Anticipated Authors and the Neverending Line

A glimpse of the throng of people snaking through the auditorium to meet Brandon Mull and Richard Paul Evans.

A glimpse of the throng of people snaking through the auditorium to meet Brandon Mull and Richard Paul Evans.

I underestimated the young readers of Davis County this week and ended up in a swarm of people fighting for my kids to get to meet two of their favorite authors.

It was wild, it was crazy and it will be a night we won’t soon forget.

Tuesday night I took my two oldest boys to a free literacy night at a local high school. There hundreds of people waited for a 10-second book-signing interaction with Richard Paul Evans or Brandon Mull.

We made it to the school an hour before the book signing so we could camp out and get a good spot in line. We bought a couple of new books in the school’s commons area then searched through the heat-stricken halls and wall-to-wall crowds for the small gym where the authors were supposed to be stationed.

After fighting our way to the doors we searched inside but couldn’t find signs for Mull or Evans.

Apparently they put the big-name authors in a larger area – the auditorium.

So we trekked back through the sauna like halls and pushed our way to the other side of the school.

We rushed into the auditorium and stood in an impromptu line in the side aisle. We had outsmarted everyone and were close to the front.

I breathed a sigh of relief.

That’s when they announced that the line was actually going to be made of people sitting in the auditorium seats. It would snake back and forth.

What? We needed seats?

“That way people could sit while waiting,” the volunteer in charge announced.

With that proclamation I should have realized we were in for the long haul. I was completely naïve.

I started panicking. Were there even any seats open?

We found a couple on the right side. Then they announced that half of the auditorium seats were for people waiting to meet Richard Paul Evans, the other half for those waiting to see Brandon Mull.

My boys wanted to meet both. Great. We were going to have to split up.

Despite all of my helicopter mom instincts, I gave my two oldest boys specific instructions on how to stay in line, where I was going to go and how to meet up with me after they had met Richard Paul Evans. I pointed out a couple of the event volunteers as people they could trust then I crossed to the other side of the room to find a seat in the Brandon Mull line.

I watched them like a hawk from across the auditorium. Occasionally they’d wave to me and I’d give them a thumbs-up sign.

They made it to their author in less than an hour. He signed their books and they came running to me smiling.

Unfortunately, the Brandon Mull fan section was much less organized.

People were butting in line left and right. I found myself simultaneously hating and envying them. I thought, How are they getting ahead of me? and Why didn’t I think of that? as they slid their way into the handfuls of empty seats left scattered sparsely throughout the room.

The line that was supposed to remain seated so we could rest while waiting began moving. People stood and shifted back and forth through the auditorium seating, anxious to get to the stage sooner.

It was a stand, move a little, then sit back down and wait kind of evening. We played games on my phone, tried to watch a movie on Netflix and even started reading one of the books we bought in the commons area earlier that night.

We waited in that line longer than I have waited in any other line in my life. Longer than when I waited in the standby line in Las Vegas to see Garth Brooks live. Longer than when we went to Disneyland’s California Adventure and wanted to ride the racers at Radiator Springs. Longer than when I waited to buy a new vacuum at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

As we turned the last snake bend my oldest shouted, “This is the best night ever!”

It was 10:50 p.m. on a school night when we crossed onto the stage but we didn’t care. We were less than 10 people away from Brandon Mull.

At the signing table his assistant took the book jacket out of the book we started reading that night. “Will you remember what page you were on without this?” she asked. Yes. We were on page 16. Exactly the same number of hours it felt like we had waited in that humid auditorium.

Brandon Mull was so nice. We joked with him that his hand must be killing him and he stood up and stretched. He smiled and posed in a picture with my boys.

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As fate would have it I looked over when we were done and Richard Paul Evans’s line had just ended. We rushed over to him as he packed up his belongings and I snapped a picture of him with the boys. We complimented him on his electric shock Michael Vey necklace and told him how much we liked donating to the Christmas Box House he created. That’s when he gave me a hug.

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We walked out of the place a few minutes shy of 11 p.m.

Three and a half hours, four books, three posters and one hug from Richard Paul Evans later.

It was awesome.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Book Buying | Boogers on the Wall

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