Visiting the Seattle Mystery Bookshop & My Old Stomping Grounds

I lived in Seattle many years ago while attending graduate school, but haven't been back in years. Long before I wrote a mystery novel, I loved reading them, so I frequented the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. (Um, yes, that may have been why I turned into a much better mystery writer than grad student!) It was so much fun to return to the bookshop as a published author.

Staffer Fran read The Accidental Alchemist and made it a Staff Pick. I especially love her review because I won her over! An excerpt:

I have to admit that going into Gigi Pandian's new novel, The Accidental Alchemist, I was a bit skeptical. A reformed alchemist, a French gargoyle that cooks, a murder, AND recipes? I thought that, perhaps, she was a bit ambitious. I was wrong. She's great!

...The pace never lets down, the people are multilayered, and the plot is complicated enough so that it all blends into what promises to be the beginning of a fun new series… 

This a fabulous beginning to a series I'm looking forward to following!” 
--Seattle Mystery Bookshop STAFF PICK from Fran

And I just heard that the book was their #1 trade paperback bestseller in January!

In addition to visiting with old friends, no trip to Seattle would be complete without a stop at one of my favorite stores: Gargoyles Statuary. I lived down the street from this wonderful little shop in the U-District. Someone needs to open a store like this in San Francisco or Berkeley. Any takers?

p.s. Since I've always been a mystery writer at heart, I loved the gray and rainy Seattle weather when I lived there. The weather cooperated beautifully while I was there -- fog and cloud-covered sky, but the rain held off while I was exploring. Luckily the San Francisco Bay Area has plenty of fog, too. So even though I didn't end up in Seattle in the long run, I've got plenty of atmospheric weather to inspire me. 

The Accidental Alchemist Book Launch Party Photos

I brought my stuffed animal gargoyle to join in the fun. He doesn't look exactly like Dorian, the gargoyle in The Accidental Alchemist, but hey, he's still a gargoyle. 

Here he is inside a magician's top hat (relevant to the book). We used the hat to draw names of attendees to win Accidental Alchemist mugs and Book Passage gift certificates.

The gargoyle made the rounds. 

And yes, there was gargoyle-themed beer (in honor of Dorian), as well as French wine (in honor of alchemist Zoe Faust).

Several pals from my writers group joined in the fun.

Future writer?

Bookstore manager Cheryl McKeon was instrumental in making the event a success.

I talked about the story behind the book, did a short reading, and answered audience questions...

...before we got back to socializing and polishing off the gargoyle beer.

I've seen many favorite authors in the Book Passage newsletter over the years, so it was great fun to be included in their latest newsletter to advertise the event.

Thanks to everyone who joined me in person and in spirit!