I adored Morgan Matson’s latest novel, Save the Date (read my 5-star review), so I was beyond excited that the tour was making a stop close to where I’m at (yay for not having to drive 1+ hours for a book event)! I went to the event by myself, so even though I ended up getting to the event later than I had wanted to, I was able to squeeze into an open seat in the second row. The event was on the smaller side, but I loved how intimate that made it feel. Also, donuts and the cute Save the Date sticker set were provided for everyone!
Once Morgan arrived, she started out by explaining a little bit about what the book is about and reading a passage from it (the scene where Charlie and Bill find out that the elegant rehearsal dinner has been turned into an Australian-themed birthday party). In writing Save the Date, Morgan wanted to change things up and challenge herself. Morgan’s past novels all take place throughout a whole summer, so she set a timeframe of one weekend for this book. It was organically supposed to be four days—Thursday through Sunday—but ended up having to take out Thursday to condense the book. It took her two years and five drafts to write Save the Date as it’s very plot heavy and she wanted to make it shorter after hearing feedback from readers that The Unexpected Everything was too long. Another big change is that Charlie is her oldest protagonist. Charlie’s getting ready to leave for college whereas her other main characters are juniors/seniors in high school. Morgan actually took Charlie’s fear of change and not wanting to go to college from her own life. She wanted Charlie to learn what it took her many years to learn—you can hold on but life is going to move on without you.
After the reading, Morgan dived into questions from the audience. She talked about the different easter eggs in her books including a Grant Central Station reference in The Unexpected Everything and her homage to Taylor Swift. Morgan actually worked closely with the illustrator on the comic strips featured in the book and loves how they turned out. She also talked about how Since You’ve Been Gone will always hold a special place for her. Part of it is because the book she wrote before (Second Chance Summer) was so heavy so this was a fun turning point and another part because this was the first project she worked on with her current editor. Morgan couldn’t go into much detail about her next book, but she did hint that it’s bigger in scope than any of her previous novels and will be another challenge for her.
The signing was able to begin early and each reader went up to her one at a time since the event was so small. I loved talking with Morgan, who really is the sweetest. I shared with her how much I loved Save the Date and how much I related to Charlie’s (and her own) dislike of change, and I really appreciated how long we were able to talk. Huge thanks to Morgan Matson and Barnes & Noble for a fun, intimate event!