CREEP launch in Canada! With pictures!

I'm back! With pictures, as promised. This is a compilation of photos from six different cameras. Thanks so much to everyone who snapped pics for me.

The launch at Chapters Queensway was more amazing than I could have imagined. Though I can't lie – I was SO nervous that night. I rehearsed about a hundred times that day. I don't consider public speaking my strength, so that's why I practice.

Pulling up to the store was a bit surreal. I hadn't been to this Chapters in about five years, not since I moved out of Canada. I used to live five minutes away from this particular store, which was why I was so happy to have the launch here.

Chapters Queensway, Etobicoke (West Toronto)

When I arrived, two lovely ladies were waiting for me just inside the main entrance. April Gibson, my publicist from Simon & Schuster Canada, and Lisa Winstanley, the marketing manager for Indigo Books, made me feel very welcome. If I wasn't so nervous, I might have felt like a rock star as they guided me back to the "green room". But my knees were shaking way too much!

The setup looked amazing.

My poster! Yes, I kept it. 

The signing table. Look at all those books! Lisa, from Indigo Books, is on the right.

Love this photo. Thanks, Brian.

I relaxed (ha ha, RIGHT) in the back room with my two best friends (Annie and Dawn) while I waited for the event to begin. April and Lisa had me sign a bunch of books, some for the store, and some for S&S.

About twenty minutes later, it was showtime. I heard my name announced over the loudspeakers. "Attention, Chapters Indigo customers. The event with author Jennifer Hillier is about to begin." NO JOKE, I thought I was going to throw up! (I didn't.) Nevertheless, Annie and Dawn were rather delighted at my nervousness, having never seen me like that before, and I'm sure I won't live it down anytime soon.

Lisa introduced me to the audience, and then there was applause, and then I walked out. For a minute it felt very slow motion and dreamlike, but I snapped out of it when I saw exactly how many people were in the audience. Family, friends, old neighbors, former coworkers, even classmates I hadn't seen since high school! I was so moved by the turnout. I think it took me a minute to find my voice.

The audience early on in the evening.
Knees shaking, I spoke to the audience about my publishing journey for about fifteen minutes, and then I read from the new book, FREAK, for another ten minutes. As I spoke, the audience kept growing. Did I get less nervous? Unfortunately, no.

Thank goodness for still shots. You can't tell I'm shaking.

After the reading, there was a Q&A session which lasted about fifteen minutes. I answered questions about CREEP, my writing process, where I get my ideas, why I write thrillers, and even what I dream about.

So many people looking at me!

Then everyone started lining up to have their books signed. I don't know how many I signed, but my hand was cramping towards the end. I apologize to the folks who got their books signed later in the evening. I hope my writing was legible!

The first person in line was a friend I hadn't seen since high school. Hi, Andrea!

More high school friends! Shellon and Fiona. Had a lot of fun with these two back in the day.

I'm a hugger. If you ever meet me, brace yourself.
Another friend from high school. Eric used to bug me in tenth grade science class.

My personal paparazzi guy behind me. Thanks again, Brian!
The cutie pie beside him is Annie, his wife and my best friend.

I always worry I'm going to spell someone's name wrong.

Signed everything with my favorite purple pen. 

Lovely people waiting in line.

Me with a former colleague, Liz. We hadn't seen each other since 2002!

One of my bestest friends, Junior, and his beautiful girlfriend, Lisa.

My stepbrother, Jonathan, and his aunt, Jennifer.

Signing a book for my publicist, April. WHO ROCKS, by the way.

I don't know who this is, but I like what she's holding!

End of the night and only close family and friends are still lingering.
My mom chatting with my other best friend, Dawn (who'll kill me when she sees I posted a picture of her).

My mom and I with my brother John, my sister-in-law Liz, and their kids, Sean, Shayne, and Ashley.

Steve carrying my poster to safety. I'll probably frame it.

All in all, a fabulous night. Huge thanks to Chapters Queensway for hosting the event! And to the amazing folks at Simon & Schuster Canada for making this happen.

Most definitely a dream come true.

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