It’s Tuesday afternoon as I’m writing this, so happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate and happy “there-will-be-leftover-candy–on-sale-tomorrow” to those who don’t.
While boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses get most of the love and attention this time of year, I’d like to add authors to that list. After all, where would we be without them, especially without romance writers and their happily-ever-afters.
As I mentioned in last week’s Friday Writing Sprint post, I went to an author book chat / signing at a (relatively) local bookstore on Friday evening. It was a reward for meeting my recent writing word count, though technically, I deleted more words than I added.
The event featured Kristan Higgins and Brenda Novak along with their new books: “On Second Thought” and “Secrets She Kept.” I (briefly) met Kristan at the last RWA Conference in New York when she was doing a reading from her then-latest-book (“If You Only Knew”), but had never met/seen Brenda before (though I am familiar with her work). Both the weather and the traffic cooperated – a miraculous occurrence on a wintery Friday evening – which meant I arrived at the bookstore that was hosting the event a full two hours early.
What to do, what to do?
Fortunately, I had no trouble filling the time or doing my part to keep a small independent bookstore afloat. I rarely get a chance to spend any time in a real-live bookstore, so I was like a kid let loose in a candy store. I’ll admit, I’m a sucker for the smell of brand new books. Plus, there was a clearance section!
The author chat portion of the evening was a relaxed and fun affair. The moderator kept things moving right along with a set of interesting questions and both Kristan and Brenda were funny and charming. As a reader, it was great to hear little tidbits and background about characters and stories I had enjoyed reading, and as a writer it was comforting to hear that successful published authors have some of the same problems, worries, and doubts that new authors face.
The book signing portion of the evening was handled with a kind of military precision – necessary because of the size of the group (large) and the size of the bookstore (small). By some luck-of-the-draw, I was first up to get my book signed. I don’t know about you, but I always feel kind of awkward when meeting an author; never quite sure what to say (hazard of being an introvert I guess). I’m hoping I didn’t sound stupid during our brief interaction, but I’m pretty sure I did.
Over the years I’ve been to a number of author book signings, though they have been rather few and far between recently. I wasn’t even sure if publishers still sent their authors out on the road like that any longer. I guess if you’re big enough, they still do. The majority of authors I’ve met have been at writing conferences and though I’ve always felt a little awkward and fan-girly meeting them, they’ve generally seemed very happy to meet and talk with those who have enjoyed their books or who are interested in reading them.
An unexpected take-away from the evening (along with some great new books) was finding out that Kristan was going to be at my local RWA Chapter meeting the next morning, giving a “master class” on writing dialog. It was just the motivation I needed to finally join the chapter and to get up and out early on a Saturday morning. I wasn’t the only one interested in the event; it was packed. Kristan walked us through lots of before/after dialog examples, including an example of a first-draft scene vs. final published scene of hers. As a bonus, Eight Lady Kay was at the meeting too, so we got a chance to do a little catching up after our morning of learning.
I’ll be sharing some of the information from the session in a future post, but for now, I’m focusing on incorporating what I learned into my own work. You’ll be able to judge the results for yourself when I post my February Short Story in a few weeks.
In the meantime, what author would you like to meet in person (anyone – living or dead)? What would you say to them (or ask them) if you did meet?