Sunday, October 16, 2011

The First Time I Met an Author

I love reading author blogs because an author is never really who you would expect them to be. Someone can write a book on bird watching and be a tattooed biker or write an out of this world fantasy and be your best friend’s grandmother. You really never know what an author will be like until you meet them. The very first time I met an author my grandmother and I already had a set idea of how she was going to look and act. We were completely sure she would drop down from the heavens like a goddess from above and have floor length scarlet hair and say profound things that would change our lives. I case you haven’t guessed, I was only ten years old when this happened (and already had my over active imagination).

The author we were going to meet was Tamora Pierce, author of the ‘Song of the Lioness Quartet’, ‘Immortals Quartet’, ‘Protector of the Small’, ‘Circle of Magic’, Etc. etc. etc.

I think I was actually the opposite of disappointed. Seeing that she was a real, normal person like the rest of us there did more profound things than anything she could have said if she had been the goddess divine I have imagined her to be. (Which by the way, if you ever read this Tamora, my grandmother and I were sure you would be 7 feet tall!) For a few moments I caught off guard but then she started to talk to us and I was sure she was the creator of the worlds I had been obsessed with diving into. It gave me strength, it made me proud that someone could do that and create that world and made me realize it wasn’t purely magic. That anyone including me could do it if they had those worlds in their imagination.

She was funny, she made all of us laugh and we got to meet her husband and once the two of them were talking together it had us all ready to fall over laughing. It was so comfortable and relaxed but it still felt important and made me feel special for getting to have been there. It made me realize that an author wasn’t just an author. In her case it also made me realize different things about her that I admired including the way she took in everything around her and thought things through almost constantly, you could see her thoughts going as she talked to us and even as she was signing afterwards. Not only that but she made a point of being kind to each of us.

Many of the girls there had dressed like Alanna or had purple pendants on to look like the one she wore in the series so I felt a little out of place in my bright pink pajamas (it was at 11 at night) but I walked straight up to her with my pile of books and got them signed for myself and my friends back home. I was so sure she would laugh at my PJs or treat me like less than these obviously avid fans but instead she smiled at me and talked to me for a few moments longer and added a few little lines in to the novel she had signed. I was on cloud nine afterwards for feeling so singled out and having gotten her personal attention. Which earned me a few glares from some of those girls but I just smiled the entire way out of the store and back home.

When people ask me when I started writing or the moment that led to me becoming an author I almost always say when I came to Washington and my fiancé told me “just do it, write because you want to.” but thinking back, it wasn’t that moment. It was the moment when I was watching the woman who had made my life so much better and more enriched talk to us like we were her equals. It was that moment when she spoke with me and smiled at me and made me feel like I was special. When she proved to me that the people around me were filled with so much more than I had ever realized and that some of them had entire worlds in their imagination. I had always scribbled little lines I would hide away in notebooks under my mattresses but it wasn’t until that day that the seed in my mind was planted that eventually, those notebooks could become something more.

What was your first author experience like?


  1. haha, a more interesting story would be the first author I met who I made an ass out of myself in front of. I used to be a writing conference director, so met lots of authors, but when Piers Anthony was the invited keynote, I almost passed out. He's the whole reason I became a bibliophile, and also an author. I fangirled so hard during that first meeting, I think I scared the poor man!

    But the next day, he sat with me for over an hour, one-on-one, to talk craft, plotting, world building, and the business of publishing. I've never forgotten that, or when he came to his session the following day, brought me a copy of his latest book which he'd already signed for me. That book now holds a place of honor on my bookshelf.


  2. Awwww! That is so awesome!!!!!! Thank you for sharing that. I think my fiance would have had the same reaction only with an added heart attack. So cool! <3

  3. For readers, meeting authors is such an awesome experience as I look back on the first time I'd met Teresa Medeiros, fellow romance author. I wasn't published yet and she was the guest author to sit at our table during a conference in Cincinnati. This woman is so down to earth! As readers, we put authors up on pedestals and assume they're unapproachable. This is so wrong! Teresa chatted with us the entire hour and a half at our table to show us how down to earth she was. I'll never forget what a sweetheart she truly is!

    Thank you Teresa!

  4. Tamora Pierce is amazing. When I saw her at a signing a couple years ago, I thought she'd be larger than life too. So when she walked slowly in and started to recite all the awards she'd won in a crackly, cough-interrupted voice, I was about ready to cry.

    And then she had a coughing fit, took a sip of water, and said in a perfectly normal voice, "I love seeing the looks on your faces when I do that."

    Made my day. I swear, that made her even more of a writing goddess to me. I've always adored her books, but hearing how smart and witty she was at the signing was just amazing. She even got into a feminism discussion with my friend's mom.