It’s not every day you get to meet the person who started it all. For me many, oh so many years ago, I borrowed a copy of Magician on the advice of a friend. This weathered tome sat thick and awkward in my youthful, 13 year old hands as I remained doubtful I could read something so large. All my school novels to date had been in the 200 page category and dreary, technically dissected chores at best.
As if fated I ended up in a miserably cold, winter flooded, Gippsland region for a long weekend and with little else to do opened page one. Three days evaporated as I devoured this all engaging story. Oh my word what a journey. I was hooked. Since then I have read all of Feist, Eddings and countless others.
Jump forward some 28 years, last night my wife – an avid Feist reader too – and my friend Daniel from work attended ‘An Evening with Ray Feist’ in Frankston. Ray made a quip about having to drive out of state, that is to say Frankston is a long way from Melbourne. Daniel whispered ‘wait until he sees his car up on bricks’ which I found particularly amusing.
Ray spoke for a solid half hour about his journey, life, love of his children, touched on sports, fine dining and of course Magician’s End. After all he is on tour promoting his latest release. He followed with a Ray driven and quite open, no MC interference here thank you very much, Q&A. Questions ranged from advice to aspiring writers to which he answered ‘sit down and write. Don’t attend workshops etcetera, just write. Don’t stop and you’re a writer.’ Great advice indeed.
Other questions touched on television and movie interest in his stories to his opinion on e-books and their effect on the publishing industry. He replied ‘I have no idea’. His books have been under e-book contract for 10 years and still he can’t tell if he is getting a good deal. The industry is dynamic and he’s along for the ride like the rest of us. There is no crystal ball.
Like all good things the Q&A session drew to an end. Ray has endured a tough week after being delayed out of New Zealand and then a whirlwind weekend at SupaNova in Sydney. I think Melbourne – scratch that Frankston, received a wonderful delivery from a jetlagged, industry seasoned professional. Ray put in a great effort and showed interest in genuine engagement.
The usual mayhem for determination of a signing line ensued with everyone shuffled about in milling confusion. Step in the lady from Robinson’s bookstore – plug for Robinson’s they put on a great night with food & drink aplenty and well organised, great value for $15. A few quick directions and order restored. At a guess there would have been 400 attendees and all carried multiple books, trophies of pleasant journeys held close to the breast.
We had great seats for the night, right in the middle of the second row. For the signing the Robinson’s lady decreed the front rows would go first. Wow, we were through in 15 minutes. Very cool!
Our moment in the sun with Ray…
For me, the highlight of the evening remains clear. I got to say to my all time Author legend ‘I love your books’ as I patted him on the back after posing for the shot to which he replied ‘that’s great, makes me glad’. I’m certain he’s heard those words countless times before and it’s probably a bit corny however it felt great to say anyway.
Without his vibrant stories I would not be who I am today.
Now, back to the writing…