I had the pleasure of spending yesterday afternoon with Felicia Day – actress, author and self-proclaimed geek. Well, to be more precise, I spent the afternoon talking with fellow fans while waiting to meet Felicia. Felicia is visiting book stores across the States promoting the paperback release of her book, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost). This leg of her tour brought her to Chicagoland, affording Midwesterners a rare opportunity to catch up with her.
As you might expect from someone whose career has been largely defined by her knowledge of gaming and geekdom, the journey that brought Felicia to a nationwide book tour is anything but traditional. The book’s website (feliciadaybook.com) talks about Felicia’s life as a lonely, home-schooled child from the south (Alabama). After entering college when she was just 16 years old, she graduated as valedictorian with a degree in Math. Her independence and “naïve confidence” led her to an acting career and eventually her own web series. The website goes on to describe her life and book:
“Felicia’s rags-to-riches rise to internet fame launched her career as one of the most influential creators in new media. Ever candid, she opens up about the rough patches along the way, recounting battles with writer’s block, a full-blown gaming addiction, severe anxiety and depression—and how she reinvented herself when overachieving became overwhelming.
Showcasing Felicia’s “engaging and often hilarious voice” (USA TODAY), You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is proof that everyone should celebrate what makes them different and be brave enough to share it with the world, because anything is possible now—even for a digital misfit.”
The hardcover and e-book versions of Felicia’s book hit #5 on The New York Times best seller list less than three weeks after they were released in August, 2015. The paperback version was released on April 19, 2016, just 4 days before she autographed my copy and those of over 400 excited, nervous fans on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Chicago.
The atmosphere for the book signing was a bit like a reunion of old friends, or maybe a mini fan convention. People sat wherever they could on the ground or leaned against posts while waiting. Most people came in groups or joined a pre-arranged rendezvous. For those with high numbers in the line, there was plenty of time to talk with those around you. There were of course many Chicago area fans, but people also traveled quite a distance to meet Felicia. One gentleman was in Chicago for a business conference but held over his 6 hour return trip to Iowa so he could meet his lifetime idol. He told me Felicia’s life history while we were in line. A very intimidated mom and dad were there for their daughter who lives out of state but who begged her parents (who obviously live in the area) to get a book and autograph for her.
We ran into a business acquaintance who brought his teenage daughter to meet Felicia. The dad had not heard of Supernatural and did not know anything about Felicia, but his adoring daughter asked for a ride, so he obliged with a family outing (he was so sweet waiting in line with the rest of the fans). Another group of fans were very excited to meet each other for the first time! They called each other by their online names, and said they were part of some group (I couldn’t hear if it was a gaming community or a chat room). A friend of mine drove 3 hours from downstate Illinois to Felicia’s Sunday signing, which included a reading and a full hour question and answer session. There were a lot of Supernatural fans (many wearing “Love Yourself First” hoodies), but I estimate maybe a third of the people were there for Felicia’s other pursuits, e.g The Guild!
Enough about the fans and the book, though! Let’s talk about Felicia! She was sweet and patient and kind to everyone in line. She posed for press photographs (including a few for The Winchester Family Business!) before meeting with her fans, striking her familiar “girl next door” looks that are so endearing.
She made everyone comfortable, calling them by name (which was on a sticky note prepared by the book store assistants), answering questions and casually conversing while personalizing their book. She also posed for pictures with fans! Since my husband and I were in almost the last group of fans to be called up to meet her, she thanked us for braving the “marathon” wait (as she put it – nearly 2.5 hours). I spent part of the time in line trying to decide what I wanted to ask her when I had that single minute of her undivided attention!
I considered several questions that would be more appropriate for her panels at Supernatural conventions, such as “what was her reaction when she learned Charlie was going to die” or “what did she like about Charlie’s relationship with Sam and Dean” or “What was her favorite aspect of Charlie’s personality.” One fan before me asked if she would consider coming back to Supernatural. Of course she said “Yes!…but they haven’t asked yet!” Another asked if she will be doing any Supernatural conventions this year. She said, “Yes”, but she thought Burbank was the only one. Ultimately, I decided it would be more interesting to ask her what she wanted to talk about, so I asked her if there was anything she would like to say to The WFB readers. She said to tell everyone that she is very grateful to her Supernatural family for their love and support. She loves meeting Supernatural fans on the book tour and enjoys hearing what her book means to people. Judging from the elated conversations of people as they walked away from talking to her, her fans return the love.
You can sample 6 audio tracks on the book’s website, plus check out the remaining stops on her tour: Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio; Carrboro, North Carolina; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Since I just purchased the book yesterday, I haven’t yet had a chance to read it. I’d love to hear from anyone who has finished the book, though! Reactions? Favorite chapters? What’s ahead for me?
Good Luck with the book, Felicia! Thank you for visiting us!