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.|
|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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