‘It’s me. Hi. I’m the author. It’s me’: Utah writers to gather for Taylor Swift-inspired event

Swift’s ‘Eras’ Tour is the basis for the event, happening on Wednesday — Swift’s birthday — at The King’s English.

(Palak Jayswal | The Salt Lake Tribune) The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City is scheduled to host an authors event with a Taylor Swift-inspired theme, on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023 — Swift's birthday.

A Utah take on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour is happening Wednesday — the singer-songwriter’s birthday — at The King’s English Bookshop in Salt Lake City.

A group of 13 authors (Swift’s self-proclaimed lucky number) will gather on Dec. 13 to meet with fans, sign copies of their books and — in a move Swifties would approve of — exchange friendship bracelets.

The event is free to everyone, but pre-registration on Eventbrite is required. Go to kingsenglish.com for a link to register.

Author Krysti Meyer is the mastermind of Wednesday’s Swift-themed event — a fundraiser for the nonprofit BrainFoodBooks, which aims to encourage children to read. Meyer does graphic design and social media for the nonprofit, which she said is “very near and dear to my heart.”

Meyer will be reading from her second novel, a small-town second-chance romance being released Tuesday with the Swift-inspired title “Never Getting Back Together.” (Meyer made a playlist for her book, and Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” is on it, along with her versions of “All Too Well” and “Is It Over Now?”)

The book, Meyer said, is “about a girl named Quinn who actually happens to have the same chronic health condition that I do.” That condition is mast cell activation syndrome, in which a person repeatedly experiences the same symptoms of having severe allergic reactions.

The story, she said, “isn’t about that condition. I wanted to write a rom-com where that character can have a fun, light love story, because life with chronic illness isn’t all about the illnesses. It’s about all of the good things as well. It’s just something that people have to deal with.”

The Eras Tour theme came about, Meyer said, because she wanted to do something unique that would attract people to her book launch — and raise money for BrainFoodBooks.

Each of the 13 participating Utah authors — besides Meyer, there’s Lyla Sage, Tricia Levenseller, Tiana Smith, Kathryn Purdie, Samantha Hastings, Bradeigh Godfrey, Kaela Rivera, Lena Jeong, Lindsey Leavitt, Sara Zarr, Mackenzi Lee and Mickey George — are all women.

(Krysti Meyer | BrainFoodBooks) Krysti Meyer, part of The Eras Tour event at The King's English, crafted an event poster similar to Taylor Swift's tour poster.

Each was assigned a different “era,” based on the genre and content of their published books. The eras include kid lit, fantasy and graphic novels. Each author, Meyer said, gave feedback about which era they wanted to represent.

“We really tried to pick a group of authors that would have good representation for all the different kinds of genres that readers could want to come to the event,” she said.

Meyer acknowledged that “we have some amazing male authors in the state,” but that “2023 has just been such an incredible year for art made by women — from, like, the Eras Tour, but also the ‘Barbie’ movie. So we thought it’d be really fun to celebrate art and books made by women at this Taylor Swift-inspired event.”

Meyer, who is handling the “rom-com” era at Wednesday’s event, calls herself a “diehard” Swiftie — and the Time magazine Person of the Year’s songs always top her end-of-the-year charts. (Meyer’s favorite album is “Lover,” because the “aesthetic and vibe” gets her into the right space for writing. But, she said, her favorite tends to change daily.)

“I listen to her music when I’m writing, and I just love that her music is so approachable to people, but also it always has a narrative to it,” Meyer said. “I feel like it draws in a lot of readers because it’s like listening to a story.”

The members of a book club Meyer hosts at TKE, called YA & Wine, helped her make the 700 friendship bracelets she plans to pass out at the event, she said.

The goal, Meyer said, “is not only to have readers come in, buy books and get them signed by the authors, but also to connect with the book community to bring readers and authors together I personally know all the authors that are participating because I go to so many book events at The King’s English. That’s where I meet them all.”

Author Lyla Sage is representing the “Cowboy Romance Era,” and will be signing her debut romance novel, “Done and Dusted.”

Sage self-published the book in June, but when its popularity grew on places like BookTok (TikTok, for book lovers), Penguin Random House picked it up in October. It’s now listed as one of Barnes & Noble’s Best Books of 2023, in the “Best ‘Happily Ever Afters’” category.

Cowboy romance, Sage said, is “kind of a subgenre of the more general romance genre that specifically have, you guessed it, cowboys — and mine kind of hone in on that a little bit more because they take place in the Wild West.”

The subgenre is having a resurgence, she said, “which is exciting because they’re my favorite genre.”

Her follow-up to “Done and Dusted,” the second book in her “Rebel Blue Ranch” series, “Swift and Saddled,” will be released in March.

Sage said she has known Meyer for a few years now, and that Meyer was the first person to interview her about “Done and Dusted” — on Meyer’s “Get Cozy” podcast when the book came out in June.

Sage also calls herself a Swiftie — “Red” is her favorite album, but she currently is in her “‘Reputation’ era,” she said. Sage has made a few bracelets to hand out at Wednesday’s event, along with some other surprises, including overlays and stickers, to distribute.

The “Eras” event, she said, is the first time Sage will be signing books in person — and to have it happen locally means a lot.

Sage went to the University of Utah, she said, “so The King’s English is not just my local indie now, but it’s a place that I spent a lot of time and some really formative years of my life. I picked up books that I love from there, books that got me through finals, weeks and hard times and breakups and makeups and all of that sort of thing. It feels like this surreal and full-circle moment, to be able to sign my own book in person at a store that I love and that does so much for the local community.”