November 21, 2016

Authors Meeting Authors (Fangirling Involved)

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. 

Melissa Abramovitz on meeting Ray Bradbury

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.

12 comments:

  1. Love these stories! I'd be a total puddle on the ground meeting Maggie :) There are a few authors like that who I just definitely fan girl over!

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    1. I know, right?! Besides fangirling is fun!

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  2. LOL. I actually don't fan girl. I know that's weird, but it's true. I also don't develop crushes on celebrities, so there you go...which made my celebrity moment totally bizarre. A fan--didn't know she was an UBER fan, just one of my husband's old co-workers--invited us to her wedding, and she totally freaked out when she saw me. Totally. In a good way. I have a new and healthy appreciation for being on the other side of the fan girl. It's amazing to make someone's day even more epic because you're present. Nothing more.

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    1. Funny. I don't celebrity crush either. Maybe the difference is I can truly RESPECT the craft of another author. How fun (and awkward) for you to be fangirled. :)

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    2. You got that right. Fun and awkward. =)

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  3. Great stories, Kai. I have a hard time going up to people and talking to them, even when I want a book signed. I guess I'm shy with people, but when I'm in front of a group I don't seem to be that way. It must be the years of teaching I've done. I think of every group as students there to learn something. :-)

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    1. I'm the exact same way. Isn't that funny? Shy in the more personal setting, especially if I need to start the conversation, but LOVE public speaking. Must be a thing! Weird.

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  4. Fun stories. I met Jane Yolen years ago at a writers conference in Dallas. I couldn't think of a thing to say, just shook her hand and gawked, I think. Haven't met any celebrities, either, but I'm in awe over my writer friends I've met on the Internet. If I ever see you in person, I'll go all stuttering and can't think of a thing to say.

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    1. Lol. I'd love to meet you in person. That would make me so very happy. I would've been mute around Jane Yolen too. She's a super star!

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  5. When I met Laurie Halse Anderson, I totally fangirled and said, "May I please shake your hand?" She spoke at a conference I attended and came to my table where I was selling my books. I was in awe that she was checking out my work. I had to shake her hand to prove to myself that she was really there. ;)

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    1. Oh my gosh, I can't even imagine! How cool for you. :)

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