I was very lucky to be invited to dinner last night in London with the very lovely Hodder & Stoughton Books in order to meet Laini Taylor. Laini is of course making her UK debut this autumn with her new book “Daughter of Smoke and Bone”. If you haven’t seen the UK cover for it yet (which is absolutely gorgeous) here it is:
To those of you who are curious as to what the book is about, take a look at my Waiting on Wednesday post this week which will give you everything you need to know.
I went with Liz, a fellow blogger from My Favourite Books and we met at a beautiful little French restaurant called The Bleeding Heart, which was tucked away in a courtyard and looked lovely all lit up. We made our way through to The Parlour Room which was a separate dining area downstairs. It looked like we were having dinner in someone’s house, all cozy and intimate. Liz and I were the first to arrive, quickly followed by Leni from Hodder & Stoughton. It seemed that we had spoiled her surprise somewhat as she had arrived early to place feathers on the table, which was a lovely touch!
We spent a few minutes chatting until the rest of the Hodder Books people arrived with Laini. I have to say, I love her hair even more in person. If you’ve never seen a picture of Laini, she has the most amazing hot pink hair.
After greetings, we ate a beautiful meal and drank lots of champagne and wine. It was a fantastic evening spent getting to know everyone and it was full of conversation about books among other things. Laini had just visited Rome and Marrakesh so we talked a little about that too. Two places I’ve always wanted to go to but haven’t managed to get to yet! Laini had only arrived in the UK the day before and I imagine she was very tired but she was in good spirits!
I brought my copy of Lips Touch Three Times along with me (which I've owned since 2009 but have only read recently) and I know Liz brought her copies of the Dreamdark books with her to get signed.
I was extremely pleased to get my book signed and I was ECSTATIC to be one of the first people to be presented with an ARC of her new book (which I also got signed). There’s ALREADY a buzz building around this book, not only from Hodder but also from authors across the pond who have already read it and I feel extremely privileged to have a copy in my hands! Laini, if you're reading this then I love what you wrote in it and I will definitely let you know!
Today, I believe Laini has gone sightseeing with her family. Knowing that she would be in London for a few days, I wanted to get Laini a gift as a sort of “welcome to London” and this was proving quite difficult. Obviously there is the usual touristy tack like keyrings, magnets, anything you can put a British flag on basically. In the end, I got her something book related (naturally). I found this amazing little pocket size book, which was a pop up of all the major sights in London. Not only useful but also COOL. WIN! She really liked it and I hope it’s a little bit useful for her. If not, then I think it’s a cool souvenir.
We ended up leaving the restaurant after 10pm and all shared cabs back to train stations. It was a wonderful night and I’m sure Liz will agree that we were truly spoilt by Hodder books that night and we really appreciate it ;)
I ended up getting back to Southampton after midnight and had to rescue a lady and her child who I saw looking at a map of the city. They were looking for their hotel and planning to walk (in the cold and dark, UPHILL *shudder*). I insisted she shared my taxi (as I thought her hotel was on my way anyway) and the kid was practically asleep! So we dropped them off and I felt good about doing a good deed. It was my way of giving back to the universe for such a wonderful night. Thank you again to Hodder and Laini Taylor.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is published on 29th September, 2011 in the UK and 3rd October, 2011 in the US. YAY for something that the Brits actually get before America ;) I also heard a little rumour last night that Laini's other books may be published in the UK too.
To find out more about Laini, click here and to visit her new blog, click here. I'll bet you didn't know that Laini is also a talented artist and makes the "Laini's Ladies" gift and stationery collection, did you? Take a look at those beauties here. Finally, if you are an aspiring writer then you could do worse than to look at Not for Robots.