Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I Met My Artist

If I had known ahead of time how great today's signing would be, I would have been too giddy to sleep last night.

Signings in general are a tough animal. I'm an introvert. I'm shy. It's tough to get out of your shell and talk to perfect strangers.

Fortunately, I'm not as uncomfortable doing them when I first started out—and that's not just because in 2002 I was doing book signings 8 1/2 months pregnant, swollen like a beached whale—but they're still not exactly on my top ten list of favorite activities.

Frankly, they're exhausting—you have to be "on" for two hours straight, smiling and being energetic (if you know me, the gal who spends hours each morning in her PJ's, that should tell you something). Sometimes I feel like a used car salesman as I pitch my book to customers who really came in to buy a baptism gift and have no use for me. Or I feel like a carnival freak show that everyone's trying to avoid looking at. (There's just something about a book signing table that makes people avert their eyes and run for cover.)

But today was different!

For starters, it wasn't just me braving the crowds. Two tables graced the walkway where the BYU bookstore stationed me. I shared mine with the delightful Suzie Roberts who wrote a cookbook about freezing dinners beforehand (something I think I need with my family's growing hectic schedule!).

Down the way a bit was the second table, with Chad Hawkins (who I tried picking temple research brains with) and Matthew Buckley (a really funny guy who has a rather smiley countenance,which I didn't expect, since I had only ever seen his oh-so-serious picture). Then Marsha Ward, who is in town for Education Week, stopped by, as well as author (and now BYU MBA student) Rob Wells. Not only that, but my Relief Society president came over between classes to say hi.

I didn't feel lonely at all! And I even sold quite a few books. How many, I'm not sure, because I was really enjoying myself, so I didn't count how many this time. Usually I have a mental tally going on. Even better was getting a good dozen comments from people walking by who stopped after seeing my covers, then said something like, "I've read those. I loved them!" I don't think that has ever happened so many times in two hours. Hearing it was gratifying and yes, fun.

At one point over the PA I heard a voice announce that Al Rounds was upstairs. I about hyperventilated. I was unaware of his name three years ago, but since then it has meant a ton to me. He is the artist behind all of the temples on my book covers. (William Whittaker is the artist behind the women on them). I have loved and adored all of my historical covers, and for a long time, I've wanted to meet him and express my admiration for his work.

I ditched my table and ran to meet him. He had just left his table to be part of a presentation, but I was informed that he'd be back soon and that my signing ended well before he'd be leaving for the day. Pumped, I returned to my table. But when 1:00 hit, I went back upstairs.

Al Rounds is one of the sweetest men I've ever met, and he seemed glad to meet me after contributing three paintings to my books. (He had imagined me older. Yeah, I get that a lot with these cheeks . . .)

Over the course of our conversation, I dropped a few big hints about which two temples I'll need next . . . not exactly placing my order, but sort of crossing my fingers, because I'd hate to reach a point where my covers don't feature Al Rounds.

If you're interested in seeing the full painting that the the detail on Spires of Stone is from, visit here. The painting is entitled, "City Creek," but in my cover you can't see the creek part, because the girls are in front of it. I have a secret hope that maybe someday I'll own a small print of each temple of his that has graced my covers.

Speaking of Spires of Stone, no, it wasn't at my signing today. It should reach stores in a week or two. (Woohoo!)

And just for fun while we wait, from now until it's on shelves, I'm going to post quotes from the book.

Here's one for today:

"I will personally never understand the fascination with the other half of our species, but if one of them makes you happy . . ." —Bethany


Unknown said...

Oh, what a wonderful experience, Annette. I can visualize every detail. Thanks for sharing.

Tamra Norton said...

Ooooh, I love your covers! How fun to meet the artist. Congrats on a fun signing!

Josi said...

How fun--and isn't Suzie great? she lives by me, but I have yet to see her book. She's awesome though. Sounds like you were in good company.

Brillig said...

Wow, what an incredibly day! I can hardly picture you as shy. Hahaha. Sounds like you were in great company. I wish I'd had a chanced to come by and see you, but I may have been a bit to awestruck to form any actual words, like "hello" or "I'm Brillig" or even, "Wow. Book." I guess it's just as well, then, isn't it!

Annette Lyon said...

Thanks, Anne and Tami! Josi, Suzie was really great, and he book has such a great cover. She pointed your name out in her acknowledgments. Brillig, don't tell me you were in the viscinity--because if you were and DIDN'T stop by, then you deserve a bop on the side of your head. Silly woman!

Unknown said...

Annette, signing at Education Week is one of my favorite times of the year. I meant to get over there to see you, but by the time I could manage it you were gone. I'm so glad you had fun.

Janette Rallison said...

Congrats on a great signing! I'm doing one today (sigh). I will try not to get my feelings hurt if my friends don't show up. (Yeah right.) I'm taking chocolate to lure people to my table.


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