Life of a Book Hoarder

Author Chat: Elizabeth Bear and Cadwell Turnbull

I recently had the opportunity to listen to Elizabeth Bear and Cadwell Turnbull chat about their latest books (or debut, in Turnbull’s case) and it was an excellent night! I figured I’d share some details with you.

Back when I was on vacation with Melissa, we visited the Silver Unicorn Bookstore with Mum and Mum happened to notice that an author event was taking place in July with two sci-fi authors. One of them was Elizabeth Bear, whose work I’ve read, enjoyed, and begun hoarding. Bear is married to Scott Lynch and they live in Mass, so it’s really cool to meet a local author!

Mum was interested in going, so we met up for dinner first and then killed a little time taking a walk and getting ice cream.

I got a “mini” mango sorbet but it was still so packed that I could barely finish it! It was really good but I eat ice cream very slow. Mum and I definitely could have shared one, as she ended up ordering the same thing. I’d got back though – it’s a cute little place!

Here’s my edgy shot with the setting sun.

When we walked in, Turnbull and Bear were already there, chatting with another woman about cats and dogs – excellent! We bought our books and had a seat. Per usual, I was awkward and quite because I don’t know how to be normal around people I admire. This being Turnbull’s debut, I’m obviously not even familiar with his work, but I think it’s amazing that he’s published!

They were both very casual and cool. I’ve never been to an author event with more than one author before, so this was a new format for me and I really enjoyed it. I loved listening to the two of them talk about each other’s work and their own work and other sci-fi works they love. It was a really random, organic conversation and both authors seem really genuine and likable. Bear was listing so many other sci-fi authors that I need to check out – I wish I’d made note on my phone!

I only took the above and one other awkward, unflattering photo because I didn’t want to be too creepy. There were only about 10 of us at the event, plus the store staff, and it felt weird to just take pictures while they were talking. Afterward, while they were signing everyone’s books I probably could have asked for pictures, but no one else did and my fear of being a weirdo fan stopped me from saying anything. But that’s ok! I’m happy that I was there and able to get my books signed.

Turnbull’s novel has some really nice foil on the cover. Bear mentioned it during the chat, saying his publisher must really love him. This is probably obvious, but not something I’d ever considered – the more fancy add-ons a cover has, like foil, embossing, etc, the more expensive it is to make. So I guess it’s pretty good for a debut author to get something fancy like foil.

Something really cool that Bear does is put the date and location of where she signed the book, when she does events like this. Granted, I’ve only been to a handful of signings (and mostly just Christopher Moore) but I think that’s a really nice touch. It helps set the memory and add another level of personalization. She also keeps a really nice fountain pen on hand. I approve!

I love that Turnbull signs across the whole cover page. I’m not one who would ever get rid of a signed book or one with a dedication in it (fun fact: I like buying books with dedications to others because it makes me sad that someone wouldn’t just keep a personalized book, so I’ll keep it for them!) so I enjoy touches like a large signature or personal note!


This was a really great event and I’m glad it ended up being so intimate. Those of us who attended had a chance to ask some questions or make comments on what the two were saying and I didn’t feel like just another endless face in a huge crowd of fans. I’m sure the authors love having big turnouts though, and I want their events to be successful! But I’m also selfish and really prefer small crowds. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on the Silver Unicorn newsletter for future author events! I definitely don’t attend enough of them.

6 thoughts on “Author Chat: Elizabeth Bear and Cadwell Turnbull”

  1. I haven’t yet tried Bear’s work but I’d like to. That’s nice that the talk was so initimate. I agree that it works best for the fan. You get to ask more questions too.
    I heard about Turnbull’s book from the Shelf Awareness newsletter and I’ve got an eye out for it. I believe it’s sci-fi set in the Caribbean and tackles colonialism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah you’re right about Cadwell’s book. Bear writes fantasy and sci-fi. So far I’ve actually only read one of her fantasy books. But I loved it and so much of her work sounds great, so I’ve bought more 🤣


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