BIG NEWS! About a month ago, I got an e-mail saying that I won the Epic Reads fall book tour sweepstakes! So this past week, the awesome team at Epic Reads flew me from Columbus, Ohio to Princeton, New Jersey to meet with their authors and attend the first stop on their book tour.
The women featured are Anna Carey, author of “Blackbird,” Amy Ewing, author of “The Jewel,” Heather Demetrios, author of “Exquisite Captive,” Madeleine Roux, author of “Sanctum,” and Andrea Portes, author of “Anatomy of a Misfit.”
And basically, it was the best Tuesday of my life. I was able to bring a guest, so I brought my roommate Julianne. We drove from Athens to Columbus at like 6 a.m., hopped on a plane to Philadelphia, and were greeted by a driver holding a sign that read, “Whitney.” He brought us to his swank black Cadillac and drove us to our hotel in Princeton. At check-in, the concierge gave us two warm chocolate chip cookies, WHICH IS APPARENTLY A THING AT HOTELS NOW. I KNOW. We got settled and then took a cab to the university. Princeton is an unbelievable campus. It is beautiful. It honestly looks like Cambridge or some estate in England. It’s amazing. And all of the students were so fashionably dressed and put together. I’m saying NO LEGGINGS. ANYWHERE. It was a beautiful sight.
Then it was time to go to the meet and greet. We sat in a Corner Bakery and chatted with the authors and the Epic Reads team. It was such a delight. The authors had never met each other before, so it was like we were all getting to know each other for the first time together. They had so many useful tips to share about writing and getting into the business, and are each genuinely friendly and funny and talented. I told them about my blog and my YA lit class and they seemed jazzed about it, which was rad. They gave us signed copies of their books with little notes of encouragement inside. (So far, I’ve read one and it was awesome. Review to come).
Afterwards, we headed to Barnes and Noble for the event. They were greeted by a big crowd of readers of all ages, from ten to thirty. THE POWER OF YA PEOPLE, IT BRINGS US TOGETHER. They chatted about writing and answered audience questions. What was really cool was that, even though they didn’t know each other before that day, they really balanced each other out in terms of their answers. They let each other speak and bounced seamlessly off of each other’s responses. There was an incredible group dynamic, which was entrancing and, to be honest, kind of enlightening.
The Epic Reads team was so great, too. We walked in to Barnes and Noble, and they were filled with this energy brought about entirely by the presence of so many books. And, you have to think, they work with books, they see them all the time, but they were still so pumped to be there and see all the new covers and editions. It just solidified my desire to someday work at a place like Epic Reads, with people who share my devotion to books. It’s real, people. And now that I’m a senior in college, that’s something I really need to consider. So it was really comforting to see that there are jobs out there somewhere that can foster my bookish tendencies.
It was an unforgettable, overwhelming, wonderful experience that I will always cherish. I’m so grateful to Epic Reads and the authors for one of the best days I’ve ever had.