I met Janet Evanovich at her book signing in Michigan and she is a one terrific lady! I’m a HUGE fan. How HUGE? Well, recently, I helped plan a fan party at our local library in her honor and then went in costume to her book signing and helped the book store entertain the long lines. It happened something like this:
My friend wanted to throw a “little” dinner party with all the favorites from the books (mashed potatoes, meatloaf, pineapple upside cake) complete with character costumes. Picture someone dressed as Lula or Vinnie!! What a hoot!! Then – I don’t know what came over me but I thought — why not make this a community event? I contacted the local library and it snowballed from there.
Each day we came up with more fun ideas and it was like planning a wedding! Food had to be DONUTS (all Stephanie Plum series readers would get this) and of course I figured I’d ask local businesses to sponsor this. At first it was just the donuts — Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons were super generous! Then the library provided coffee and gift cards for the used book store.
Hmmm….why not promote local businesses and help the economy while we’re at it? The responses were mostly positive! We had gift cards that related to the stories: Lula loves her chicken — so KFC donated gift cards! cars blow up in every book — Lighthouse Car Wash donated GCs! Food is a central theme in all the books so we had GCs from Wendy’s, Holiday Market, Leo’s Coney Island and Big Boy too. Big hair in New Jersey? Salon Anew GC! Rex the hamster and Bob the dog? Pet Supplies Plus GC! It was amazing! Even the Janet Evanovich website sent us tons of goodies to give out! (Thanks Alex!!)
The library wrote up a little blurb about the event in their newsletter (we just barely made the deadline) and their website (alright!) and our local paper wrote about it too! (AWESOME!)
In the meantime, my friend created most of the trivia questions and I typed them up and put them in balloons!! (okay that was much later…) The only way to get the questions is to have fans sit on the balloons and POP — like the cars that blow up in the books! Okay…more on that later…We came up with an ice breaker type game and little details and whammo – we had our games and activities!
Food? Check! Gifts? Check! Press? Check! Games and activities? Check! Costumes?….wait, what? I have to wear a costume? 🙂
I decided on the Stephanie Plum character because she’s one of my favorites — and, okay, so that one’s pretty easy without looking ridiculous! 🙂
By the way, my friend and I work in a school and the fan party was on the Saturday after school started!! Talk about a busy week!!!
Okay – now – my friend decides she still wants to have the dinner at her house after our fan party at the library and actually cooked a fabulous meal! She made mouth-watering meatloaf, chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls!! To top it all off, we had upside down pineapple cake AND double chocolate cake!! I could hardly move the whole night!! (Think: Thanksgiving). The characters in the books eat like this all the time — good thing they’re fictional — too much of a good thing. (And of course, we had wine, but that’s another story).
The morning of the event was filled with runs to the donut shops and bakery but the best part was loading my car!! Remember all those balloons with the questions tucked inside them for the game? I thought I was smart by putting them in four huge black garbage bags and putting them in my garage as I loaded up my SUV. I was standing in the back of my car watching my hubby put the seats down to make room and per chance, I glanced up — only three garbage bags are in my garage. One of the bags blew away onto the neighbor’s yard — complete with balloons inside – AND two of the balloons escaped from the bag! I made a mad dash after the bag and the run-away balloons! Did I mention how windy it was? Oh for pete’s sake!
The event was a blast! The fans were terrific and we all shared our favorite LOL parts of the Stephanie Plum series. The games and activities were fun and thanks to our generous sponsors, the gifts were great too!! (Big Boy even made a special appearance!) Oh yeah, and did I mention the DONUTS!!
The book signing was a total hoot! My friend arranged for us to provide the entertainment while people wait in the long lines. I was happy to do it and didn’t even mind wearing my costume — it’s like Janet Evanovich fans all “understand” each other — we love her books, the humor and the men in the stories!! So many women told us they LOVED Ranger!! I asked trivia questions and the best reaction was when I asked what was Lula’s previous profession — the answer was always “She was a HO!” complete with attitude and all! People were so funny – my smile was still plastered on when I left the store a few hours later…
I’d read so many things about the author previously that I felt I already knew her when it was finally my turn to meet her. She was all smiles and friendly (and probably a little surprised at my costume). Besides devouring all her Stephanie Plum series books, I’d read her “How I Write” book and found her to be very down to earth and refreshing as a person and writer. What a classy lady!
Pictures by Jennifer Wilmarth. I’ll post more pictures soon!