Thursday, October 11, 2007
Booking Through Thursday: Live And In Person
I said in August, when we talked about fan mail, that I planned on expanding that to live meetings when the time was right. Well, that time is now!
Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph? How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to? How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?
On my drive to work this morning, I prepared a well thought out response to this week's Booking Through Thursday meme only to lose all thought of it once I got to the office and was swept up in the various crises of the day. If only I had a tape recorder handy . . .
Three years ago, I attended my first book festival and had the opportunity to hobnob with several authors. Since then, attending the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books has become a tradition. My husband and I sit in on author panels and browse through the booths, coming into contact with booksellers and authors alike.
That first year I was in such awe of the environment and the people around me. I think the author I spoke the most to that visit was mystery author Laura Levine. I had not read any of her books, but I knew her name from an online reading group I belonged to. I told her as much went I approached her table. She was the nicest woman, gracious and kind. I was ready to buy all her books on the spot, but she suggested I buy just the first one to test the waters. I also spoke with Carol and Mary Higgins Clark who are both wonderful women. Of course, I had them sign a couple of their books for me.
There were a couple of other authors whom I chatted with and bought autographed books from. I had never heard of either of them nor was I particularly interested in their books. Then why did I bother, you ask? There was no line to see them, they were as friendly as can be, and I thought it would be the nice thing to do. I learned my lesson after that, however, and for the past two years that I have attended the festival, I have tried to be more picky about how I spend my money.
One year at the festival I got the chance to meet Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down (a book I loved; who would have thought?). Oh, how I would have loved to ask him a bunch of questions, but I was so star struck that I barely said anything at all to him. I did at least manage to ask him to autograph one of his books for me.
This past spring I met authors Joanne Fluke (who makes to die for chocolate chip cookies!) and Christopher Moore among others. I am afraid it was not much of a meeting because I was so tongue-tied. Perhaps some of you may recall my blog entry about this year's book festival in which I disclosed just how star struck I can be.
I have enjoyed hearing quite a few authors speak at the book festival these past three years, some of whom are among my favorites and also many I had either not heard of before or knew very little about. I did not have the chance to meet most of them, however, my wish list of books to read grew regardless.
My experience in meeting authors is not solely isolated to the book festival, however. Usually it's by sheer accident that I will walk into the local bookstore to discover the featured author signing books. Sometimes I will stop and check out the author's book and other times I will pass by with a nod and a smile.
Unfortunately, with Los Angeles being so close, most of the authors I would like to meet prefer to skip my town for the City of Angels. I would love to visit The Mystery Bookstore in Los Angeles and meet with a favorite mystery writer or two. I am terrible about checking their schedule though to see who might be appearing when. And often times when I do remember to check, the author I want to meet will be at the store on a week night, an impossible time for me to make the drive into Los Angeles and home again with the work day behind me and an early work day ahead.
I am afraid this is not nearly as captivating a post as the one I envisioned writing this morning, but it will have to do. I wish you could have read it. It was quite insightful and witty.