Monday, June 9, 2008

David Benioff at Kepler's


What do you do when your favorite author is coming to Kepler's on a day you're scheduled to be in L.A.? In May, Kepler's floor manager Martin Sorenson blogged about just how far he would go for his favorite work of fiction this year. Would he made it back in time to meet David Benioff or miss it by that much? Read on to find out.

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To start at the beginning… I was attending the BEA convention in Los Angeles. I left the convention center at approximately 2:00pm, and endured the traffic to get to the airport with time to spare. Unfortunately, due to some odd security concerns, (None to do with me), we were roughly 35 minutes late taking off. I arrived at the store at a little before 7:00 pm to find set up all done and the staff ready to go.

What a great event. The book, City of Thieves, had received enthusiastic reviews from our staff who had read it. Before the event they were not shy about hand selling it either. As a result, when David Benioff arrived at the store, his book was number one on our hardcover fiction bestseller list.

He started speaking at 7:30, and read a section of his book that sets the stage for the rest of the novel. Feedback from the audience was very positive, with one customer telling me that when he started reading the excerpt it did not sound interesting, but by the end of the reading, he was ready to buy the book and have it signed. Another customer told Mr. Benioff that this was the first piece of fiction he had read in over ten years.

The Q & A went very well, with customers asking him a host of questions both about the book, and about his other Hollywood projects. (He is also a scriptwriter.) The question was asked, how much of the book is real, since it is presented as his grandfather relating his war experiences during the siege of Leningrad. Mr. Benioff made sure to note that this was entirely a work of fiction. One of the best questions was about his work habits, and did he set aside a certain time of day to write. Mr. Benioff replied that he has always written late at night, and when he had a baby, was not sure how that would impact his writing schedule. It turned out that working at night worked perfectly, as it allowed his wife to sleep through the whole night while he was writing and taking care of his newborn. All in all, a splendid event, although I doubt I will ever do the LA to San Jose, back the next morning commute again.

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