I’ve been wildly fortunate over the years to have met some of my very favorite authors and have befriended many others. Working in publishing and then going to conferences as a writer is often an exercise in “OMG OMG play it cool, play it cool” when your inner book geek is freaking out about meeting a rock star author.
What’s your favorite experience meeting an author?
I have tons of such encounters to choose from, but I think I would have to go with having lunch with S.E. Hinton in Tulsa, Oklahoma and finding out (OMG OMG OMG OMG) that she read my blog. (Here’s the interview we did afterwards).
What about you?
Art: Officer and a Laughing Girl by Johannes Vermeer
Kathy Ellen Davis says
I've met many kidlit authors, and I make a point to give them a thank you note. I write what I liked about their book and their presentation, since most times I see them at a conference or at a book signing.
One of my favorites might be my first. I met Brian Selznick when he was touring with Wonderstruck. I LOVED Hugo Cabret and was taking notes furiously during his presentation. He showed his process, which is very intricate, and talked about his workspace, things like that.
I was so nervous when I got up to meet him, but just smiled and thanked him. Then I gave him a thank you note that I made. It was a lino-print of some typography saying, "Rockstar" and I wrote my thoughts on the back.
He looked at it and said,
"Oh my goodness, this is some AMAZING art! I'm going to put it right up on my studio wall so when I think I'm not doing a good job, I'll remember that one girl who thinks I'm a rockstar."
I was so star struck that a CALDECOTT winning author/illustrator liked my art that I could NOT get to sleep that night.
I also loved meeting Katherine Applegate. I told her that I was a writer and working hard to get published. She asked me about my ideas, and I shared a few. "If you don't get a deal in two years," she said, "I'll eat this book."
The book was The One and Only Ivan. Luckily, I got a book deal and she won't need to eat it 🙂
Authors and illustrators are my favorite people to meet. Thanks for posting this blogpost. It was cool to think up an answer for this question!
Magdalena Munro says
I met Garrison Keillor once at a dinner party and was tickled that he made me a martini. While handing it to me he said "I think you'll find I make the best Martini" and then recalled my name which was touching. He said that my name rang like that of an author. He'd probably read an Alice Munro short story the previous week but it still put that imprint on my heart that remains cemented. I can make my name into whatever I want it to be in this lifetime as can all of us.
My favourite/best experience meeting a writer was when I spoke to Clive Barker when he was in town for an award ceremony honouring Stephen King. For those two or three minutes or whatever it ended up being, he treated me very kindly. We talked shop about what I was working on and how he approached the subject of his latest book. He could easily have signed his autograph and said "thanks, now off you go" but the fact that he treated me with the same respect as a colleague was one of the most amazing and unforgettable experiences and I will cherish it always!
Colette Auclair says
I visited Florence and had my picture taken holding the book BREATHING ROOM in front of a restaurant in which a pivotal scene in the book takes place. I emailed it to Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the author. She sent me an autographed hardcover of said book and we have since become friends. She is lovely, generous and funny.
I met my favourite author this past weekend- Carrie Fisher at Fan Expo in Vancouver. She was amazing! I was so nervous holding my copy of Surrender the Pink for her to sign. Later on we had a photo op and she actually took the time to squeeze my hand and thank me again for giving her a gift ( a dog bandanna we had custom made for her dog Gary. Even though my time with her was brief it meant the world to me. She's been my inspiration for so many years as a writer. It's so refreshing to know that most of these people are just human beings. You don't need to be intimidated by them.
Last year I had the pleasure of meeting suspense/mystery writer, Lisa Unger. But even better — it was as a result of winning a contest for which the prize was a trip to Clearwater, FL to attend Ms. Unger's book launch and join her for dinner. But, it gets even better! I had the additional pleasure of meeting & enjoying that dinner with author, Michael Connelly, who had come for the book launch as well. They were both very down to earth and easy to be with and made sure it was an experience I would never forget. Thanks to both of them for that!
Robin Claire says
My favorite author encounter was with James Ellroy. It was around the time that "American Tabloid" was released. I was at a book convention and I saw the books displayed at a table. I went over and picked up a copy – holding it in my hands and studying the cover and the inside flap. A gentleman standing behind the table said "It's pretty good". I replied that Ellroy was one of my favorite authors. "Have you ever met him?", he asked. I said no and added that I had heard that he was a very interesting man. I emphasized the word "interesting" heavily. "What do you mean?" asked the man. I looked up and got a good look at the man in front of me and slowly realized that it was Ellroy. I bought the book and he signed it for me as "the interesting Mr. Ellroy".
I met Jim Butcher at the Romantic Times Convention in 2007. I love his series The Dresden Files. He's my favorite fantasy author.
It took a few minutes to get up the nerve to go and talk to him. Yes, I had swallow the fangirl squeal. I'd love to meet him again and have the chance to talk to him more than what I did then.
At that same convention I met Angela Knight, one of my favorite paranormal romance authors. She was very sweet and approachable as well.
This question brought back some really nice memories. Thank you, Nathan!
My favourite author meeting was sitting next to Charlaine Harris at a dinner in her honour to benefit the Writer's Colony at Dairy Hollow in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
I'd come with my husband from Vancouver, Canada and the organizer knew that and sat me next to her. It was just so great to chat to her, learn about her family and her experiences and the playful way she referenced some of the actors on True Blood was really sweet.
She was such a truly lovely lady. A year later, when I wrote to see if I could buy an autographed book for a very ill friend, she sent my friend one as a gift. It's just so lovely when your writing idols turn out to be nice people too.
Steve Eells says
What do you say to a favorite author when you meet them face to face? Years ago, there I was in a bookstore and awaiting Stephen King to sign my copy of "The Dark Half." I wish I could report that I said something witty and profound to Mr. King, but that would not be true. I thanked him and he autographed the book. It was a very exciting experience. That is the truth.
Terin Miller says
I met Barry Holstun Lopez when I was a college Freshman. It was about 1978-79, and my Communications professor at the small Stephens Point branch of the University of Wisconsin was a very dear old friend of Lopez's.
He managed to get Barry to come from his home in Finn Rock, Ore., to Stephens Point to talk to us students.
But I was named his driver from the airport at Wausau to Stephens Point.
Lopez's plane arrived late, as did his luggage, and my first encounter with my professor's friend, who I literally didn't know from "Adam," was his frustration-filled description of his tribulations in getting to where I now waited with him for his umbrella, I think it was.
I had read nothing by him, and new even less, being told only that he was my professor's friend and coming to speak to the class and would need a driver and that it would be me. I can't even recall what car I used–I didn't own one, only a motorcycle–I assume it was my professor's.
It was late winter, and I know that not only because I transferred to the main campus in Madison the following fall, but because I was still at Point but the sun was shining, the snow melting, and the road wet but clear of ice.
We didn't say much heading to campus, but Lopez–who I think it would not be an exaggeration to call the best "naturalist" writer possibly even today–insisted about half-way as we passed some woods that I "pull over" so he could get out and walk.
I did as instructed, and followed him into the sunlit poplars and pines.
He had his two index fingers, as I learned was typical of him, in a "tee-pee" at his lips, his other fingers folded together, indicating I should not speak as I followed him, I thought.
I followed him for what seemed to me enough time to be definitely beyond fashionably late, considering there were no cellphones nor way to let my professor know I had, in fact, picked his friend up at the airport and was heading to campus with him.
Finally, Lopez stopped in a clearing above which the sun shone down through a break in the thin but tall trees.
"Did you listen?" Lopez asked.
Listen? To what, I wondered.
Lopez took a deep breath in through his thin mustache and beard, his fingers still at his lips. But for the first time in my life, I saw him smiling, all of him, even his eyes.
"Did you hear the silence?"
Do YOU know how the quiet sounds in snow covered woods?
"Did you notice anything?"
Another question I had no answer for. I'd followed him, unquestioning and quietly, into the woods.
He pointed with his tee-peed index fingers behind me.
"Did you see the deer droppings?"
A nice neat brown mound of deer pellets steamed where he pointed.
"You have to learn to be quiet in the woods," he said, as he started back to the car. "You have to learn to observe things without commenting. Take them in, remember them."
Not only the first "real" writer I'd ever met. But the first "real" writing teacher I'd ever met.
I've tried to become one, and met many others since. But I will never forget meeting Barry when I was not-quite 20, with a literary agent who wanted me to try writing a novel.
And I try to walk his way in the woods, somewhere, somehow, every winter and spring.
Marathon Financial Group, Inc. says
I read the brilliant HONORABLE BANDIT by Brian Bouldrey and HAD to meet him so went to Northwestern University campus and asked my daughter (who had taken one of his writing classes) to introduce us. This book was about hiking across Corsica and just gorgeously written. I have since taken a class of his (The Poetics of Breakthrough) and hiked an 11-mile day full of cool tales of family (Uncle Dick who set his pubic hairs afire with his cigar), students (they will drive a prof to distraction) and literature (it's all changing so fast!!!!)
When I was in grade school, Wilson Rawls visited. It was 1974, I think and Where The Red Fern Grows was coming into it's own. Our fifth and zixth grade teachers read it every year–I think they still do as my daughters had it read to them years later, same school.
I remember him telling us to save every scrap of writing. He told a story about giving up and he burning his trunk of stories. I was horrified. Horrified to the point that I have three file cabinets of my writing scraps.
Brenda Pierson says
I fist-bumped Patrick Rothfuss. 'Nuff said.
Naomi Bellina says
Hugh Howey just spoke at our writers' group. He was so down-to-earth and friendly, I forgive him for being such a huge success.
I have two tales. The first is from 1992, I was amongst a group of students who had a meal with Terry Pratchett after a book signing. I was amazed when I actually managed to get the seat next to him (there were about 12 of us). I was hoping for conversation that would enable us to get to know the person, unfortunately a couple of nerds sat opposite a monopolised the conversation discworld characters. Terry seemed quite happy though.
The second tale is more recently when I was reading the acknowledgement in my favourite authors book (Alistair Reynolds) I came across a friends name, an unusual name and I knew she also worked at the same ESA site. I asked her (via Facebook) and it was her. She and Alistair's other half used to go riding together 🙂 I haven't plucked up the courage yet to ask if I could meet him one day. surely that would be too cheeky.
I got to meet Peter S. Beagle when he did a book signing at Sherwood Forest Fair (near Austin) just last year. We happened to come up when no one else was around. I didn't know what to say to him, but that was perfect, because he started talking and told us stories about his life. And it was AWESOME. That was a lesson in the value of being quiet and listening. ;)
Recently I have met John Green.I just ran into him in New York. Since he is my favorite author it was like a gift of fortune.
He was very nice and polite by the way.