Today I took a road trip to this FANTASTIC mystery bookstore in Pennsylvania! It's called Mystery Lover's Bookshop, and it's located in this adorable little shop in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. I'm just so jealous of the people who have these wonderful shops close to them! If I lived close, I'd be begging Mary Alice and Richard for a part-time job!
This is the first time I've been to this store. I assure you, it will not be the last! But, how did I end up there you ask? Well, I went to see Alafair Burke. I saw this location on her tour schedule, so I entered it into mapquest and found out it was 2 1/2 hours from my house. Yea! Obviously it isn't a trip I could make on a regular basis, but for Alafair...I could definitely make it.
The Mystery Lover's Bookshop hosts authors in their "Crime and Coffee" events. Very cool. They had breakfast items and coffee...I had some out of this world spiced Chai tea. And of course, they had Alafair. I'm still on Cloud 9 from having the chance to meet her in person. If you live close enough (they are just outside of Pittsburgh), you should definitely check this place out. And if you aren't close enough, you can still take advantage of their book selection online. They have this fabulous search option on their site. You can search by author, character, setting location...how cool is that? You can even tell it to list a series chronologically. A book lover's dream!
Alafair started off today's event by talking about what led to her writing her first book, Judgment Calls. She really never pictured herself as a writer...a lawyer, a professor - check, check. Maybe she could see herself as a judge...a Supreme Court Justice. I think she'd make a great Justice, don't you? Just as long as she didn't stop writing fiction to do so! ;) But never as a writer. Funny how things turn out sometimes. She also said she didn't tell her dad that she was writing a book because he can't keep a secret.
Alafair read a small segment from Angel's Tip and explained where the book title came from. She does not recommend the Angel's Tip drink, however! :) It is always fun to hear a writer read from his/her own work, and this time was definitely no exception. Alafair chose to read an excerpt of her description of New York City from Angel's Tip. Then she went on a little later to say that setting wasn't her strength. I think she short changes herself. She's an incredible writer all the way around.
Alafair took some questions from the audience and let us know that she's working on the third Ellie Hatcher book right now. That makes me ever so happy. Actually, it doesn't matter what she's working on, simply that she's working on a new book. And just like in her books, Alafair has a great sense of humor. She's a fun person!
Following the presentation, Alafair signed books. Bless her heart, she signed all five of mine...plus the card to put in my author scrapbook. I tried to get as far back in the line as possible, but after I got in line, others lined up behind me...oh well. No one seemed too upset that I took up so much time.
And the coolest part of my day? Alafair invited me out to lunch afterward! We went to this really nice little family restaurant with Mary Alice Gorman, one of Mystery Lovers Bookshop's owners. We all talked a little politics, a little environment, a little New York City, a little dogs and of course books! It was absolutely fantastic! Alafair and I share a lot in common...at least the things we talked about. And she is just a genuinely wonderful person. I have come to admire Alafair both as a writer and a person, and today just added to that admiration. Alafair and Mary Alice, you totally made my entire year! Thank you so much for the wonderful afternoon!
If you have the chance to see Alafair in person, I highly recommend it! You can see the remainder of her tour schedule here. And of course, you already know I highly recommend her books and reading her blog. Also, if you can get to Mystery Lovers, do it! It's a great shop! If not, check 'em out online!