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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Oooo It's An Author!

Good evening folks,

So, it's Sunday, the day before Labor Day and a funny thought occurred to me: the image a person has about an author.

Be honest. Before you knew the truth, you thought your favorite author led this ultra exciting life, complete with Hollywood sophistication, name brand fashionable clothes and vacationed every summer in the Virgin Islands (and that was just the female writers). The male writers were these incredible husbands, that fed their wives breakfast in bed every day, and brought home million dollar checks every pay period.

You mean they don't? You mean they're just like me? Ordinary with regular every-day concerns? But wait, they're published, they've got their book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble. They were featured on Oprah's show. Tyra Banks has even read their book...actors and actresses are clamoring to be in the film.

Nope. Sorry. Authors, even published ones, are generally ordinary, every day, regular people. Most published ones I know have to run off to pick up their children from school. Some of them are working two jobs. Some of them write sweeping romances while dealing with a leaky faucet. (I suppose a few of them might be living expensive lives with mansions and servants, but a good majority of the ones I've come across aren't).

Some of them are attending their 10th or 20th high school reunion (some of them even attending their 40th or higher high school reunions). Some of them are rocking their grandchildren in a rocking chair on a Saturday night while their kids go out on a date.

Another one might be dealing with a serious paper jam at Kinko's while silently cursing the machine. (That happened to me, once, by the way. Not fun).

Others are worried about finishing up homework for a workshop. A few are scrambling to get their manuscript to their agent on time.

Writers are busy, regular folks just like you. The difference is, their job is to create characters, worlds, and situations.

They're sitting at home in front of their computers (or notebooks) agonizing over the fact that their hero is acting like a jerk. Or that their female character has turned into a weeping mess (Happened to me, drove me crazy). They're problem solving. Or laughing at the silly thing one of their characters said (also happened to me).

One (or more) of them might even be looking tearfully at a rejection slip that hit a little bit closer to home than they thought it would. (Probably has happened to every author on at least one occassion, they might not be looking at the rejection slip in tears, but they probably are disappointed on some level).

The glamour is all in the story. What's going on behind the scene is some major brainstorming, late night writing, patching up a weak scene, frustrated exclamations and some joyous moments wrapped up in an regular work day.

I attended my first writer's group meeting yesterday. Approaching Kim Lenox to get Night Falls Darkly signed was a nervous business. I'd never gone up to an author and asked for a signature before. I didn't want to annoy her. An incredible thing happened. She smiled at me. She took an interest in why I was there and my own writing. She laughed with me. She was a person I might have met up with at Starbucks. (She also answered my ditzy questions about where she got her ideas, talk about generous).

Authors aren't demigods. They're people. They live, they laugh, they love, they cry, they dance, they give birth to children, they have spouses/boyfriends/girlfriends/significant others/are single, they have homes/apartments/trailers/campers/et cetera, they have crashing computers, they're people.

They have personalities ranging from outgoing to painfully shy. A good portion of them are delighted to meet their readers. They love their readers. They want to engage people in their stories and have them enjoyed.

So, go ahead...if you're at a bookstore, Conference, meeting, or workshop and an author you like is signing books. Go ahead and say "Please would you sign my copy?" Chances are that author will be more than happy to oblige.

After all...a good chunk of the authors out there are readers, too. Don't believe me? Just ask.

Have A Super Sunday Night!


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great post, Bethany!!

Along with all the wonderful local authors in my local chapter, I've met quite a few authors at Nationals...while helping with the literary signing, Nora Roberts (surrounded by her books--no one had as many books to sign and they all went, quickly), asked me to do something to help her, but I forget what--then I saw her in the bar just hanging out...very nice lady (a true advocate for romance!)...the most normal person you'll meet. Susan Elizabeth Phillips, whose books I love, showed me pictures of her grandson. The list goes on and on...I feel so lucky to have met so many and to realize they're just normal people!

Tessy

bethanyintexas said...

Tessy,

Yeah. That sounds like it was a lot of fun. I plan to join the chapter in January, as advised. I'm very excited! Everyone was so nice and "normal". I put quotes around normal because I think all of us writers have our own quirks.

J.J. Bennett said...

What "normal" is is different for everyone. No matter who you are in life , famous or not you're still a person who eats, poops, and sleeps. It's true... To think otherwise is just naive in my opinion.

Ciara Gold said...

Oh too true. I was in awe my first RWA chapter meeting but all of the ladies, including the more well known pubbed authors took me under their wing and showed me what true friendship is all about. Most are very gracious and helpful.

bethanyintexas said...

Ciara,

Yeah, that's what happened to me (thank you for the encouragement before the meeting). They were wonderful.

bethanyintexas said...

J.J.--

Naive or not, it's hard not to be in awe of people you admire. LOL. You develop this idea of what a person is like and generally it's exaggerated one way or another. The reality is, authors are people like everyone else. Even some of them get mad at roofers (a published author told me about that recently, I felt so bad for that person!)

Regina Milton said...

Bethany- in answer to your question on my blog-

http://www.amazon.com/Joanne-Fluke/e/B001H6S1QQ/ref=sr_tc_img_2_0

bethanyintexas said...

Regina,

Oh she writes great books. I've got almost all over them. Only one I'm missing is "Cream Puff".