Most authors don’t reach celebrity status. I mean, we all know the name JK Rowling, right? But unless you’re a hardcore Harry Potter fan (or stalker), you wouldn’t recognize her on the street. Wait, does JKR even go out on the street? Okay, bad example. Stephen King maybe? Dan Brown?
Personally, I always get star-struck when I meet authors. I guess it’s because they’re such an inspiration to me – it’s like meeting my dreams personified. If given the choice between meeting God or the president or Paris Hilton or my future self or any of the people named in a “if you could only meet one famous person” question, I’d pick Jack Kerouac or Sarah Dessen every time (especially since Jack is my favorite author ever, and he’s dead).
A few months ago, Ann Brashares came to Denver to read from her newest book, The Last Summer of You and Me. The characters are a bit older than her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants girls, so the plot and themes have a few more layers, complexities, and heartbreaking scenes. I stayed up all night reading my autographed copy, and when that happens, wow, it’s one of my favorite things in life.
When I got to actually talk to Ann, I felt like a little kid trying to justify my qualifications for kickball so as not to get picked last. I told her how much I enjoyed all the Pants books (leaving out the part about how I cried after the last book and when Mr. Bims asked me what was wrong, all I could say through my tears was, “They lost the pants!” because come on, I’m a fan, not a psycho. Mostly.), and how she’s always been an inspiration to my writing and all of that. She was so warm and friendly, especially since I was buying her book, and she told me to email and keep her posted on what happens with my novel (oh, I might have casually mentioned that I’d written one… is that bad?).
And now, three months later, I have something to tell her. Something other than, “Dear Ann, I love your books. They make me cry. Always remember our good times at Tattered Cover Denver. Love, Bims.” Something like…
… Last week, I sold the book!
I’ll spare you the details for now, as many of you have already heard the news (big gigantic mouth? Who, me?) and I have to ration out my blatherings so you don’t get too tired of me!
Back to meeting authors… last night, Tobias Wolff came to Denver for a Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop event. During the introduction, Lighthouse program director Andrea Dupree made a public spectacle of me, announcing the news, pointing and laughing and making me stand up and wave and generally look like a goofball. Oh, don’t let my feigned annoyance fool you – it was wayyyy cool. 🙂
Author Eli Gottlieb interviewed Tobias about writing, ideas, critiques, and growing up. Tobias also shared some of his short stories with us. After the reading and interview, when it came time to have him sign a few books for me, I prepared for my typical star-struck, anxious-fan, tongue-tied-ness (because OMG, Tobias Wolff?? For real?). He reached for my books and smiled. “So you’re the novelist, huh?” he asked. I almost looked behind me, and had to play it off like a facial tick or something. Yes, Bims, he means you. You have a book deal, remember? “I guess so,” I laughed, somehow remembering how to talk and smile at the same time in the presence of a personified-dream-literary-master (it’s harder than you think). I graciously accepted his signed books, and his multiple congratulations and compliments. “It’s really tough to get that first deal,” he said. “Be proud of yourself.”
I’m trying. I’m grateful and shocked and generally freaking out every five minutes, but that counts as trying, right Toby?
More to come, I promise-slash-warn you!