Thursday, 15 July 2010

From one Norse loving writer to another - My evening with Joanne Harris

Well my summer holidays of writing, author meetings and more literary fun (hopefully involving a good dollop of my own writing skills) got off to a clap thunder and lashings of rain (due to Thor stomping around over Huddersfield with possible excitement) as I left via train to good old Jorvik (aka York) to meet Joanne Harris - author of Chocolat but my favourite book of all time - Runemarks! THE book to read whether you're young or old to rekindle the fires of the imagination with great visions of the old norse gods brought back to life with Joanne's magic voodoo of words.

She was at her own author event at Explore York Library Learning centre to launch the start of York City Big Read 2010 which has chosen her book Chocolat to be the book of choice this year. She gave a fantastic reading from both Chocolat and Lollipop Shoes (the sequel) and told many funny anecdotes about writing the book, her experience of it being made into a film and her views on all things chocolate.

After her talk she answered quite a few questions from the audience - alongside the rumble of Thor pounding over head again in praise for her attendance to this fabled viking city of the north. I kept trying to get my hand up but you'd be suprised how quick the many mature ladies in the audience were.

But she entertained us all and gave some very interesting answers. Then it was on to the booksigning and I thankfully got quite early into the que although it was still ten minutes before I came face to face with the woman who has given the Norse Gods a new lease of life in the imagination of many modern readers.

I came up to her cradling my own copy of Runemarks, her free giveaway copy of Chocolat and my camera, coat and bags dangling between my legs.
I gave her a delighted hello when she looked at me and said "I know you."
"Do you really?" I said in reply getting immediatly nervous and shy.
"Yes you're the one with the t-shirt, let me see."
So I gave her a super happy quick twirl showing off the now completed front and back design of my t-shirt - the words in runic style writing say on the back "There Are More Than Angels and Devils After Your Soul".
"Wow I love it! I'm quite jealous of you."
"Thanks." I beamed quickly muttering about how my own words form her wings from my humble WIP novel Soul Chaser etc. I nearly offered to make her one but I thought it might be rude asking her top size etc especially in front of so many fans glaring me from behind as they wait their turn.
I then politely asked her to sign Chocolat to my boyfriend's Mum who claims to have seen Joanne work her own young daughter to school many years ago and then asked her to personalise my copy of Runemarks which I bought already signed but it made it even more special to have it addressed to me.

I then managed to get a couple of photos taken with her - sadly the second one although better as it shows off my t-shirt was taken midway through me laughing so my face is half smiling half baring teeth which isn't very pretty - but here's the more successful and sophisticated one.

Two writers keeping the old ways alive

I skipped and hopped my way back to the que a huge buzzing sensation zipping along all my veins as if Thor had struck me with a friendly lightening bolt.

That evening in her company was my highlight of the year. She is so super friendly, cool and funny that it's hard not to wish you could become fast friends for life. But she has a fan for life in me.

May Frigg guide you and Freya guard you Joanne - may we meet again when you finally release Runelight the sequel to Runemarks which is only just beginning to be edited and rewritten.

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