Today was my first official day at the RT convention. I’m a newbie to the convention, and it is a beast all its own. The convention is geared for both writers and readers, so there is a wide range of people.
One of my favorite part of conferences is meeting authors. I am normally super shy when it comes to people I don’t know, but not so much when it comes to my favorite authors. I call it author stalking. That sounds sketchy and creepy, but really it’s not. There are so many writers who have influenced me and continue to inspire me with their writing, and I like to tell them so when I get the chance. If….I mean, WHEN I’m a published author (my writing friends keep telling me to think positive, so I’m giving it a try here), it would make my day for an aspiring writer to tell me how much they admire my writing.
There are a few rules when author stalking. Never interrupt them when they’re talking to someone else, especially if that person looks “official” (like an agent or an editor). While conferences are fun, they are also a place of business for authors and other industry professionals. Also, don’t hog their time. Sometimes I meet authors after a panel, and there are other people waiting to speak to them. It’s disappointing not to get to talk to them more, but it’s inconsiderate to monopolize them. Say what you want to say, then step aside.
Like I said, I’m normally pretty shy, but not so with authors. I figure that even if I do see them again, it’s highly doubtful they’ll remember me anyway, so I just go for it. If they’re not in the middle of a conversation, I simply go up to them and say, “Hi, Author!” A lot of times, they get this startled look on their face when I jump out at—um, walk up to them and say their name. (I promise—I’m not stalker scary! The look goes away once they realize why I’m talking to them.) One thing to remember is that most writers (even NYT best-selling authors) are introverts. They only pretend to be extroverts at public events like these.
First up on my list of authors is Jennifer L. Armentrout. Her novel Wait for You (written as J. Lynn) inspired me to write my Golden Heart® finaling manuscript Letting Go. She was at the top of my list of authors I wanted to speak to so I could thank her. How often do you get to speak to your inspiration in real life? She is an amazingly accomplished writer. I attended part of a panel she was on, and she stated that she’s published 26 books since she first published in October 2011. And no, that’s not a typo. 26 books! She’s a hard worker and deserves every bit of her success. I can only hope to have a fraction of the success she’s had. If you haven’t read her work, you need to. My favorite series of hers is the Lux series. The hero, Daemon is one of my book boyfriends. Yum. (Since I’d already met her last year, I didn’t take a new picture with her. That might have been putting a toe over the creepy stalker line.)
Authors are my celebrities. So when I saw Rachel Vincent walk past me, I knew right away it was her. I read her Shifter series a few years ago and it captured me, causing my life to come to a standstill until I’d finished the series. The heroine is in college, which technically makes the series new adult. Somewhere or another, I read that Rachel said this series was new adult before new adult was a real category. I’d agree with that. When I was in the early stages of my writing journey, I would look to her books to find examples of good writing. Needless to say, I was so excited to meet her in person and chat for a few moments. Rachel was so sweet, and it was a total fangirl moment for me.
The last two authors on my stalker list for day one are Kiera Cass and Chloe Neill. I didn’t get to speak to them for an extended time like I did with Jennifer and Rachel, but nevertheless, it was fantastic meeting them.
Kiera is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series. (She also lives in Blacksburg—go Hokies! Too cool.) Kiera explains her series as The Hunger Games meets The Bachelor. That description is perfect. The series is a fun read. Kiera frequently posts blogs on her website and videos on YouTube. Last fall I was feeling very discouraged about my writing, and Kiera’s videos cheered me right up. Not only that, but they also helped get me out of my funk and back to writing. Some of the videos are hysterical. In general, Kiera seems like a fun person to be around. Plus, did I mention she lives in Blacksburg? Hokie, Hokie, Hokie, Hy! Tech, Tech, VPI!
Chloe writes the NYT bestselling Chicagoland Vampire series. Her heroine Merit is a snarky reluctant vampire who learns to navigate her way and claim her place in a world she did not ask to become a part of. One thing I like about these books is that they aren’t the typical vampire books. There is very little mention of blood. Weird for a vampire series, huh? It’s a refreshing change. Readers aren’t slapped in the face with the vampire-ness of the characters. I can definitely sink my teeth into these books. (Okay, I couldn’t resist. I promise the humor in Chloe’s books is a lot better than mine!)
I’m calling my first day at my first RT a success. Hopefully day two will bring more author stalking. (Not creepy, I swear!)