For those who don’t know, Perth, Australia is one of the most isolated cities in the world. Though our population exceeds two million, the nearest capital city, Adelaide, is over two thousand miles away. Thus, a lot of the time, Perth tends to miss out on big national events, including book tours. Usually, when an author, musician, or performance artist of any kind, announces an Australian tour, they mean that they’re visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and maybe Adelaide, if they’re feeling generous. Consequently, up until Monday, I’d never been to a book launch, and Jay Kristoff’s event was kind of a big deal.
The launch and book signing were organised by the lovely staff of Dymocks Joondalup (who also run a monthly YA book club) and Jay’s publishers, Allen & Unwin. The Dymocks girls always put out a great spread for book club events, and this launch was no different. There were a variety of delicious teas from T2 to try, as well as homemade baked goods like cookies, cupcakes, and donuts. I’m a massive sweet tooth, so I really appreciated these small touches! After consuming some of these delicious snacks, I sat down in the front row to listen to Aisling and Alyse interview Jay. They asked a lot of insightful questions and even played a word association game, which was very entertaining for the audience. Arguably the most relatable moment of the game occurred when Aisling asked Jay which word first came to mind when she said “books” and he responded simply, saying “life.” Through the interview, I learned a lot about Jay and his writing process, so I thought I’d share some of the fun titbits I remember from his talk.
- Jay is a massive Lord of the Rings fan. He has a pet Jack Russell terrier Samwise, and he first met his best friend of thirty years after spotting him wearing a LOTR shirt to school and striking up a conversation.
- Jay is allergic to Vegemite, which is pretty much a staple food in Australia.
- Though his upcoming series with Amie Kaufman is listed as The Andromeda Cycle on Goodreads, that name is likely to change. The pair toyed around with the idea of having “Milky Way” in the title, but felt it might look like they were trying to sell chocolate bars if they went ahead with it!
- Amie and Jay decided to work together on the Illuminae series after Amie had a dream about them co-authoring a book together.
- Jay would also love to collaborate with Laini Taylor
- The appearance and attitude of Mia Corvere (aka, my favourite of Jay’s characters!) is loosely based on the Emily the Strange comic, and her name comes from Uma Thurman’s Pulp Fiction character, Mia Wallace.
Honestly, Jay said a lot of fascinating things, those are just a few facts that stood out to me! After his talk came the book signing portion of the evening, and from what I saw, Jay was absolutely lovely to all of his fans. Though I’ve heard him describe himself as an introvert, he seemed quite comfortable sitting and chatting with everyone, though the
process took well over an hour. I’ve been a big fan of Jay’s writing for about a year or so now, but my respect for him doubled after seeing how kindly he treated his readers. Jay had time for everyone, whether they brought a stack of ten books or just one. He also seemed to put in an effort to be friendly towards those (like myself) who were feeling shy and nervous. My hands were literally shaking when I passed my books to Jay (this may have been amplified by the fact that I’d been standing in line holding my books for about an hour and my arms had started to get quite sore!), but he didn’t mention it as he chatted to me about the Mia print I’d brought along.
Ultimately, my only regret about the event was that I didn’t take along more books for Jay to sign! I brought three, plus the one print, as I didn’t want to hold up the line or monopolise Jay’s time. But I wish I had brought all nine of his books that I own, like some people clearly did! Jay was very patient, and as far as I could tell, no one in the line seemed annoyed about the wait. In fact, it seemed like most people were having fun meeting other fans and chatting about Jay’s work. Overall, the event was absolutely amazing! Jay was humble, funny, and kind. I would dub him “The Nicest Guy in Literature” but as I stated at the beginning of this post, he’s literally the first author I’ve ever met, so that would be a bit presumptuous of me. The Dymocks staff were also amazing! They did a great job hosting the event, and I was really impressed by their interview questions and composure. I feel like if I were in their shoes, I would have been much to star struck to formulate coherent sentences, let alone articulate clever questions. Hopefully, after the success of this event, more authors will be willing to make the trek out to Perth! Because honestly, I can’t think of anything I’d enjoy more than sitting back and listening to my favourite writers talk about world building, creating characters, and their writing process.