Black or Hannah Whitten event or any event that Parnassus Books hosts. In general, I would recommend going to see any author you love because your support means more to them than you could know. Plus you might just learn something new, and that is always worth it!
If you want to read Book of Night or any of Holly Black’s other books you can find them on her website linked here: https://blackholly.com/
If you want to read For the Wolf by Hannah Witten or see what she is working on now, you can find that on her website linked here: https://hannahfwhitten.com/
If you want to support an independent bookstore by attending events or buying books Parnassus Books website is linked here: https://www.parnassusbooks.net/
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