Going to author appearances always strikes this strange chord with me. It's like watching someone sing: I feel nervous for them. I get all jumpy and sweaty and anxious before, like it's me whose going to be up there in front of everyone. It's even worse when I have to read my stuff. I've only ever read little snippets, and I break out into cold sweats before. That kind of stage fright is something I'll have to get over if I want to be able to read my work in public.
However, Ms. Dessen was absolutely delightful. She's the kind of person you want to talk to, and she immediately put the audience at ease. At some points, she had us laughing in stitches. I think it's important to point out that authors are real people too. I felt the same surreal sensation when I went to a Stephen King book signing: authors are just like people you'd run into at the supermarket. We give them a lot of credit for their work, but it's refreshing when we realize that they also have lives which don't involve writing, they have doubts and failures, ups and downs, just like the rest of us.
This signing was short, sweet, and more intimate than others I've been to. Sarah answered plenty of questions from the audience, did trivia about her books and gave away prizes, and even had you sit down with her when she was signing books. I had a great time and instead of finding myself dumbstruck and mute, I babbled to her about what an inspiration she was, that I was a fellow Tar Heel, and that I've been following the same path she was on (writing and working in a restaurant) before she was first published. I just wanted to sit down, have coffee with her, and pick her brain!
Okay, getting a little fangirly over here so I'm going to stop, but here are a couple of pictures from the signing with Ms. Dessen and yours truly:
Can you tell I'm a little excited?
I need to practice my autograph so it's short like this.