Do you like to go to author appearances? Sometimes a single author will sit at a table at a bookstore to meet readers and sign copies of their latest book. Sometimes it’s an entire hotel banquet room full of authors, all excited to meet you and talk to you about their books. As an author, I’ve participated in many, many of these events. They’re always fun, whether there’s a line throughout the store and you sell a hundred books, or it’s a lonely, isolated table and despite most people avoiding eye contact, you make one connection with an interested reader.
As a reader, I love to meet other authors, especially those whose books I’ve read. Sometimes I get a little starstruck, knowing that this particular author has written book after book that I’ve loved, reached the peaks of the bestseller lists and have millions of readers. An author who is so far out of my own author realm that I’m hesitant to even put the same title “author” to each of us.
About twenty minutes away from my house is an independent bookstore that has established itself, over the last thirty years or so, as a coveted spot on the book tours of bestselling authors of all genres. I’m on their mailing list, so I receive notice of several months’ worth of book events coming up. Most feature the chance to hear the author speak for forty minutes or so, a lunch, and a book, which if you choose, you can stand in line to have it signed. You even have a chance to chat with the author. I’ve attended many of these, and lately I’ve been just brazen enough to get my picture taken with the author!
I’ll share some of those here:
Charles Spencer is a British author who has written nine books, all historical nonfiction. I normally wouldn’t be drawn to attend the spoken comments of this type of author (just not my thing) but then again, he had a little bit of celebrity going for him. You may know him as the 9th Earl Spencer, or better yet … Princess Diana’s brother. His talk about his new book, The White Ship was interesting, and although he did agree to personalize each book as he signed it, he wasn’t too chatty. He had a hard time spelling my name and I had to repeat it three times.
Mary Kay Andrews was celebrating publishing her thirtieth book in thirty years. Twenty-seven of them hit the New York Times bestseller list. She was extremely personable; her speech was laugh out loud funny and she had the audience eating out of her hand sharing stories behind the scenes of her novels. When I stood in line to get my book signed, I mentioned to her that I was an author as well, and she acknowledged that in her personalization, “Write on!”
I think the most positive interaction I had lately with a celebrity author was Mary Alice Monroe. I love her books, and I’ve read many. In listening to her speech, I realized we had several important things in common:
- Both our wedding anniversaries are June 17, the day of the booksigning.
- We both live in coastal South Carolina.
- We both write beachy heartwarming stories.
- We both had our first book published in the year 2000 and have been writing ever since.
When I got to the front of the line and met her, I told her about our similarities. She immediately wanted to know about MY books, which was such a kind thing for her to do. When she personalized my book, she wrote, “I want to come to your signing.” What a sweetheart.
I love when authors are generous and approachable by readers and other authors. Do you have any author sighting stories? Who have you met and can you share anything about the meeting?