Last night (July 22nd), I had the honor of meeting Brad Thor! His book tour for his latest release “Act of War” brought him to Once Upon A Crime Books in Minneapolis, MN. I’ve never met him in person before, but have talked to him via Twitter (his is @BradThor, mine is @StacyReller) for some time now, and he has been a great supporter of @VinceFlynnFans.
First, I want to start off with, I have never been to Once Upon A Crime before, and, what a wonderful bookstore! The owners, Gary and Pat are just delightful. If you ever find yourself in the Cities, you must visit this place. I wish I lived closer. I hope to make another trip in the near future.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and I have only been to one other signing before (Vince Flynn’s “American Assassin” tour in 2010), but it was pretty much more or less the same. The only sadness of the night was how it just made me miss VF that much more (which is the case of a lot of us fans). Now I will admit, I was a bit nervous, but as soon as it was my turn, it just disappeared. What a nice guy! I really think that authors are the best “celebrities”. They generally care about their fans, and it definitely shows. And for the most part, in my experience, fans of authors are less crazed and more laid back (yes, there are still some of those crazy ones, who think it is all about them, but not like a movie star’s or rock star’s fan, if you know what I am saying). While I have seen and heard about bad experiences with fellow fans from friends who run fan twitter pages, I have never once experienced it on any level while I have been running VFF the last 4 years. Of course it is true, that Vince Flynn HAS the greatest fans ever (and you can loop Thor fans in there as well, because for the most part, we are one and the same), but writer fans in general are just a different breed.
Ok, back on topic. Thor did a little talking, then a Q&A, then signing and pic time (there wasn’t any pics when went to the VF signing, because if there had been, we would have been there until 2 am). I had 4 books to get signed, so I waited near the end, which was totally fine with me. It was fun to watch the interactions between Thor and fellow fans. While sitting there, I also had the time to chat with one of the store owners, Pat. A lovely conversation, which included some Flynn talk, because OUAC was pretty much his stomping grounds. And I can see why.
Ok, back on topic, again. So, now it was my turn. Like I said, I was a lil wee nervous, but as soon as you get up to the table, and Thor invites you in with a warm welcome and smile, poof, it goes away. You can tell just how thankful he is that you are there to meet him (and that he gets to meet you), and that you have purchased his book. “What a Nice Guy” doesn’t really do it justice, but, he really is. And there is no faking that smile you have seen, especially is you’ve been catching all the pics on twitter/facebook this past week (which I will I say, I have been enjoying immensely). It was very cool to finally meet him in person, and vice versa. I don’t get to feel special very often, but he definitely made me feel special last night, even though I’m just one among the thousands and thousands of fans.
Thank You to Once Upon A Crime Books, Pat and Gary, the fellow fans, and Brad Thor for a terrific night.
As soon as I got home, I of course posted on the Twitter and the Facebook, but I also just had to send an email to Once Upon A Crime for such a lovely evening. They host many many events (signings and launch parties) throughout the year, and I definitely hope to get to more. Especially since I now know how to get there and that the drive wasn’t nearly as scary, LOL (I dislike freeways and any downtown areas).
And I just want to finish on a personal note. It’s amazing how lately (mainly the last couple of years) everything comes right back to Vince (it is seriously becoming a Six Degrees of Separation type thing). I won’t go into the story of how I became of Vince Flynn fan, but after I had gone to the signing in 2010 (which was a Thursday), I created VinceFlynnFans that weekend, because I noticed he wasn’t one twitter, and there were no fan ones, so I thought “Hey, I should create one for a place for VF fans to connect on twitter”. That Monday, I had the backing of Vince’s publicist, which I thought was the coolest thing ever. We are nearing 5,000 strong, which is amazing!! I have never done it for any perks or freebies, or anything like that. I just wanted a place for us all to connect. For the most part, I treat it like a job. Always keeping the tweets professional (no personal drama, like I have seen done on other “fan” pages). Because first and foremost, I am representing Vince. And then, I am representing the publishing house company(ies) and everyone involved in that. I am representing the fans. 90% of the book giveaways I do, is out of MY pocket, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂 Lately, I have been “promoting” other authors, and I feel ok to do that, since if I can introduce new/other authors to more fans, I feel it is better for everyone.
I honestly HONESTLY believe, that even though I did read Vince’s books, if I never created VFF, I may never have come across Brad Thor (as weird as it sounds even though it is the same genre) and others like Brad Taylor, Ben Coes, etc, etc, etc. Fellow fans have recommended them, and I am happy to be able to recommend them to others who ask. I’m working hard, very hard, to get to reading them all, but this stack is ever growing, and I have recently pushed Kyle Mills’ book “Fade” ahead, for “important” reasons. I haven’t read all of the authors I now recommend, and it somewhat bothers me because I don’t like to put out recs if I haven’t personally read them (just like if I am going to tweet about a charity, I am not going to unless I have donated first. Doesn’t seem right for me to ask you to do something, when I haven’t). I believe in paying it forward, and I was very lucky to have had Thor send me all of his books, which was a complete shocker, because I was expecting one, maybe 2 books. So, when Vince Flynn Day rolled around, what better way to pay it forward with a trifecta of wins (maybe a win-win-win-win situation), was to purchase ALL of Vinnie’s books and donate them to The Harvath Directive, which sends books over to the troops!
It is just amazing how many doors have opened, so to speak.
And it ultimately all comes back to, Vince Flynn.
Almost forgot, here’s my mug with Brad Thor: