Monday, April 14, 2014

A day with Eloisa James...

This past Monday, I was surprised when I received an e-mail blast announcing that Eloisa James was going to be in St. Louis!

I live smack dab in the middle of Missouri, a bit on the northern side really, so I am almost 3 hours from the STL. But there was no way I was going to let Eloisa visit Missouri and NOT meet her.

A fan of her from my very early romance reading years, I’ve loved everything she’s done. In case you had recently read Julia Quinn’s B&N column, she talks about authors you know just by the tone of their writing. Eloisa is one of those authors for me. Immediately upon picking her books up, I know that I’m going to be transported away from my Midwestern world into the wilds of England. I want to be transported and Eloisa James’ books are guaranteed to do it for me.

So since that exciting Monday, I had been plotting how to get to St. Louis in order to meet her. Calling the library was little help to be quite honest, they didn’t know anything about her. In the week before Eloisa’s visit, I called three different times just wanting a little more information about what was going to happen. Having three different people answer the phone, I got three different responses to her visit. I’m pretty resourceful, so after receiving unsatisfactory answers from the staff members, I went to the author herself!

My dachshund, Daisy Jane 
If you haven’t checked out Eloisa James’ website or her Facebook page, you are definitely missing out. Regularly posting funny tidbits about her travels, writing, and life, I may stalk her FB page a teensy bit. She has a pretty great sense of humor, but I live for her stories about Lucy, the family dachshund. (Since I have my own dachshund, Daisy Jane, I feel like we’re totally bonded)

Anyway, long story short I emailed Eloisa and she told me about her visit. Definitely deciding that I would have to make that long drive, I made sure I was off of work, filled my car with gas, and was ready to go.

Forgive the poor picture quality, I was trying to be a sneaky picture taker
Waking up to get to St. Louis by 9:30, when you know the drive is about 3 hours isn’t a fun experience. Eyes itchy, morning breath, and grumpy attitudes all were present but after a McMuffin from McDonald’s, I settled in for the trip. Easily finding the library when I entered the Lou, I heard laughter coming from downstairs. That was the exact moment I knew I had arrived.

Having never met Eloisa before, I had just experienced her really through social media sites and her pictures in the backs of her books. When I entered the room, a teensy bit late,  I was arrested by the soft spoken, smartly dressed woman at the front. You could easily tell that Eloisa is used to speaking to avid fans, she was completely at ease.

I’ve never been to an author experience like this one before. A group of fans sat in a close circle around Eloisa and anything was open season. No question was off limits and Eloisa was frank and honest with all of her answers.

Here are just a few of my favorite Eloisa tidbits…
  • Her father is Robert Bly, an acclaimed poet, and her mother (Carol) was a short story author
  • She still works as a professor and teaches courses on Shakespeare
  • Eloisa writes with history as a backdrop in many of her stories. Not that this surprised me because I kind of realized it, but I didn’t realize it was true with ALL of her books. As she was talking about incorporating historical elements into her stories, she walked over and picked up four books a local bookseller had on his table. She then systematically went through and described the historical pieces she included and why it was important. My favorite Eloisa James book, When Beauty Tamed the Beast, has the scarlet fever epidemic as a focal point. Again, I might have realized this, but not to the extent that its true, so it was fascinating to hear her speak on it.
  • Several times, people asked her how she manages her time. Her response, act like a man! Believe everything you do is fantastic and put forth your best effort. Also, remember not to spend wasteful time on the internet.
  • I'm so excited!!
    She enjoyed writing, but really, the main reason she began writing fiction was to pay off her student debt.
  • She suggested reading Orange is the New Black (which I also really enjoyed!) if you like memoirs - she loved it.
  • She lived briefly in St. Louis and taught at Washington University before her son turned two.
  • We discussed our mutual love for Julie Garwood
  • Eloisa’s family is planning on going to London to live for a year...and yes, they are taking Lucy!
  • Eloisa writes roughly one book a year
  • Vander’s story will be next up and she’s currently writing his story. (Double woot woot!)

There were a few tidbits that couldn’t leave the room, so I’ll leave those to your imagination. Rest assured though, Eloisa has some pretty amazing things up her sleeves.

After a pretty enlightening Question and Answer session, Eloisa was up for signing books and taking pictures. Now understand, I’m a total fangirl and was calm and collected until I actually got up to meet her. Then I turned into a fast talking uberfan I swore I wouldn’t be, but hey, it was with a New York Times bestselling author, so I think I’m a little justified. I even got a copy of my favorite book signed along with my ereader case.

Intelligent, kind, and incredibly sweet, meeting Eloisa James was everything I could have hoped for. I loved the one on one author experience and really enjoyed actually getting into the thought processes behind the romance. A day I won’t forget, if Eloisa comes to a city near you, I guarantee you, it’s worth the long hours in the car.

Check out my totally glowing reviews of Eloisa's past books -
Three Weeks with Lady X

Total fangirl at the moment - but I didn't even care!


  1. what a total fun experience!
    glad you persevered =)
    thx for sharing & HapPy reading!

  2. Awesome, nothing like meeting a favorite author. Sounds like a great event!

  3. It was a good time. Glad that you braved the long trip to see her.

  4. I'm so happy you were able to attend. Eloisa James is so lovely, and she certainly does write well, doesn't she?! :) I hope there are many more author visits in your future, Rachael!

  5. So glad you made the trip. I discovered Eloisa's books a couple of years ago and have been devouring them. Looking forward to Lady X.

  6. So exciting to meet a favorite author! Good for you for reaching out to meet her.