- Brian Jacques
An outgrowth from my Master Storyteller essay, in 1998 I began to provide a place for Redwall fans to share their experience of meeting Brian Jacques. With Brian’s passing in 2011, these stories and recollections have become all the more cherished, helping us remember what a truly fantastic man Brian was. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I did.
When he came to my city, he was there in 2 places in 2 days. I went the first day, got a book signed, and got my picture taken. We spoke for a few seconds about Redwall life. The next day, 10 of my closest friends wanted books signed so I piled the books in a bag and off I went to say hi again. Now, that day, not only did Mr. Jacques remember seeing me the day before, but, he was also nice enough to sign all those books and my new Redwall Map. For me, that is a memory that I will never forget because he was so funny and kind.
My name is Nils and I live in Kissimmee, FL. When I heard that Brian Jacques was touring, I dropped everything and rushed to Vero Beach. I got to shake his hand and when he asked everybody if they had a copy of Redwall with them, I was the only one who did. He read aloud from my book and he autographed it for me. I will never forget it!
Cat’s Paw shares–
Right before I went to go and meet Brian Jacques, I was in a basketball game(my team was really bad). I convinced my parents to let me miss the second half of the game. I got there, and I was number 114 in a line of about 300! I met a guy named Alan there that I knew from school and our local Redwall club. He got to hold up the book for Brian Jacques to read out of. At that point, we were all in a huge semi-circle. He was the best story-teller I have ever heard. He made everything sound so real. He even recited a whole portion of a chapter by memory! It was really cool. When he was done talking, everyone had to line up on the second floor mezzanine. The people who worked at the bookstore said that Brian could only sign three or less books a person because his hand was so tired from signing, it was about to fall off. I took one of Alan’s books with me because he wanted to get four signed. I was standing in line for about 2 hours. Finally, it was my turn. I was so excited! I had figured out before-hand that he was right-handed by the way he writes. I turned out to be right! It was so cool. I talked to him for about 30 seconds before getting pushed on by the next set of people. The book I got signed was Marlfox, because it was in the best condition of all the Redwall books I have. I will never forget how great that day was.
Ellie Bear shares–
I once met my favorite author in my home city of New Orleans. It was quite a pleasure to ask him questions and have him autograph my book. It was at the Maple Street bookstore. He vividly depicted his times as an author and his life prior to fame. He discussed what it was like to be famous. He then allowed the crowd to ask him questions. He only took 3-5 question, and I asked two of them. I asked: what is your favorite Redwall book? and who is your favorite villian? He responded by answering that he did not have a favorite book, but his villian preference was Cluny. The crowd was then invited to wait in line and meet the author. While waiting with my eager friend Francis, I purchased the hardback version of The Long Patrol. When Francis and I met Brian and his wife, we barraged him with many questions. He was very interested in our ideas. We were wondering what would happen to Mariel, Dandin, and Bowly at the end of The Bellmaker. He then autographed most of our books. Another interesting fact was that he was impressed with our interest. He invited us to write to him as part of a club. This was an unforgetable event that I wish could happen again if only Brian visited New Orleans once more.
Greystripe the Scholar shares–
I flew to Seattle in February 2000 to the Elliot Bay bookstore, about 45 mins early, and I couldn’t even get a seat! A low exciting whispering atmosphere hung low for eternity, until he came. I was surprised to see how animated the guy was, gesturing comically about everything he talked about. First, he gave us a brief sketch of his life, and how to become an auther. Then he recited Chapter Two of Redwall from memory. Brian’s accents are amazing. After he had finished talking, he went back through the crowd to a booksigning table. Instantly, a mob formed behind him, and I had to wait like an hour. At last, I got my 2 hardbacks signed, shook his hand, and got my pic taken. I was the happiest kid in the Northwest. He even gave me an unreleased secret for my site when I mentioned it, and said I would be hearing from his lawyer It was the best.
We arrived at Black Forest (they call it Toys & Books, but it’s a library, so I dunno what to call it) from school at around 4:45pm. The parking lot was completely filled, but my mom dropped us off near the crowd at the door. We saw BJ’s limo (which did not appear to actually be in a parking spot). BJ has one of those Secret Service guys. I only saw one.
There were some people sitting in lawn chairs on the grass– those were the smart ones. There was a sort of semicircle of sidewalk in front of the entrance and people were crowded closely around this; some were sitting on the ground but most were standing. It took a few minutes to discover that you had to go in and get a ticket (which was a scrap of paper with your number). I was #305. (I licked mine because I thought I was going to keep it. :P)
A woman from the library came out about every 30 minutes and said for the next 30 people, 31 through 70, to come in. About 30 people went in and the group that would go after them got in a disorganized line at the door. There was a… what do you call them… The stretchy things that separate people into lines… Anyway, there was one of those and the woman told everyone to stay on the left side of it so people that were just going into the library could go in and out without having to wade through too many people. They still had to go through the rest of the crowd though.
Some people had brought 5 or 6 things to be autographed but, upon arriving, realized that they could only have 2. So they were talking to people with only 1 thing and asking if they would get one of their things autographed. I had only brought Legend of Luke, because if you get all your things autographed at once, you won’t have anything to be autographed the next time you see him. (((0.0)))
A nice old lady asked if I could get her granddaughter’s book autographed for her, so I was going to, but then she found someone with #280-something who would go before me. My mom and sister left to get food and I stood near the door so I could hear the woman when she called out numbers.
I saw a boy with a strange hat on- it looked like it was supposed to be a skunk pattern. It was furry and strange. The grey line is where it goes on his head. I didn’t see anyone dressed extravagantly in medieval garb, but some girls were dressed up a bit to look nice.
There were as many male humans as females, and people that looked from 2 years old to 90. Everyone was trying to look in the door to get a peek at Brian. (I was too. I was even sending my sister in to see.) I heard one woman say that it’s remarkable how Brian Jacques can attract readers of so many different ages, and you have to be unusually good to do that. I also heard from the woman in the library that if someone was too late to get a ticket, they could try to come to the bookstore on Monday and some autographed copies of Triss may still be there.
My mom told me, when I was sitting down for a few minutes in the car, that she sat on a bench and a woman sat down beside her and asked her to move over, even though she had plenty of room on the other side, and my mom was squished, and the woman was being a little rude. And then when that woman’s number was called, she got in line in front of everyone who had been standing in line already. It was first come, first serve in your specific group of 30.
So I waited 2 1/2 hours, and ours was the last group called. We walked in and there was a line from the lobby-ish area, which was just a small high-ceilinged room, to the “Community Room”, which was a round room. BJ was at a table with a woman sitting beside him, maybe his wife, and another lady was taking books and opening them to the right page. My mom had the digital camera and was taking pictures of him. And then it was my turn! And I said, “Hi!!” and he was very very nice, and I got behind the table and took a picture with him, and my mommy said, “Thank you, she’s a big fan!” because I couldn’t seem to make my mouth work. And he said, “Alright then, b’bye!” and he smiled. He still smiled after 3 hours and maybe 350 signatures (with something like 50 to go). And then we left. And I licked the place beside where he signed. Because it’s mine, you know. No one else can touch it now because I licked it.
Do you have a story about meeting Brian Jacques you’d like to share? Send it to me and I’ll display it here.