If you aren't an author yourself, you might think that we all hobnob with each other regularly. But the truth of it is, we almost all have our own holy grail of authors that when/if we meet we are reduced to squealing fans around.
Before I was published, I met Tamora Pierce. The reason I was at her reading was because I was a fan, not because I was an aspiring writer. So when I won a copy of her new book in a drawing, I was beyond happy. But I've always been painfully shy, and I couldn't even bring myself to approach her to get the book signed. What a dork! I really wish I could relive that moment.
Just to prove I'm not the only author out there who fangirls when she meets her faves, I collected a few stories to share.
Tracey M. Cox on meeting Bruce Coville:
It was amazing. One of those moments when you tell yourself to, “Be cool. Be cool”, but inside your hopping around going, “Oh my gosh. Oh. My. Gosh. OH MY GOSH!” Hahaha.
Kim McDougall on meeting Timothy Findley
It was a long time ago (maybe 20 years): Timothy Findley is the author of my all-time favorite novel "Not Wanted on the Voyage." I met him at Books and Breakfast in Montreal's Ritz Carleton at a signing for his newest release Piano Man's Daughter. I told him I wished that I had a copy of Not Wanted on the Voyage for him to sign, but I loved it so much that I kept giving my copies away to friends to read. He asked me for my address and said he would try to send me one. Months went by and I forgot about it. Then in the mail, I received a hardcover version of the book with his usual mantra "Against Despair" and his signature. He apologized for the wait because he'd been on tour. But he didn't forget. Classy guy.
In 1986 I attended a lecture and book signing by Ray Bradbury in Santa Barbara. At the time, I was hoping to start writing professionally and was taking a class through the Institute of Children's Literature. After the lecture, I asked Bradbury to sign one of his books for me, and told him that his lecture had really inspired me to start writing a story that had been percolating in my brain for several years. He was so gracious and encouraging, it was really awesome to hear someone so famous taking the time to encourage me. And I still remember the advice he gave me: "Never give up. Writing is hard, but if you love it and stick with it, you will get somewhere." I went home and started writing that story, and three years later it was published as a novella.
Me on meeting Maggie Stievfater
I learned she'd be presenting at WordStock one year and this time I was determined to overcome my stupid shyness. I even stood in a long line in order to get her signature. When I finally got to the front, I said something like, "Hi, I don't know if you'll remember my name or not, but I'm Kai Strand." She responded very enthusiastically that of course she remembered. My niece was with me and doing a project for her blog and Maggie graciously allowed her to video the interaction while she signed my book. BTW, Maggie is hysterical, so it was tons of fun all around. I was pretty tongue tied, though she assured me I didn't sound like a simpleton or an idiot. I took my book back and wandered off, totally happy to have met one of my all-time faves.
Then I read the signature. She actually did remember me! She's so cool!
Have you geeked out over an author or a celebrity that you met? I'd love to hear your story.