This past weekend I had the privilege of attending a book conference called #ReadSavannah that was hosted by two wonderful book clubs- She Reads and Modern Mrs Darcy. I came as a guest reviewer for She Reads and was able to make some wonderful new book friends that live right here in Atlanta from MMD! One of my Twitter friends, and fellow She-Reader named Alison was in attendance as well, so I was able to hang with her too! The annual SIBA bookseller conference was going on the same weekend at the hotel we were staying at (thanks for being a gracious host Hilton DeSoto!), so it was really fun to take in some of the excitement over the new books coming out next year. Alison was even able to sneak me an arc of Karen White’s upcoming The Guests on South Battery (Jan 2017 from Berkley Pub). This was my first trip away from the girls, so I guess you could say this was my first solo trip since the babies were born! It was a fantastic way to celebrate freedom, and I can’t thank my husband enough for not only watching both girls for the weekend, but encouraging me to do this and take some time for myself. Savannah is such a fun place for a getaway weekend and I’m thinking would be perfect for a girl’s trip!
Once I was checked in on Saturday, there was a fun meet and greet across the street at a roof top bar for all attending the conference, plus some of the SIBA authors and booksellers. IMO, this was one of the most important aspects of the weekend; we were able to build relationships with other book lovers before attending the panels the next day and have people to spend our free time with. I was able to meet a fellow blogger in person finally; we had no idea we would both be there so it was a fantastic surprise! Glad we were able to connect Jo! 🙂 I also met a group of ladies from the MMD crowd named Lisa, Jen, and Cathy, along with Alison, who quickly became my tribe of besties in Savannah. We were able to meet some beloved authors like Greer Macallister and Mary Kay Andrews, and after cocktail hour we all headed downstairs for dinner and lots of laughs. After dinner, we all checked in for the night and I caught up on much needed reading and sleeping. Yay for a whole room to myself! Sleeping in! No diapers to change or mouths to feed!
On the actual conference day, those of us who paid for the luncheon arrived at noon and experienced what I felt was the best bargain ever! There were around 25 authors, so not every table saw each one, but basically while we were served a 4 course lunch catered by the Hilton (these people were the unsung heroes of the conference!) each author would spend 10 minutes at your table talking to you about their book and answering any questions. We received 2 hours of this and saw 12 authors in the process. After lunch, there were 3 separate panels; each went for about an hour followed by that group of authors signing books in the back of the room. First was Non-Fiction, followed by YA, and closing with Adult Fiction. I couldn’t believe how intimate of a setting this was; it wasn’t crowded at all for so many well-known authors to be there. I hate I couldn’t get pictures with everyone (I’m looking at you Kathleen Glasgow! I’ll just have to meet up with you at another shindig), but I was able to get loads of signed books, along with a few pictures while my brain wasn’t spaced out.
I was so excited to meet Maggie Stiefvater (even though I haven’t read any of her books yet), Katharine McGee, Kathleen Glasgow, Thomas Mullen, and of course key note speaker Liane Moriarty. I learned that you pronounce her name LEE-AHHHHN, that she is funny as all get out, and where some of the inspiration from her stories comes from. She spoke on the theme of “childlessness” and how this stemmed from her own experiences of having children later in life, the heartache from her first marriage, and on life now as a NYT bestselling author with an HBO series of Big Little Lies in the making. As seen above, we were able to get our books signed by her and a picture as well! She was as lovely as I imagined and we are so grateful to Flatiron books for sharing her with us! Cathy, Jen, and I were able to go out for dinner and walking by the river once all the festivities were over, which was a fantastic way to cap off a whirlwind weekend!
I hate that I wasn’t able to get a picture in with Ariel and Anne, but I am so grateful to these ladies for organizing and hosting such a complex event. Everything flowed flawlessly to the untrained eye and I can’t imagine any possible way of improving it, other than making it last an entire week next year? 😉 Marybeth has been a treasure to get to know this year and I’m truly honored by how she has welcomed me into the She Reads fold. What an amazing weekend full of fun memories that I’ll cherish forever. Next year is going to be in New Orleans and I am already looking forward to it!