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!