Once upon a Signing: Tammy from Inspired by Books Designs

Once Upon a Book Signing

Today help me welcome my good friend and fellow Twilightmom Tammy from Inspired by Books Designs. Today Tammy will share with us her memorable book signing. 

Tammy: I've been lucky enough to meet some of my favorite authors: Michael Scott (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series), Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series), Lauren Kate (Fallen Books), and Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games trilogy), and hope to some day meet THE Stephenie Meyer.  But the best signing I've been to was for my favorite author of all time: J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter series).  
You may be wondering-how in the world was I able to meet J.K. Rowling?  I entered a contest that Scholastic sponsored while promoting the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, during the summer of 2007.  I was one of extremely lucky 1,000 contest winners who won two tickets to the Open Book Tour in New York City.  I asked my Dad to go with me and we spent the weekend seeing the sights of the Big Apple.  The highlight was most definitely meeting Jo.  Here's the story of what happened that night in Carnegie Hall:

Once they let everyone in to Carnegie Hall, we made our way to our seats which were WAY up in the balcony.  They had a screen up
like at concerts so you could see Jo.  There was a slide show saying “Scholastic/Presents/J.K. Rowling/ Open Book Tour/Book 1 picture/Book 2 pic/ Book 3 picture/ Book 4 pic/Book 5 pic/ Book 6 pic/ Book 7 pic. There was a beautiful golden throne with crimson cushions on it in the
center of the stage with a spotlight shining on it.  Even though they said no pictures...lots of people had cameras and were taking pictures, so I took some pictures, too.  After a short while someone from Scholastic came out to welcome us all and congratulate us.  He told us the order of events for the evening and introduced Keith Olberman.  A little while later they started playing “Harry’s Wondrous World” from Sorcerer’s Stone movie soundtrack and J.K. Rowling walked out onto the stage.  Everyone stood up clapping and I started to cry…it was so overwhelming!  I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with tears streaming down my cheeks…I know my dad was crying, too.  She said thank you and seemed delighted and humbled by it all as well.  She welcomed everyone and said that she was going to read a different part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows than she had read before since the audience was older and she guessed everyone would have finished Book 7 by then.  She said she was going to read the part where Ron comes back…and the crowd went wild…screaming their approval with thunderous cheers and applause.  And I had more tears. She began explaining that she was going to start after the part where---and she laughed saying “why am I explaining this…you’ve read it and you already know what I’m talking about”…and said she was going to start after Ron has had an emotional experience and the locket was gone.  Everyone clapped again and she began reading.  It was SO incredible and magical to hear her read the words she had written.  I didn’t want her to stop.  I felt like I was a child again listening to my favorite story and not wanting it to end.  Simply captivating and
so awesome to hear her interpret the voices of her characters.  I REALLY did not want her to stop.  She read from page 378-387…the end of Chapter 19 (The Silver Doe).  When she reached the end of the chapter, she gently closed the book and everyone clapped and stood up again.  She said thank you again and was quite honored at our reaction.  She then said, “I understand that you have some questions for me…so ask away”.  And the people who were pre-selected to ask questions walked up to a microphone in turn to ask their questions. Some of her answers were surprising-Dumbledore being gay…The crowd went wild after a moment of stunned silence…not sure why, I guess it answers the question many have had about him so maybe that is why they were so happy.  I was amazed at how well the people that asked the questions spoke to Jo
without stumbling over there words, especially the younger ones. After the 12 questions, the announcer came back out and said that they had picked some more questions to ask and wanted to know if that was okay with Jo.  So a few more people read their questions but they were
scattered throughout the crowd (one way up by us even).  After they asked their questions and Jo gave her answers, she said she had to go
get ready to sign 2,000 books…and to this yet another standing ovation, and again more tears.  I wasn’t expecting it to be such an
emotional evening.  They were playing a video of Jo doing readings from each of the books from the past few years.  It
was very cool to see/hear her read parts from these other books, but I did not realize the content of the video until she was already reading
from Goblet of Fire.  They played these videos while she signed the books.  They started from the lower level and went up.  We were
waiting in our seats from 8:30 ish (when the “program” ended) until about 11:00 when the ushers came up to say it was our turn to get our
signed copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  The whole time leading up to this starting from when I found out I won the tickets, I
thought about what I wanted to say--to thank her for writing these wonderful books, how awesome the series is and will always be, how I
can’t wait to share them with Josh, that I think she is incredible, etc. etc.  When our row stood up to go I started to cry again.  We had to walk down to the lower level and I had a mounting excitement and nervousness I do not remember feeling for anything before (except maybe on my wedding day or the day Josh was born).  As we got closer, I thought I was going to vomit--my throat was dry, I felt shaky and kind of dizzy…and more tears.  Dad and I both wanted to ask for hugs, and decided I would go up to the table first.  Parts of this are a blur because it happened so fast.  We walked closer and the Scholastic people were saying congratulations and some of us were telling them thank you.  I was shaking again and mouth/throat dry…my mind went blank…and then she was right there, within mere feet of me.  The little girl who was in front of me in line asked Jo for a hug, but the Scholastic rep said no more hugs since Jo’s shoulder hurt, and Jo said “I have a sore shoulder”, but she grasped her hand.  It was my turn and there was this fantastic woman at arm’s length from me.  When I stood in front of her I turned around to show her the “Thank You!” on the back of my t-shirt (the transfer I made) and turned back to her. And I don’t remember if I said thank you or if I just thought it

because the words wouldn't come…but I remember her face-she said “Awww, thank you”…she liked the shirt and she squeezed my right hand.
I was sad for no hug, but at least I got to meet her and she squeezed my hand.  I remember grabbing the autographed book and looking at it

stunned.  I walked away from the table and Jo with others commenting on the cool t-shirts we had (that I made) and I walked on with tears streaming down my cheeks…coming down even now as I recall this once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable experience.  I remember saying thank you to the ushers I passed and being disappointed in myself that I could not find the words to say how I felt when I stood there in front of one of the

greatest authors of all time-one of my favorite, if not THE favorite author of mine.  My voice failed me-I was awestruck or star struck-whatever the word may be.  And I remember earlier watching countless people walking through that line on the video screen wondering why it seemed so many didn’t say anything to her…just like me…but there were lots of kids who walked by talking to her.  She gave lots of hugs, high fives and handshakes…trying to acknowledge each person with at the very least a nod or a smile (all while signing 2,000 books).  She is one of the most, if not the most, incredible women/people I’ve ever had the pleasure in my lifetime to meet. I still cannot believe it happened to me.

WOW Tammy what a amazing day. Im so glad your dad was able to take part with you as well. Thank you for sharing, I know there are a few followers that are fans of J.K. To my followers make sure you stop on by Tammy's PAGE and see her wonderful pieces that she sells. She also is part of my blogoversary, she donated a charm bracelet for my followers to win.


  1. Wow! That would be...well...Wow! Not only am i jealous, I have a 9 yr old who will be when I tell her this story. ;0)

  2. That is hands down the best Once Upon a Book Signing yet!

  3. Thanks Yara! I'll never ever forget meeting Jo...ever. It was unbelievable!!!


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