Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What It's Like to Meet a Famous Author

C2E2 is coming up this weekend and it's probably my favorite weekend of the year. C2E2 is the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo and every year, I let my nerd flag fly. I love the excitement and the exhibits and the panels and just being surrounded by my giant nerd family. I also get to spend the weekend with my BFF in nerdom. This was us before leaving for last year's C2E2:

Oh. My. Glob. We look fresh to death right now.
One of the things C2E2 has been awesome about is including prose authors in their nerdy lineup. Every year, a few more show up on the schedule and it sets my heart racing. because while I love comics and toys, books own my heart and soul. Last year, my BNFF (best nerd friend forever) and I went to ALA and I thought I would die of awesome.

Derp derp derp.
I met Tamora Pierce, author of the Tortal books, and I cried and snotted all over myself. I've been a fan of hers for over 20 years. And this brings me to the actual topic... what it's like to meet a famous author.

I know that they are people like you or I and they put their pants on one leg at a time. But OMG THEY WROTE A BOOK!!!! Authors are like rock stars or movie starts to me.

Neil! I wanna party with you!
The more I like their work, the more nerve-wracking the experience. I tend to behave like a fangirl, which means I behave like a total idiot. And after every meeting, I feel somehow deflated because I acted like such an idiot. I say this never having met an author who was rude to me. George RR Martin seemed disgruntled and Lois Lowry was distracted. And I think I might have scared Ivan Klima with my fervor over his work... ugh. But I've never met an author who was rude or dismissive. My insecurities all come from this inner sense of self consciousness that only manifests itself in regard to famous authors. I don't care what the rest of all y'all think.

Even when I can put on a good face on the outside, I have a hard time remaining calm on the inside. I barely made it through my two minutes with Tamora Pierce before I started shaking and had to run away. Jacqueline Carey, one of my favorite fantasy writers, will be at C2E2. I worshipped her work when I was in grad school. I lived in the same town as her then and the idea of running into her at the grocery store or Barnes and Noble was enough to make me nervous every time I went shopping. I'm kind of afraid of spontaneously combusting on the convention floor.

The other side of this problem is that after I meet the author, it sinks in that they are a person. A real, flesh and blood person who has a real, probably messy, writing process. They have lives and do things like eat, sleep, and poo. They do not live and breathe their stories. Those stories do not come fully formed out of their brains onto the page. In essence, these writers are not gods.

And, I get a little sad. It's not the author's fault. I imagine I'd feel the same way if I ever met Mariska Hargitay and saw for a fact that she wasn't a 9 foot tall Amazonian, ass-kicking goddess in real life.

I love you, Mariska.
This is all my own fault for putting authors up on pedestals. On the one hand, I think I should cut it out. On the other, if I cut it out, that kills some of the magic of writing. So, what do you think. Have you met famous authors, movie.television stars, musicians? How do you react?


  1. I've met plenty of famous actors and writers but when I meet Neil Gaiman I just did a little smile and didn't say anything. I was so nervous I actually got sick after the book signing.

  2. I understand how meeting a recognized professional in a field you admire can cause a bit of anxiety. The tension goes up a notch when that professional reads an especially naughty scene from the romance novel she narrated in her "phone sex voice" and then lets you handle her Regency era underwear.