I went to a book signing this past weekend. Sadly, I wasn’t the one signing the books. Instead, it was Dan Wells, the LDS author of the John Wayne Cleaver books (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and the just-released I Don’t Want to Kill You), a YA/adult horror/suspense/supernatural series that I ranted about (approvingly) here.
Wells is a former editor of The Leading Edge, BYU’s science fiction and fantasy magazine, where I also got my start in editing back in the mid-1980s (about a decade before Wells, I think). He also tied for the Whitney Award for best first novel in 2009 for I Am Not a Serial Killer — an award for which No Going Back was also eligible, but did not win. I can’t really resent him for it, since I Am Not a Serial Killer is really quite good — and the later books are better.
So I made my way to Uncle Hugo’s, the Twin Cities’ premier independent sf&f bookstore, where Wells was holding forth. I stood around for an hour or so, then went with him and several other fans (including William Morris, a compatriot in the field of Mormon letters and coeditor of the forthcoming Mormons and Monsters anthology), and we went to lunch, where I listened and tried not to talk too much and generally absorbed good writing vibes. And then I went home, while Wells and several of the others made their way to Minicon, an sf&f convention that was being held in Minneapolis Easter weekend and which I had briefly contemplated attending, before deciding otherwise.
It was a good experience. Well, maybe. As a fan, I was glad to go. As a writer, I felt (and feel) deeply ambivalent.