Robin Hobb has always been one of my favourite authors, both in her work and as a person. I have always admired Robin and her writing, as the famous quote from George R.R Martin that is printed on most of her book covers says “stands out like diamonds in a sea of zircons” As a person you can get a glimpse of her in her blogs of course, but I have in my possession a leather bookmark. Quite a while ago Robin’s assistant was on Twitter offering “special bookmarks” I asked for one assuming they were promotional bookmarks for the new series. I forgot about it after a couple of weeks, but several months later I got a small parcel. In it was a hand-tooled leather bookmark signed by Robin accompanied by a letter in which she stated she’d been making the bookmarks for months with the help of her son, niece and assistant. While she said she had a lot of fun on the project I was simply amazed at the many hours they would have spent making them, and the many lucky fans who have a hand-crafted gift from Robin herself. I kept the letter as well, with sits with my collection of first editions.
I have ten of her first editions so far, although the Assassin’s Apprentice in an anniversary edition and is the original is the last of two (now three with the new book released) that I have to acquire. I had emailed the Supanova staff to ask if I might possibly bring them all to get signed and they told me it should be fine as long as I lined up two or three times so I didn’t hold up the line. With the three of us Craig and Mel) we loaded up a granny trolley and took the train in. It took forever to even get in the venue, but we managed to catch Robin reading excerpts from her new collection of short stories only ten minutes after she’d started.
The Q&A was quite good. I especially enjoyed where she described the Fool as having a bit of a mind of his own, and interrupting her well-laid plans while writing. When she spoke about her stance on fan-fiction (which is, she dislikes fan fiction and doesn’t encourage it) she made an interesting comment about how stories may only come to you once in your lifetime, and that a story you might write when you’re fifteen will never be the same when you try to write it as thirty-five. She also covered the topic of ‘fan rage’ when authors start a new series, and told an excellent story where she had a bad day and killed off all of the characters in her collaboration with Steven Brust in The Gypsy.
At this point the Q&A was winding down and I bolted back to the Dymocks stand and managed to get first in line. Craig took three or four books to get signed from me, and Mel had bought her original paperback set. Of course I stammered nervously at Robin as soon as she sat down, and told her I had bought my first editions, and I could line up again if it was too many. She just smiled and told me to out them all on the table as long as the people behind me didn’t mind (luckily for me Craig and Mel) She then signed each to both me and Craig with a short inscription in each, and thanked me for bringing my whole collection for her to sign. I promised I’d get the first edition Assassin’s Apprentice by the time she visited again and she smiled and told me that would be a hard one to find (which has of course prompted me to save up whatever the cost) When Craig got to meet her he told he he liked the Soldier Son trilogy very much, and she thanked him and told him it meant a lot to her to write it.
I’d been having a little trouble with the last book but decided I’m going to finish it this week after he told me that. She has a wonderful, gentle presence and is so gracious with her fans and we were quite giddy by the time we were done.
As you can tell, I am still excited as I’m rambling.
We also got to see Isobelle Carmody, Jennifer Fallon, Trudi Canavan and Rowena Cory Daniels who were all lovely. I had a chat with Rowena (who is just gorgeous) when her line was free and she told me about her series of books printed last year, The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, which sounded like just the sort of thing I’d like and I bought a set of them to read. After a few non-fiction books I need to immerse myself in some fantasy and I’m pleased to have another new author to try.
Robin’s new novel is a collection of short stories under both pen names, Megan Lindholm and Robin Hobb, with some earlier stories, and some Six Duchies and Bingtown stories