I attended the Philippine book launch of Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto, a book that has been getting a lot of buzz in the local scene lately. This was the third book launch that I’ve attended so far, first was Tall Story and then Mockingjay. Sam was one of the special guests in the most recent Goodreads meet up so I got the chance to meet her (very briefly) last Saturday. She’s such a friendly lady and it was a pleasure to listen to her talk about her book – from her inspirations to her writing process. Before Ever After is Sam’s debut novel and I think it’s great that she’s been published by one of the biggest publishers in the world, Random House. For those who have no idea what book I’m talking about, here’s the summary from the author’s website:
Three years after her husband Max’s death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max–same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose – he could be Max’s long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.
As outrageous as Paolo’s claims seem–how could her husband be alive? And if he is, why hasn’t he looked her up? – Shelley desperately wants to know the truth. She and Paolo jet across the globe to track Max down – if it is really Max – and along the way, Shelley recounts the European package tour where they had met. As she relives Max’s stories of bloody Parisian barricades, medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley begins to piece together the story of who her husband was and what these new revelations mean for her “happily ever after.” And as she and Paolo get closer to the truth, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.
Looks pretty interesting, right? And I’m a big fan of that cover, I think it’s pretty. I’m currently in the middle of it and I plan to finish reading the book within the week. Judging by the number of attendees in the launch earlier and the coverage that the book has been getting in newspapers as well as online venues, I feel like Before Ever After has a promising future. I had fun with the launch, but then again, I always do whenever I attend book-related events. I have a minor quibble though – I think it would have been better if the interview portion veered away from discussing the contents of the book because there were some spoilery bits mentioned. The book has been released just this week so I think most of the guests are not yet done reading it. But I did love that there was a shout out for all the philosophy lessons that Sam took in Ateneo because that helped with her writing. Loved those classes when I was in college as well! Anyway, on to pictures. Chicken and egg-themed snacks were served since one of the main characters has a thing for poultry:
Here’s the author, signing books:
And the requisite group picture with Goodreads people: