…Warning this blog post contains moments of fandom. You have been warned…

Monday night I, along with a bunch of friends, had the pleasure of meeting one of my all time writing idols, Matthew Reilly. He gave a free 1 hour presentation encompassing all of his books including some exclusive titbits of upcoming novels. That’s plural if you missed it. Very cool. The venue was packed. Along with 259 other fans, I listened, laughed and engaged directly with Matthew. He spoke of the film options of his books and I asked a question. Fascinating stuff. Friends asked questions too. This was awesome!

I guess the thing that impressed me the most was how down to earth he is. I actually greeted him upon arrival as I happened to be standing alone outside the entry doors when he strolled down the path. I introduced myself and shook his hand. Insert happy dance imagery. We had a quick chat before I led him inside and out of the blistering Melbourne sun. Again, very cool.

A bunch, perhaps 25 or so, fans were early and granted access into the theatre when doors opened at 6 pm. He was scheduled to present from 6:30. At 6:05 he wandered out across the stage, pulled up a chair and began to speak. Casual like, inviting questions. Real, human, open and interactive. He didn’t have to do that, in fact he didn’t have to come down to Melbourne – he lives in Sydney – at all however he did. Very cool.

The rest of the crowd flooded in and soon enough he rolled into his polished talk. Fascinating to hear how so much content of his books is based on real life events, locations and fact. He performs thorough research of the many intricate details to the nth degree. I could go on and on…

Like all good things the hour flew by and his presentation came to an end. A flood of humanity was held back by the library members who organised the event. They managed the crowd well as I think they anticipated we all might try to swamp him at the signing. Alas I was unable to remain behind due to family commitments. Instead I left a book behind with a close friend and, of course, Matthew signed it. Very cool.

I only managed to capture a single decent picture even though I took many. What can I say, I’m better with words than a SLR:

For Matthew, describing him as affable doesn’t cover it. He is an enthusiastic, patient and genuine person. Did you catch the bit where I mentioned he gave up his evening for free? He made a point of mentioning anyone with children should line up first for the signing so they can get away at a decent time. The signing didn’t end until almost 10 pm.

Here is a shot of some friends of mine at the signing…

Matthew remains the very model of the author I aspire to be.

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