sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 28, 2014

armchair bea: author interaction
posted by soe 2:00 am
Armchair BEA
Designed by Amber of
Shelf Notes

One of today’s Armchair BEA topics focuses on interacting with authors:

“Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger.”

I am fortunate to live in Washington, D.C., which is home to the National Book Festival and to Politics and Prose, which hosts readings and signings nearly every night of the year. Because of that, I’ve been lucky enough to meet several authors I like an awful lot:

Barbara Kingsolver
Barbara Kingsolver, 2009

Jacqueline Winspear Signs My Book
Jacqueline Winspear, 2011

Michael Scott Answers Questions
Michael Scott, 2011 (He is my favorite author to attend readings for, because he’s awesome at answering every question every kid in the audience has and for taking their questions and comments very seriously.)

A Reading by Jasper Fforde
Jasper Fforde, 2010 (I once got to ask him about his lack of thirteenth chapters in his Thursday Next books.)

Rainbow Rowell, 2013 (She is hilarious and very accessible on Twitter. I highly recommend following her there. We chatted briefly about the series finale to Dawson’s Creek, which we both liked. Also, she has fantastic shoes.)

Eliot Schrefer and Me
Eliot Schrefer, 2013 (He shares great stories about bonobos and other apes in his Twitter feed.)

Just in case you envied me these experiences too much, though, I thought I’d reprint this story that I originally shared after the 2006 National Book Festival when I got a book signed by Doris Kearns Goodwin:

…Authors tend to leave me tongue-tied and all the kind, gushing things I think of to say to them while I’m waiting in line leave me as soon as I get up to the table.

What went through my brain in this instance was, “I really loved this book [Wait ‘Till Next Year]. It was on an endcap at the library in my old town and it demanded to come home with me one evening even though it wasn’t remotely what I was looking for. And then as I was reading, I was magically transported back 50 years to the ballgames of yore, and I immediately knew that my dad needed to read it. And that I needed to buy copies for my baseball-loving friends. It was the gift-book of the year. And then I eventually had to buy my own copy because I knew it was a story I’d want to re-read. You really do have a gift for making history come alive.”

What came out of my mouth was, “Sorry about your Red Sox.” She smiled patiently at me and said, “Thanks. There’s always next year.” I might as well have been a nerdy middle schooler telling the boy I like “I like your hair.”

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