Monday, April 13, 2015

Reflections from the Road: The Alabama Book Festival

This past Saturday was the 10th Annual Alabama Book Festival. Held in historic Old Alabama Town in downtown Montgomery, and featuring 45 authors of every genre, the festival pulls in book lovers of all ages from all over the state and across the Southeast. I was honored to be a guest of the festival, my first time attending, and it was quite a time. Two things in particular made it a very special day.

A log cabin in Old Alabama Town
First, the venue itself. Old Alabama Town is an 19th century village comprised entirely of actual homes and buildings from the period--although they have been restored not a one is a facsimile. They are all the actual structures from the time! Log cabins, cotton gins, grist mills, doctor's offices, and a general store are just a few of the well over thirty properties that comprise Old Alabama Town. It's an absolutely unique setting for a book fair, and it made the experience that much more enjoyable.

Second, April 11th, the date of the festival, was also International TableTop Day, and the Montgomery Area Gaming Society was on hand to celebrate with a day of board games. As the author of a book in which board games factor quite heavily, I was invited to host Thrones & Bones games as part of the celebration.

I had to drive through torrential rains to get to Montgomery on Friday night, but it was worth it for the reception at the John Blue Hill House adjacent to the Governor's Mansion that evening. Then Saturday morning kicked off with clear skies and a demonstration of Thrones & Bones at Haigler House. Thanks to father and son pair Mike and Alex for being the first to play, and to Alex in particular for a very challenging game. I've never played a Thrones & Bones game that went so long before the first capture! Even as its creator, I never cease to be fascinated by the endless permutations of play that the game allows!
Mike and Alex play a game of Thrones & Bones

Then it was off to the children's area to present Frostborn to a full house--or rather a full tent. My talk was well attended by enthusiastic kids and their parents (who asked very intelligent questions and were a great audience). And thank you to the kids in particular who joined me on stage for help with a demonstration of what a real Viking helmet looked like!

After the talk there was a book signing, the a nice lunch in the Green Room, and back to Haigler House for another round of Thrones & Bones play. And then the day was done.
A glimpse inside the blacksmith's shop.

A last thought: I miscounted when I said two things made the day special. Actually, three things did. The third is, of course, the people who put it on! Everyone connected with the Alabama Book Festival was wonderful and they put on a great event. A huge thank you to Co-Chair Gail Waller, Joe Birdwell, the master of all things gaming, and Capitol Book & News Company, who facilitated book sales and signings for all the authors.

I highly recommend this event and hope to attend again.

No comments: