On Wednesday night I, along with some other bloggers and librarians, went to Will Hill's pre-publication Department 19 launch event at the HarperCollins offices in London. I haven't read the book yet, but given my obsession with all things vampire, I *had* to go. Missing it wasn't even an option!
We got to the HarperCollins offices at around 6pm, and were greeted by a lovely lady whose name I can't remember (sorry!), who gave us Department 19 packs (see pic at the end), name badges and permission to sit in their most amazing reception area. Seriously, check it out:
I had never been to this part of London before, so it was all new to me. The offices were pretty mind-blowing, and I'm happy to report that we didn't have to go up the many flights of stairs - there were lots of lifts! At around 6.30 we were escorted up to the fourth floor where the very nice HarperCollins people were waiting to chat to us. I finally got to meet publicists I've been talking to over email for ages - Sam and Mary, along with Alison from marketing, Geraldine the awesome publicity director and publicist Tiffany who I've already had the pleasure of meeting. I know there were more people too, but I can't remember everyone's names!
For 45 minutes I got to talk to Sam and Alison about all sorts - Divergent, Louise Rennison, blogging and what it's like to work at HarperCollins. Everyone was so friendly and lovely, and I'm glad I've finally been able to put faces to names!
After this most excellent of chats, it was time to introduce Will and Nick Lake, the editorial director who obviously has top taste in books. Nick did a Q&A with Will, before letting us lot ask questions. Will talked about everything, including his love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Yeeesss!!), his research and planning for Department 19, his vampires and how he didn't want them to sparkle (Teehee), and the book's appeal to girls as well as boys. Here is Will on the left and Nick on the right:
After the Q&A session, there was a raffle to win a framed picture of the book cover signed by Will. Guess whose name he picked out? MINE! This deserves capital letters, as I never win anything. Must have been a lucky week! The picture is amazing, and it will be hanging up in our 'media' room as soon as I get it sorted. Here it is in all its glory:
After that little bit of excitement, Will signed books for us. Lovely finished copies, courtesy of the rockin' publishers. I had a quick chat to him about my favourite thing in the world, Buffy (what else?!), and I may possibly have quizzed him on his knowledge of old Joss Whedon anecdotes (Sorry, Will!). He was still smiling afterwards, though maybe that's because I was finally shutting up and going away...
I left at around 8.30, with even more thanks to HarperCollins for hiring a car to take me back to Eustion station so I wouldn't miss my last train home to Manchester. The driver was a very nice chap from Essex, who seemed quite happy to meet a book blogger - this was before telling me stories of driving Jedward around the other month. Hmm!
It was a brilliant event, and I really enjoyed myself. I also finally got to meet some bloggers I've been chatting to for a while, and see some that I already know: Sarah from Feeling Fictional, Darren from The Book Zone, Amanda from Floor to Ceiling Books, Mark from My Favourite Books, Darren from Bart's Bookshelf and Rhys from Thirst for Fiction.
Contents of the top secret Department 19 envelope of coolness: two double-sided posters, a patch, postcards, book sampler, Spill the Ink newsletter and a memory stick. The memory stick has lots of extra stuff on it, like family trees, a vampire guide and deleted chapters. Love it!
A finished copy of Department 19, signed by the lovely Will. The book hits the UK on March 31st, and by all accounts it's going to be huge. So, if you like vampires, make sure you check it out!
Big thanks to HarperCollins for a great event, and I hope to see you all again soon!