On April 30th, I and blog contributor Kassie attended a reception hosted by The Book Stall at Chestnut Court for Fifty Shades of Grey author E L James at the The Standard Club in Chicago, Illinois.
The ticket price of $75 included drinks, hors d’oeuvres, all three books from the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy, a personalized autograph in the book of your choice, and an autograph in each of the other two books. A second ticket price of $40 was added later, with the only difference being a copy of the first book in the trilogy as opposed to a complete set.
The event was very well organized, and the venue was beautiful. There were 400+ people there to hear Ms. James speak briefly, field a few audience questions, and sign books.
Attendees were first treated to special guest speaker Ann Marie Walker, who gave us ten humorous and relatable ‘Signs You Might Have it Bad for Christian Grey.’ Ann Marie is a writer living in the Chicago area. If you’d like to read her posts that include the signs, as well as her review of the evening, please visit her blog here.
Roberta Rubin, owner of The Book Stall, then introduced author E L James to a vocally appreciative audience who gave her a standing ovation. Ms. James stepped up to the podium and declared, “H-o-l-y shit!” The tone for the evening was set. Yes there was a dress code. Yes there was a tuxedo-wearing wait staff offering classy food and drink. But with those two words, E L James let everyone know that she is exactly what she professes to be…a down-to-earth woman who has a sincere “This is just crazy that all of this is happening” attitude.
The Book Stall owner, Roberta Rubin, and author E L James (Source)
One fan asked the author if she was going to write another book. She explained that she actually had two already written but that she would need to go back and edit them before they would be ready for consideration. Another fan asked if she was going to continue the FSoG story, to which she laughingly replied, “…I’m kind of sick of these kids.” To the infamous question of whether or not she would ever publish a book in the series told from Christian’s POV, she relented and said, “Never say never.”
Eventually, a line formed for the autograph signing. Staff came around with a yellow post-it note for you to write your name on, and you were instructed to adhere it to the title page of the book you wanted personalized.
Ms. James was seated behind a table with her agent, Valerie Hoskins, watching on nearby and publicist Russell Perreault from Vintage/Anchor Books at Random House standing next to her. Mr. Perrault was responsible for taking the book(s) from the next person in line, opening it/them to the appropriate page, and then sliding each one in front of Ms. James for her to sign.
(L to R) Agent Valerie Hoskins, Kassie,
author E L James, and Publicist Russell Perreault
When I was given the opportunity to speak with Ms. James after the reception, first and foremost, I wanted to thank her for sharing her words with us. This meeting was almost three years in the making, and she was every bit as humble as I knew she would be, insisting that it was us she needed to thank because she truly believes that none of this would have happened without our support. So whether you are a long-time fan, just discovering the “love story with a kink,” or fall somewhere in between, rest assured that you are appreciated.
If you have been to, or are planning on attending, a book signing and have pictures you’d like to share, please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.