This is a special guest post from Rebecca Alora Walker, Book Blogger and Owner of Vicariously! She attended the Free of Malice launch party and is sharing her experience.
Prologue & Road Trip
When I received the request to review Liz’s book, I was invited to Free of Malice’s launch party because Joel and I live about two hours from the location where it was being held. We love road trips, dressing up, and spending time with each other so we were down to attend. After I’d read the book it became a MUST that we attend to support this wonderful book.
We spent the morning getting ready and made it out the door by 3:30 pm. Joel drove (as he usually does on road trips as I have some truly disastrous luck with getting in some crazy accidents) and we listened to Hamilton, singing and talking on our way.
Arrival At The Red Martini Bar & Book Launch
We got there a bit late due to Atlanta traffic (and some rather hilarious situations) and quickly entered the Red Martini Bar on the red carpet. Joel and I were in awe. This bar looks like it could have been in True Blood. With opulent red walls, black accents, and dim lighting, it should have been gaudy. However, the owners knew what they were doing and the decor resulted in a classy, laid back atmosphere. It suited the launch party perfectly and everyone seemed quite happy to be there.
In Liz’s book, Free of Malice, she mentions several real life locations in Atlanta. Most of them were at the launch party. Joseph Drouhin wine was flowing free and we had the opportunity to try the bar’s signature drink, a red martini. We had amazing barbecue sandwiches from Fat Matt’s Rib Shack, tuna tartare on homemade cracker’s from Davio’s, and guests were given some truly beautiful cookies made by Allison Trueblood (Joel and I laughed at the irony) of Glorious Events.
Once things got going, Liz got up to give a beautiful speech where she thanked everyone who helped her with Free of Malice. She was careful to name everyone who’d made it happen professionally and personally. Her gratitude was palpable and her speech engaging, telling anecdotes and stories, each one giving a glimpse of the many people in her life.
I suffer from an anxiety disorder and Joel is the extrovert of our duo. I was very nervous to talk to the many people and kind of kept to myself at first. This didn’t last for long, however. Liz’s friends approached us, starting conversations and making us feel comfortable. Every person we talked to told us stories about Liz’s kindness, generosity, and how they knew her. Since Joel and I didn’t know Liz personally, the fact that her friends approached us helped us ease into the swing of things.
In the book itself and on Liz’s website, we were introduced to Thomas Barnett. He sings “Let Me Breathe” — the song mentioned in the book. I had the opportunity to speak to him and he was so kind. After Liz gave her speech, we got to listen to Thomas perform live and he did not disappoint. It was a lovely surprise and meeting the inspiration for the character Thomas Bennett was a bit of a fangirl moment for me because Thomas is one of my favorite parts of Free of Malice.
Meeting the Author
Liz herself was absolutely stunning and humble. We had several chances to talk and interact with her. She’s a fantastic lady and her candidness further proved everything they’d said to praise her was undeniably true. A lot of people can be shy at signings or clique off with certain people, making it a bit intimidating to approach them. This was not the case with Liz. She made time for every person there and those that asked it of her. She was constantly engaged in conversation, signing books, and thanking people.
The combination of her friends, the people who helped with her book, the restaurants who catered, and Liz herself, resulted in an intimate and engaging event. I’d be very surprised if anyone left the launch feeling left out or without having a wonderful time.
Joel and I had to go and make the drive back home around 9 pm. Though the event was said to end at 9 on the invitation, when we left, Liz was still making her rounds and signing books. She thanked us for coming and we were on our way.
Three hours later we were both home and exhausted from the night and getting lost in Atlanta for a good bit. It was worth it though. We had an amazing experience.
Joel and I would like to thank Liz and her team for inviting us to the launch, as well as Liz and her friends for ensuring we had a great time and engaging with us. Be sure to check out my review of Free of Malice and get a copy.
I’ll share some of my favorite memories from the Free of Malice launch party later in the week. Until then, I hope you are reading something that captivates your imagination. Liz