Would You Want to Meet…
This morning, my husband texted me to tell me that a well-known novelist is speaking this evening in a nearby town. Since I haven’t read his books, I’m not planning to go, but the exchange spurred me to think about the relationship between a reader and the books they love.
As a child, I would have leaped at the chance to meet my favorite authors. I saw authors as legendary and magical, their ability to transport me to other places through the written word, powerful. Favorite books, read and reread, became cherished companions. Were the author speaking tonight a favorite of my 15 year old , I am SURE we’d be attending.
I’d still love the chance to meet the authors of fiction books I love, but I must admit there’s more awkwardness now. Admit it, if this is true for you. Is the prospect of meeting a favorite author a bit anxiety producing for you?
For me, pure bliss at the thought of meeting a favorite author in adolescence has crashed into realism. It’s a nice thought, but what would I really do/say if face to face with my author crush? Given the chance to meet Leah Stewart, a Cincinatti author whose novels I devoured, what might I say? If I ran into Ann Patchett on the street if I went to Nashville, how would I start a conversation? Would I know what to say to Barbara Kingsolver? To Ann Voskamp? Apart from expressing admiration, what else is there?
I’ve had the privilege of meeting lots of business book authors in person through my work on their marketing and publicity, including legends like Marshall Goldsmith and Ken Blanchard. I’ve also met many independent book authors by attending and hosting local author events. The working relationship we share strips away the fan-factor and it’s easy to relate.
Have you ever met a favorite author? Or if you’re an author, have you had chance meetings with loyal readers? Would you want to meet your favorite writers? Would you enjoy talking with people who have read your book?
In the same way that my working relationship with authors facilitates connection, I believe that local connections fuel and ease connection. Geographical proximity not only makes it more likely for you to meet the author you admire, but it also creates natural opportunities for conversation.
Here are a few questions for readers to ask authors.
What inspires your writing?
What is your greatest joy in writing?
What is your greatest challenge with writing?
Where is your favorite place to write?
What are you working on now?
Of your books, which is your favorite?
Authors, what questions would you add? What would you enjoy talking with your readers about? Readers, what would you most love to ask the authors you adore?