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Meeting Jasper Fforde on Tour

Hogwarts Express

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Edited: Mar 13, 2011, 10:01pm Top

Yesterday was one of the most amazing days I've ever had. I don't think anyone could understand that as much as you guys. I've been reading Fforde's books since 2003 right after reading Jane Eyre for the first time. For anyone reading this thread who has not read his books, they're incredible funny and typically are immensely enjoyable by readers of classics and those who love humor.

I arrived at the small bookshop ten minutes before Jasper Fforde was supposed to get started so seats were filled already, but for someone standing I had the best place and it was nice because I could see him better than if I'd been sitting. Despite him walking in with his Shades of Grey jacket it seemed hardly anyone noticed except me. I felt his introduction by the bookstore seller could have been better. Had I done it myself I'd have known more than just what was on those reading cards and could have put some energy behind the words.

Fforde had been running late and the second he got started talking he captured the audience very well, sharing that a parade had delayed him, but that the parade itself was not held for him. Fforde went on to say he had been to a parade for him before, just not that one since it wasn't. Goodness, if you think he's funny on paper. . . Once one round of laughter went on, there was immediately another almost for the entire time.

He talked for almost an hour before taking any questions, about his writing experience in general, his daughters having friends who think he's cool or funny for the daughters to say, "No, he's really not," and how his book tours made him realize he had to discover the answers to questions people have for him.

Fforde said before ever being published, he got a lot of rejections over years for his writing being so different. He knew they weren't reading his work much though because he'd deliberately glue two pages together just to see if anyone noticed, which they never did. It wasn't until Fforde got his agent that someone sounded enthused and energetic about his writing, which is when he knew his writing had started getting read. He refers to the time he spent writing before being published not as a waste of time as some writers struggling to be published might think of themselves but rather, learning his craft.

Something I was surprised about was learning that despite what Fforde's readers might presume, The Big Over Easy, originally titled something along the lines of Who Murdered Humpty Dumpty, was written before the Thursday Next books. He then went on to write the sequel, The Fourth Bear, as well, before moving onto any Thursday Next books. Fforde said The Fourth Bear is all about the porridge, by the way.

Of all Fforde's books, he said he's most proud of Shades of Grey. While describing all his other works as twisted a knob in readers' brains of our ideas on how things should be (like Jane Eyre and the story of The Three Bears), he said he actually had to really write for this one. Some people ask about when his next Shades of Grey book may be released, and his answer is that writing's rather hard, so it takes longer.

One of the first questions Fforde was asked, which he foresaw himself, was about his next books that will be published. He said The Last Dragonslayer's going to finally be published in the U.S., and that it will be a series of three books. Dragonslayer #2 should be one of the first next few books out, as should Shades of Grey #2. There's going to be a seventh Thursday Next book as well.

Another questions asked had to do with the chapter 13...of all of his works! I've noticed before that a book was missing a chapter 13, but did any of you realize that all of them were? They're listed along with their chapter titles at the beginning of the book...but the chapters do not exist. In answer Fforde said (half as a joke I suspect) that he might very well have his thirteenth book be a collection of all the chapter thirteen of his works. This book itself he debated if it should contain twelve, thirteen, or fourteen chapters.

No one asked any questions for One of Our Thursdays is Missing. Very few people there had actually read it yet. Fforde read two parts aloud. They were the ending of chapter 1, and the beginning of chapter 21. He kind of acted the part from chapter 21 out a little bit. It was quite funny. I don't want to spoil anything on this book for anyone, so I'm going to leave out what he discussed about the book.

After questions came book signing. I don't think I mentioned it yet, but Fforde's accent sounds amazing. For some reason I never thought of him as having an accent even though he of course would, being from Wales. Then again, I didn't stop to think that of any LTers, either, before meeting any. ;)

Fforde signed two of my books and two for my mother. He used a stamp in them, too. Later I'll have a picture but I have to dash for work any minute now so I'll post it later. I was so shy as to what to say to the man. I ended up talking to him about his cold that he's acquired from traveling. My mother told him that she sympathizes about his daughters saying he's not funny because my youngest sister is always telling her "You're such a dork, Mom" after she says something she thinks is funny. My mother did take a picture of me with Fforde and it's on the group Flickr account. If you've forgotten the info for it, it's available to be seen by those who are 'friends' with the account, so you can sign into your own account to view it.

Off to work now! I hope all of you who want to meet him get a chance to someday. He really is an incredible person to get to meet.

ETA: Dear goodness. I am so sorry for writing so much! Can you tell how much I loved yesterday? I wonder what this will do for my average words per post count and what not. ;)

Mar 13, 2011, 11:59pm Top

Thanks for this, K. Sounds like a great time! So glad you got to meet one of your favorite authors.

Mar 14, 2011, 12:13am Top

That sounds great K! Fantastic to see that an author is as great in person as you imagine and reads well. I am glad you had a good time! Thank you for sharing it with us.

Mar 14, 2011, 12:24am Top

Wow K! I'm so glad you got to meet him. He sounds like a really fun author to meet in person!

Mar 14, 2011, 12:03pm Top

Sounds like a lot of fun -- I'd love to go to one of his book signings some day, if he ever comes anywhere close to where I am. Glad you enjoyed it, K!

Mar 15, 2011, 12:42pm Top

Great post Kerian. Sounds like it was an excellant event. I've loved all of Jasper's works that I've read so far.

Mar 15, 2011, 8:56pm Top

K, I'm so happy this was such a fabulous author meeting! And now I'm really thinking I need to introduce myself to his books :)

Mar 15, 2011, 9:15pm Top

He came to our bookstore before I knew who he was. All I remember is he was very funny and had a cute accent!

Mar 15, 2011, 10:36pm Top

Sounds like an amazing day K! I am definitely adding his books to my wishlist!

Mar 17, 2011, 5:49pm Top

Thank you, and you're welcome! I don't have other pictures added to the computer yet. I'll put some in later.

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