Here’s the second part of my incredible Supanova experience. The days in between Melbourne and Gold Coast I spent in Tasmania (and you can read about what I did there here) and I flew back to QLD after my library workshop in Hobart on Wednesday 15th April so that I could give another workshop in Helensvale (Gold Coast) on the Thursday. Both workshops were seriously awesome, by the way! And the Gold Coast one was even covered on page 4 of the Gold Coast Bulletin the next day!
Everything Supanova-related began again on the Friday night, including another round of the elevator pitch – to an even larger audience this time! A few of us authors ended up back at the hotel bar afterwards which was really nice, since by this stage we’d all sufficiently bonded, and it was like old friends catching up after being away from each other for – gasp! – an entire four days!
Then Saturday came about and it was straight back into the crazy-crazy-craziness. The crowds were even more insane than at Melbourne! Just getting from the Booktopia stand (where we were signing) to the green room was stupidly claustrophobic and took forever in the bumper-to-bumper human traffic! Here’s a pic I took at about 11:30am on the Saturday:
And here’s a screenshot from the coverage of Channel Nine News:
You can see from those pics that it really was hectic! And that was true for the book sales and signings all day (and over the whole weekend). I’m not kidding – at one stage I looked up and I had four people queuing for me to sign Akarnae for them. Four! That’s crazy talk, especially since my book has only been out since February! And actually, I mentioned in my last post that Akarnae was the bestselling individual title sold at Melbourne Supanova, but now I can officially amend that and say that it was the bestselling individual title at BOTH Melbourne AND Gold Coast – in fact, almost 25% more copies were sold at the Gold Coast! How seriously awesome is that! I have no words!
Some of the other cool stuff that happened on the Saturday included more green room shenanigans, like listening to Georgina and Sean (Elsa and Robin Hood from Once Upon A Time) along with Bob (Bellamy Blake from The 100) and Jason David Frank (the green Power Ranger) talk about BASE jumping, sky diving, wing walking, scuba diving, and all kinds of other crazy stuff that resulted in broken bones or reducing oneself to near tears. It was definitely amusing listening to them recount all the ways they were certain they were going to die! Sean in particular had a great (ie. horrific) wing walking story – poor guy!
I also had good, long chat with Kevin McNally in the afternoon (Mr Gibbs from Pirates of the Caribbean) who said he’d love to have a copy of Akarnae, which was so cool. After reading the blurb, he said something along the lines of, “When this becomes a movie, I think I should play the role of this Professor Marselle man.” – And strangely, I can actually imagine that! In the end, this is how I signed his book:
While I was chatting with Kevin, Manu (Bennett – from Arrow and The Hobbit) turned up again (which was really cool since he was rarely seen over both weekends since he was so busy – again, another reason I still can’t believe I actually got to spend half an hour in a car ride to Melbourne airport with him!) and he asked me how my Tasmania trip went, which was so nice of him. Mostly because it meant he actually remembered me, haha, and also recalled what we’d chatted about during our car trip. Like I said in my last post, he’s one ridiculously lovely guy!
Otherwise, the Saturday was filled with more amazingly costumed fans, like Captain Jack Sparrow:
And then there’s me, the crazy J.K. Rowling wannabe:
(In my defence, all us authors wrote something on the back of our lanyards for when they flicked around, so I decided to go with J.K. Rowling – why not? Peter Hamilton had something like “Don’t you know who I am?” and John Scalzi I think had “I’m behind you” – or something like that. I can’t remember any of the others, but some were really great and witty!)
After the conference was over for the day, instead of taking the Supa-Star bus literally across the street to our hotel (which was much closer than the Melbourne one!), a few of us authors decided to walk. But we made that decision just as some of the waaaaay more famous people exited the building and they decided to walk back with us. I’m talking the big wigs like Manu Bennett, Walter Koenig (Star Trek), Tyler Hoechlin (Teen Wolf), Georgina Haig (Elsa), Barbara Dunkleman and a few others I can’t remember. Basically we were walking along with an all-star crew of awesomeness. I’m pretty sure Justin (Woolley) and myself were the only authors in the pack of Hollywood-ites. And then there was this really cool moment where Manu had us all stop around a giant koala statue to take a group photo (which I’m still waiting to appear somewhere on social media to prove that it did, in fact, happen!).
It was really cool walking back with everyone, but the sucky thing was, a few people must have noticed our motley crew (let’s face it, we weren’t overly stealthy), and Manu and Tyler both got absolutely swarmed by (female) fans when we reached the foyer of the hotel. It was actually really awful since we’d all just had massive days and all they would have wanted was to relax in the safety of the hotel, but instead they were being clobbered by people wanting photos and everything still. Very sucky, but I guess it’s just part of the life they deal with in order to do what they love.
Anyway… We had a few hours to ourselves and then it was time for the Gold Coast VIP party – which was, again, a bus ride away. I really enjoyed the Goldie party (just like I really enjoyed the Melb one!) and it helped that we all knew each other better by then and thus were also able to better hedge guesses as to who the actual VIP holders were (since no one had ID tags or anything yet again). I met some seriously lovely people (some of whom came and bought my book the next day simply because I’d been “nice” to them – awwwww!!). I also found out that the VIPs paid a whopping $800 to get VIP status for the weekend – how insano is that! I was like, “Okay, who are you here to see? For $800, we’ll make sure you get some quality time with them!”
So, yeah, the party was great, and afterwards our author-ly crew ended up back at the hotel bar along with my wonderful publicist, Susan Hando, Supanova’s amazing literary manager, Ineke Prochazka, and the delightful Alex Adsett, who is a literary agent ninja – and also happens to be the super-fantastic contract consultant who helped me get my head around all things legal at the beginning of my publishing journey (so it was so great to meet Alex in person!). That meant our drinks crew consisted of Peter F. Hamilton, Justin Woolley, Colin Taber (for a while), Alan Baxter, Susan, Ineke, Alex and myself. We had a wonderful time just chilling for a few hours after the event before packing off sometime around midnight, I think.
Here’s me with Peter F. Hamilton, who is seriously one of the nicest men I have ever met! For a ridiculously famous author, he’s just sooooooo lovely! (Even if he claims that my lack of pop culture knowledge makes him feel old! Eeek!)
And here’s an author group selfie of Peter, Justin, Alan, Alex and myself:
Then came the Sunday. The final day of Supanova. (Insert sad sigh here.)
I had my 6-foot high, two-dimensional knight in shining armour with me for the first time on the trip in, and he was somewhat… cumbersome to wrestle onto the bus. I’d missed the author transport somehow (I still have no idea how), so I was grabbing a lift with the TV/movie people (again, I have no idea how that happened, but I just did as I was told and went where I was directed and it all worked out well!). On the bus I was opposite Bob and he was like, “So, what’s with the knight?” And I think I just burst out laughing because by then I was delirious from sleep deprivation and also trying to figure out where I’d left my phone and if I’d lost my hotel key card (I’d had a rather stressful morning!). I did what any ‘normal’ person would do in that situation and officially introduced him to my knight, Sir Camden (who is a character in Akarnae). Pretty much any time I saw Bob over the rest of the day he asked me how Sir Camden was doing and I gave him status updates, which was fun. We also had Jason David Frank jump in on the convo since he was seated in front of me on the bus and turned around for a chat. Jeez, those guys (and everyone) are so nice!
The day continued much like the others (crazy costumes, amazing fans, everything!). And there were some seriously adorable cuties, too, like my publicist’s son and this sweetheart of a little girl both in Harry Potter costumes:
Then there were the other weirdos, like me, deciding to try my hand at being a part of The Hunger Games:
(Okay, not really, but it was still fun to hold a bow. I have to admit that I laughed out loud when I saw the positioning of my head in this photo, since I wondered if perhaps my publicist was so sick of me by the end of our 10 days that she was subconsciously imagining my gruesome death. I’m sure that’s not true, though! … Right, Susan?)
Sunday was also the day for my Gold Coast author panel, and this time I was on with Justin (again), along with Peter and also Kim Wilkins (who hadn’t been at Melbourne but I got to meet her at the Goldie and, like so many others, she’s lovely!). Our panel was on the topic of “Myths and Misconceptions” – which is seriously difficult to say fast, by the way – and despite having a few tongue-tied, tired-slurry moments from me, it was a really great discussion we had!
There were more signings after the panel and then DONE! We were finished! Which meant it was time for another author group photo! This is us acting like goofs (ahem… I mean, acting like we’re typing on a typewriter) – and there’s Sir Camden in the background (who is possibly still there right now, since I was so spaced out that I forgot all about him and left him there! *Face palm*…)
There was a really nice and casual author goodbye dinner that night followed by a penthouse apartment after party for all the stars and volunteers (in which Georgina (Elsa) actually came back to my room to pick up a copy of Akarnae for herself, which was soooo cool!)… and then a few other little bits and pieces, but that’s basically it! Supanova, done and dusted!
Before I finish this post, I just have to give a few shout-outs to some very special people. First up, to the incredible authors I met over the two events who, as mentioned copious amounts of times in both this post and my Melbourne one, took me in and shared all their wonderful knowledge with me. Peter Hamilton and Traci Harding in particular were constantly sharing their insights and teaching me their magical author-ly wonders, along with Alan Baxter and his martial-artsy-awesomeness. I’ll be forever grateful to them all for simply being so kind to naïve little me. And Justin Woolley, another ‘baby author’ like myself, was just a ridiculously awesome guy. We had a lot of fun together – especially on the Gold Coast when we were set up as signing buddies next to each other and he was pretty much stuck beside me for two days straight, haha. (Poor guy!) I haven’t read my copy of his book yet, but I’d definitely recommend him as a person, so if you like the idea of zombies in the Australian outback, go check out A Town Called Dust and support this great up-and-coming author!
Someone else who deserves huge amounts of gratitude is the wonderful Ineke, without whom I never would have been invited along to Supanova. As the literary manager, she’s the one who first read Akarnae and loved it enough to reach out and see if I wanted to come along as a guest. From hosting the panels to organising the craziness of the schedules and signings, Ineke and her amazing, incredible, wonderful team of volunteers took such great care of us every step of the way. I can’t wait for the next time I get to meet her again and give her a big, squishy hug.
Lastly, none of this would have happened without “My Susan”. Susan Hando (aka my out-of-this-world-amazing publicist) works tirelessly every single day to get me into events like Supanova, media appearances and school/library workshops etc. all in order to get me and Akarnae out there to the world. While I was sitting on my backside signing books and smiling at the cosplay people walking by, she was flitting about handing out flyers, visiting the Quidditch match (Melbourne exclusive), taking her adorable Harry-Potter-costumed son around the crowds with lollipops (and more flyers), and basically spreading word that I had a book available that people would hopefully love. To be honest, I’m exhausted just thinking about how much work she did – not only at the actual events, but also beforehand and afterwards. And you know what’s even crazier? I’m only one of a number of authors she looks after! I have a theory: she’s Wonder Woman in disguise. It’s the only thing that makes sense. So, thank you, My Susan, because without you I’d be twiddling my thumbs and wondering how to get someone other than my mum to read my book.
This is the only pic I have of us from the weekend, but in it is Alex Adsett, Susan’s son, Susan, myself, and Sir Camden. I figure it’s a great photo to end this post on!