There have been plenty of book tie-ins for cult favorite television series' over the years, from Twin Peaks' Secret Diary of Laura Palmer to Dale Cooper: My Life, My Tapes, etc. Even Californication's Hank Moody recently had his career-making novel God Hates Us All released for real-life rabid reader consumption. Few screen-to-page tie-ins have been released with such expert meta execution, however, as Heat Wave, currently still negotiating the New York Times best-seller list despite its actual author remaining a mystery; ostensibly, it was written by Richard Castle, the mystery novelist portrayed by Nathan Fillion on ABC's sophomore drama Castle. To its credit, the network has been smart enough to strike while the iron is hot, sending the endlessly charismatic Fillion (who commanded a massive fanbase even before the show hit the air, thanks to his starring role in Joss Whedon's Firefly ) out to promote the book as Richard Castle. How meta can this promotion get?!
Well, not as meta as we initially thought; from all the promo done by Barnes & Noble at the Grove for last night's in-store appearance, one might be forgiven for thinking Fillion would actually take the mic in-character to wax charming about his experiences puzzling out murders with homicide detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), on whom he based his latest creation Nikki Heat. But when the actor did appear in front of the hefty crowd of fans with books in hand it was as his own self, not as Rick Castle. No reading from the novel, either, although that's easily forgiven considering the queue he had to get through for autographs pretty much stretched back as far as the eye could see (for all we know, the last guy or gal in line was standing outside the NYPD precinct where Castle and Beckett solve their cases every week).
“How many of you have been here since 8 a.m?!” Fillion wanted to know. When one hand shot up rather quickly, he added, “Aaand how bad do you have to pee?”
Slightly misleading advertising aside, there are few performers working today as effortlessly likeable and personable as Fillion, and he took quickly to a barrage of questions about the show's characters, plot lines, and clever cameos from the likes of James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell as Castle's circle of friends, helped here and there by series creator Andrew Marlowe. Also in the house were director Rob Bowman (a veteran of such series as The X-Files) and co-stars Seamus Dever and Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Among the nuggets of news revealed to the crowd — though it's no news to anyone who follows Fillion's terrifically entertaining tweets — is the fact that the upcoming Halloween episode will feature a prominent visual Easter egg that will send fans of Firefly into squeeing fits on their sofas. “Only the most clever and nerdy will catch it,” Fillion promised with a grin. “People like me.”