I came across a book today by an author that I've enjoyed reading for many years, Christina Skye. She writes a variety of romantic genres, but my favorite are her contemporary romance. They're super steamy, funny and suspenseful, and I recommend them if you haven't read her books before.
But that's not the purpose of this post.
When I saw the book I was reminded of when I actually had the opportunity to meet and have dinner with this author about ten years ago.
Yes, ten years ago.
I've talked before about how my writing journey is not a new one. I've been writing romantic fiction for more than a decade, and I was rejected many, many times before I decided to self-publish and consequently sign a contract with Simon & Schuster. Ten years ago, I was almost five years into the world of writing romance when I attended a signing and reading by Christina Skye at a local Barnes & Noble in Portland, Oregon.
I was THRILLED.
I couldn't wait to have my books signed and to just let her know that I enjoyed her stories. But while I was there, I met up with some of my fellow RWA (Romance Writers of America) members who informed me that Christina would be going to dinner with them after the signing and invited me along.
Holy crap! Like I was gonna pass that up! And then came the gigantic butterflies and shaky hands and tangled tongue. I was so nervous! But so, so excited.
The best part? While we all sat around at one of the ladies' homes and had pizza prepared by her chef husband and chatted it up about books we like and why we like them, Christine was right in the mix with us, telling us about HER favorite books and what she loves in a book boyfriend. We asked so many questions about agents and contracts and publishers, and please remember, this was before the self-publishing revolution and at this time in my life, a major contract with a publishing house was way out of my realm of possibilities.
I soaked up her words. I listened avidly as she shared her experiences, and when the evening came to an end, I hugged her and thanked her profusely for giving us a few hours of her time.
(I wonder where my photo of her and I together went?)
In the madness that is this new life of mine, I guess I forgot what that feels like. Readers seem so nervous when they approach me at signings, or when I offer breakfast out with my street team the morning after an event in most of the cities I visit, and that always seems to funny to me. I'm just me, that silly young girl with the dream of being a writer. I can't imagine why it's so interesting or exciting to pick my brain over beignets in New Orleans, but the reader in me remembers.
It was the same way when my mom and I traveled to Spokane, WA to see Nora Roberts. We sat and listened to her speak and then stood in line for roughly two hours and waited our turn to have Carolina Moon signed by her in 2000. When we finally made it to the front of the line, we were both a little shell-shocked, but my mom said, "We traveled all the way from Montana to meet you."
Nora's jaw dropped and she looked back and forth between us for several seconds and then she smiled widely and said, "Thank you, so much." We chatted about how long we'd been reading her books, what we adore about them, and thanked her for the many, many hours of reading enjoyment she'd given us over the years.
Next year, I plan to take my mom to Boonsboro, MD to stay in Nora's inn and attend a signing in her bookstore. (Shh, don't tell her. It's a surprise.)
But I remember being that reader, waiting in line for hours to meet a writer that I admire. Whose books I'd devoured, some over and over again.
So please, readers of mine, don't think for a second that I don't appreciate you. I am you. And I love you.