Working in the book industry, you tend to get a lot of exposure to different authors you might not otherwise pick up and read. When I worked at Waldenbooks, I got to check books out on a library style system so that employees could gain more product knowledge without actually having to spend all of their money on all of the books they were reading. It was pretty genius, especially for someone like me who was really only familiar with the authors I really liked and was reluctant to spend cash on books I wasn't sure I'd enjoy. So, since I was in charge of our fiction section, I spent day after day after day shelving books with interesting titles or by authors I hadn't heard of before. One day I was shelving books and I came across a title that immediately sparked my interest. It was called Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. I did a quick read of the synopsis on the back of the book and thought it sounded funny. I picked up a copy and took it into the break room with me when I went on my lunch break and read the prologue. I laughed like crazy and decided I had to read this book. So, I did. I read that one and the other two we had in stock by this guy and thought "This is some seriously funny stuff". So, when I finished the book I saw that he puts his e-mail in the "about the author" section of his books and I decided to send him an e-mail saying that I worked for a bookstore and I really enjoyed his books. This sounds creepy, but I should also add in that I e-mail restaurants whenever they give good service, stores when I have received good service from them, so basically whenever anyone goes above and beyond my expectations and I have an opportunity to thank them, I send along a little thank-you note. Anyway, I experienced the unexpected when he actually e-mailed me back and started a conversation. I did not expect that. So, I spent some time on his fan message boards, where there were not a ton of fans at the time, and when he was doing a signing at a Borders in Ann Arbor I asked if he'd mind stopping by my Walden store. So he did. Seriously, coolest guy ever right?
Fast forward to a few years later when I'm working in the corporate offices for Borders and get an e-mail from a co-worker saying Chris is going to be in the office one afternoon. Although having a written dialogue with him for years, I am still a bit reluctant for face to face contact with people I admire and think are totally awesome, so I walk past the room where he's signing books for buyers and inventory analysts and I hear "Fine Becky, just pretend I'm not here. I hate you now" as I walk past the room. So...I go in and we have a chat, which kind of bewildered the buyers in the room because we had pre-existing rapport, and then I got my book signed, left and went to the public signing with some other local people from the message boards that night. We had a good time, and that was that.
Fast forward again to two days ago when I check my Facebook and get a message from my friend British Jeff (I mention that he's British because I know several Jeff's and want to specify which one I'm talking about) saying to check the message boards because I'm needed. What? Right. So, I check the boards and see that Chris is doing a Live at 01 Borders book club taping here in Michigan on the 30th and there's a call out to me, Jeff and Steve (lives in the area as well) specifically to come do this book club discussion, so I'm like "Cool, I'm in!" because it sounds like fun. Well then I check my private messages on Myspace and Chris had sent me a request to attend this and I'm like "Wow, cool, I was specifically requested. I'm all flattered and stuff!" so now I'm going to go to Store 01 on the 30th and chat about his new book (see picture above) with some friends of mine and with Chris and have it taped to stream on the Borders.com website. How freaking cool is that?!