When you take a group of YA book lovers and put them in an independent bookstore with an author to answer questions and sign books you’ve got the perfect set-up for a successful author event.
Kristi Cook, author of the Winterhaven trilogy, signed copies of Eternal at The Voracious Reader on Friday, September 13th.
Cook used to work at The Voracious Reader as a bookseller and was thrilled to be back for a signing.
“It feels like home! [Owner] Francine truly loves books and it shows in her store. Every detail always seems perfect at Voracious signings, and this one was no exception, right down to the gorgeous butterfly-adorned cupcakes in Eternal colors,” said Cook.
Francine Lucidon, owner of The Voracious Reader, was equally thrilled to have Cook back.
“Kristi makes an event wonderful for a lot of the same reasons she was a terrific employee. Her intelligence, her humor and graciousness shine through. Plus she makes a mean goodie bag,” added Lucidon with a smile.
Both Cook and Lucidon were happy with the turnout. Bloggers, teenagers, parents and even other authors showed up to celebrate the last book in the Winterhaven series.
Cook read from the firs chapter of Eternal, answered questions from readers, and signed books. Her goodie bags were filled with confetti, candy, signed posters and bookmarks.
Of course, when it came time to talk about Eternal, Cook knew it would be bittersweet.
“On the one hand, I’m excited to share the final chapter of the story with readers. But on the other, it’s so sad to say goodbye to the characters and world that I’ve come to know so well,” said Cook.
Despite the sadness, Cook said Eternal was one of her favorite books to write.
“I think it’s my favorite because I felt like I knew the characters so much better as I was writing it. Plus I finally got to the pay-off for all the plot threads I’d been working on throughout the series,” said Cook.
As for the weakest book in the trilogy? Cook believes it’s Mirage, the second book in the series.
“With the exception of ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’, I think it’s really hard to be a ‘middle’ story in a trilogy. As a writer, you don’t want to write a middle book that’s simply filler — you still need a strong story arc that’s moving the series’ overall story arc toward its conclusion. But even a well-done middle book, like Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, generally ends at a point where readers are kind of left hanging. You’ve moved that much closer to the overall conclusion, but you’re still not there yet,” said Cook.
Cook was bombarded with one constant question: whether a Winterhaven sequel or spin-off would be a possibility in the future. Many readers begged for a spin-off with Tyler, one of the more popular characters from the series.
Cook said she wasn’t sure.
“I’ve toyed with the idea of a spin-off series set at Summerhaven, Winterhaven’s sister school in California — maybe just focusing on the characters’ psychic abilities rather than throwing some paranormal creatures and drama into the mix. But it might just be time to move on,” said Cook.
Lucidon said her most memorable part of the evening came when talking to Cook about the connections they had made that night.
“To be a place where writers and readers connect deeply is the dream of just about every indie. We make it personal and playful and I love that Kristi reminded me of the importance of that,” said Cook.
Overall, Cook said the signing was fabulous and her favorite part was the Q&A.
“For me, interacting with readers is absolutely the best part about being an author. I write in such a vacuum – characters and worlds exist in my head, and most of my work time is spent sitting at my computer alone. When I discuss my books with my critique partners, editor, agent, it’s in more technical terms. So I love to chat with readers and hear how they responded to the story and characters—what they thought about this plot element, or that development. There’s nothing more rewarding than hearing that one of my books made a reader smile or laugh or cry. I’m also a voracious reader myself, and I love to chat with readers about books in general,” said Cook.
Cook is currently the final revisions on Magnolia, a young adult novel that comes out next summer with Simon Pulse, and is also working on a proposal for a science-fiction manuscript. For more about Cook, visit her website. For more about The Voracious Reader, visit their website.
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Photos by Merideth Maresco.