...is a complete cheat of a title, because I'm talking about Anne Rice, not her Prince Lestat. It fit the "P" thing I have going on (by accident), so there you go.
This entire post is a cheat compared to the others, because I didn't really get this autograph whilst talking to her. I happened upon this signed first edition amongst our freebie books at work (it's sort of funny--she didn't even sign one of the title pages, but instead, just the blank page just inside the cover). I did, however attend a signing of hers once, completely by accident.
Way back when, circa 1998, I lived in Louisville, Kentucky. I was two years out of college, and getting my bearings in the city and in my young adult life (that statement may be overindulgent, but I think it's true). Sometimes I would feel overwhelmed and like I was drifting. When I needed to drift, but stay tethered to something, I would do so by going to the movies or browsing endlessly in any number of bookstores around town. I hadn't thought of this one in ages until just now, as I am typing--Hawley Cooke--which no longer exists. That was the bookstore whose dark parking lot I was in, walking toward the door when my best friend of only 3 years then (20 now) called to me from across the way. He was with his friend Courtney, who I'd met before, and they were there to buy Anne Rice's Pandora, and have it signed by the lady herself. I'd had no idea she was there (drifting...drifting...). I was so glad to see them, and of course I went in for the experience. I had at least read Interview with the Vampire, and had seen the film in the theater, so I was at least not a complete Rice virgin.
Anne was dressed pretty eccentrically, like a character in one of her books. I remember being surprised that she had gray hair. She sat at a table and the line wound around the store. I didn't buy a book, which I regret, but since I was so soon out of college, I was probably broke. It was an exciting time when and where I was figuring stuff out, and one aspect of that process was figuring out how to pay the electric bill, and get a hardcover to be signed. I would eventually figure that out with time and experience. I don't have a picture of Anne, because we all didn't have cameras in our pockets back then.
I had fun with my pals. That's about all I remember from that night. It was dark, the stars were out, and there was a lady who seemed like magic, and we were young. And I didn't have to just drift through the aisles that time (though when I did, and do still, I really enjoy it). I know I'm looking back on this and totally romanticizing it. That's a thing that I do probably much more than I notice.
My signed book, though not the one from that night, eventually came around, so that's pretty cool, I guess. A happy coincidence.