We heard about projects including an upcoming trip to China (which now, a month later, he's just finished) to research a nonfiction book on China, and a short story about a man whose imaginary girlfriend comes to life (which he has since completed and had accepted). During the question and answer section, Neil made sure to get a couple questions from the overflow room, and took a few questions from kids (there were quite a few in the audience), including “Do you remember signing a girl’s foot in Portland?” He’s a fantastic speaker, and of course most of his fans already know he’s a wonderful reader. I’ve listened to his audio books before, but I was still sort of amazed at his vocal range with characters, particularly reading Odd and the Frost Giants. I really did feel as though I were a little kid again, listening to the bear voices in a faerie tale. Afterward he signed books and possibly feet.
Actually he’s a saint. He signed for everyone that wanted something. I’m not sure what time he left, but Matt and I finally made it out with our signed books at about 6 pm, and I know Neil was supposed to leave to catch a plane at 4:30. So yeah. Saint.
In high fan-girl fashion, I had sketched Neil a picture: a caricature of Neil. As he put it: “Oh, it’s me! Beekeeping! With a three-headed Cabal!” So I think he liked it, even though my friend Jack told me I was being creepy.
I was giddy, and emotionally drained from being giddy, for the next several days. It was an amazing day and I got to give Neil my drawing, and we got some books signed, and heard part of a new story, and got a teaser about what he was working on next, and generally heard him talk about what he does and what it’s like. It was an unbelievable way to spend a day, especially sharing it with Matt. Even if I didn’t get to eat more than a cookie and a half between waking up and 7 pm dinner. Totally. Worth it.