Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mandy and Jonita's Excellent Adventure!

I have to admit something before I begin- when Emily Giffin Facebooked the fact that her book signing in Toronto, Ontario has to be postponed from June 16th until July 7th, I cheered a little. I felt bad that she was sick, and I felt bad for those planning to go to the June 16th show, but suddenly, there was a chance that I would be able to meet Emily Giffin and have her sign my copy of Heart of the Matter! I've never been to an author signing before, but Emily is one of my all-time favourite authors. I've been reading her books since Something Borrowed first came out, and Something Blue is still one of my all-time favourite books. I would be off of work on July 7th, and I was sure that I could convince my husband to take an afternoon off work to watch our boys. I immediately e-mailed my book-loving sister-in-law Mandy and asked if she would be interested in coming along (she's off work on Wednesdays) and she said that yes, she would come along- especially because the event was being held in a multi-level bookstore in Toronto. Have I mentioned lately how much Mandy and I love books?

So, it was settled. We were going! We made all of the necessary arrangements, and on July 7th I went to pick Mandy up at her house in Brantford. Now, July 7th happened to be the third day of a heatwave in Ontario and it was, to put it mildly, freaking hot. We set out on the highway towards the GO station (I am not driving in Toronto, people!), and no sooner had I said "Mandy, what is that noise?", our tire blew. And by blew, I mean shredded. All over the highway. So now we were stuck at the side of the highway with a van with a blown tire. Have you ever been stuck at the side of a highway in the over 30 degree weather? It's hot. And scary. Luckily Mandy had her cell phone, and she called a towing company to come and change our tire (thank goodness for full-sized spares!), and the guy who arrived was someone that my husband and I knew from the days when he was a tow-truck driver. He had us on our way within 30 or so minutes of the tire blowing (thank-you John!). Mandy and I decided that we weren't taking any more chances with the van, so we drove back to her house and got her car. 15 minutes later, we really were on our way to the GO station. For the second time.

We arrived at the GO station and got our tickets. Then we got onto a bus, which would take us to Burlington. In Burlington we got onto the GO train that would take us to Toronto's Union Station. Once we got to Union Station, we grabbed an iced coffee (for me) and a white hot chocolate (for Mandy) and Mandy attempted to explain to me how the TTC works. Really, I just did what she told me to. Thank goodness Mandy knows the system from living in Toronto a few years back, or else I would still be on there trying to figure out where I was going. And then? We were finally there. The Indigo on Bloor Street!! We had arrived!

We went into the Indigo store, and ignoring the siren call of all the books, found our way downstairs to where Emily Giffin would be speaking and signing books. Due to the delay from blowing the tire we weren't able to get seats, and had to settle for the standing-room only section (which we would later compare to a cattle pen). It wasn't the greatest spot, but who cares? We were getting to see Emily Giffin! While waiting for Emily to come out we got to eat the cutest little cupcakes with purple icing (which were absolutely delicious!). I was going to get a picture of one, but then I ate it. Oops!

A few minutes after 7 pm, it was time! Emily came out looking gorgeous (and cool!), in a beautiful white dress. She took her place at the podium and then told us a little about Heart of the Matter. She told us about her inspiration for the book (a woman she met who was the mother of a child with a craniofacial defect), as well as her creative role in the upcoming Something Borrowed movie. What I found really interesting was that she started the book on Tessa's side, but as she wrote she found that she was feeling empathy for Valerie as well! That was one of the things that I loved about Heart of the Matter, the fact that it showed that there is no black and white when it comes to these situations. Emily also took questions from the audience and we found out what the favourite book that she's written is (Something Blue, just like me!), about how involved she is with the movie (a considerable amount), and about her next book (it will feature characters that we already know and love!). I even got to ask her a question of my own (I asked what her favourite part of the writing process is. Her answer in short? The beginning and the end- the middle portion sucks!).

After her introduction and her Q&A session, it was time for the book signing! Those of us in the standing-room only section did have to wait to get our books signed until after those who were seated, but thankfully Mandy and I were close to the front of that line. Emily was both gracious and efficient. She spent a minute or two with each person, generously agreed to take pictures with everyone who wanted one, and kept the line moving while making each of us glad that we had come out. I had heard that Emily Giffin was one of the best authors to come and see because of these reasons, and that night really proved it. Not only is she gorgeous, but she was funny and interesting and personable! I will definitely go to see her again if she comes back to Toronto!

After we had my book signed, Mandy and I headed upstairs to explore the bookstore. There were a ton of books, and only an hour before the store closed, but we managed to explore a little, recommend our favourites to one another, and we even managed to do a little bargain-hunting! We walked out with a combined total of 7 books and we paid less than $25 in total for them! At that point we were tired (it was 10 pm and we had a long trip home), so we started making our way back to the GO station. It was all thankfully uneventful, except for the part when we stopped to pick up some "street meat" for the ride home and as a result we missed our train by literally 30 seconds. We reached the platform just in time to see the train pull away. Missing the train meant that we had an hour-long wait for the next one, but we made the best of it and actually managed to have a lot of fun while waiting.

Mandy got home at about 1:30 AM, and I got home at about 2:20 AM, but you know what? I had a fabulous time with Mandy, and I had a wonderful experience with my first author signing, and I would do it again (for one of my favourite authors) in a heartbeat.


  1. I've never read any of her books, but yeah for you for getting to go and having such a great time.

  2. Confession: When I read your title, "Mandy and Jonita's Excellent Adventure," - I thought to myself.... "wait, what did I sign up for? And had Jonita forgotten to tell me about it??" LOL! I thought you were somehow talking about ME! LMBO. I didn't know you had a SIL named Mandy..... how cool! But not as cool as you meeting Emily! I'm so happy for you. And since I'm half-way through this book (audio), I feel an even greater connection to it than before now that you've met it. Funny b/c the twists and turns are just about to happen and I too am feeling bad/empathy for Valerie although I still have the other half to go to see what really happens. Congrats on your first book signing and for your adventures and making the best of it. Wish I could hop a train with you and have some fun too! Oh and I wholeheartedly agree with Emily on the writing process.... I started a book and wrote the first chapter and decided how I wanted it to end.... but here i am, stuck on the middle!!! Oh well. In the mean time, I'll just read great books like hers until my middle comes to me! :-) Thanks for this post!

  3. I'm glad you got to meet her. Great pics. :)
    Sorry to hear about your car.

  4. Oh my gosh, talk about fun! Thanks for sharing with us!

  5. How fun! So glad you made it and got to see/meet Emily. Author signings are always a great time -- and such memorable experiences! Great photos, too!

  6. I am so happy for you that you got to meet one of your favorite authors. It sounds like you had a wonderful time, despite the tire mishap.

    I have a few of Giffin's books but I haven't read them yet. I probably should. ;)

  7. That's so fun! Good on you guys for braving the heat.