The past two summers, I’ve attended RWA’s® national convention. I knew I’d have the opportunity to see and hear many famous authors and looked forward to it. In the past, friends have mentioned being “fangirls” and wanting to meet certain authors but being afraid they’ll be tongue-tied. Not me. True, I’m the unshy, outgoing type, but I just don’t get that fear.
The first writing conference I attended was the Central Ohio Fiction Writers regional conference when Suzanne Brockmann was the keynote speaker. I took books for her to sign and hoped to meet her. When I arrived for the kick-off dinner, I met up with a friend I’d made online and we went to stake out seats for dinner. Guess whose reserved table still had seats available. Suzanne’s! I was shocked. We were brave enough to snag them and have dinner with Suzanne and her husband and had a delightful time. So, last year I volunteered to moderate one of her workshops at RWA.
When Kristan Higgins spoke to my writing chapter, I volunteered to be her chauffer. My being directionally challenged resulted in her having to navigate because I was ignoring the GPS to talk. I saw her several times at RWA 2013 and in New York she was on a panel with legends Robyn Carr and Eloisa James at the Golden Network Retreat. At the close, people were standing around while I made a beeline to hug Kristan and get a picture with her. Later, in the week, a friend lamented riding in an elevator twenty some floors with Kristan yet couldn’t speak to her, which is a shame because Kristan is one of the most down-to-earth, easy-going, warm and wonderful people you’ll ever meet.
I started thinking about how people react when given the opportunity to meet celebrities. I’m not one to hunt down celebrities. Sure, I’d like to meet Jensen Ackles, Max Martini, and Joe Manganiello, but I hope I could carry on an actual conversation with them. If given the chance, I’ll happily test out that theory. I started thinking about why I don’t fangirl. The famous authors are people who I enjoyed being with. What if I’d hung back? Been afraid to interact with them? I may not achieve their levels of success (though I’m aiming to!) but I would never want someone who enjoys my books to be afraid to approach me or leave me sitting at a dinner table alone because they didn’t think they could sit with me. I’m just Tracy. Aspiring Best-Selling Author. So, if you see me, come say hi—but be warned, I am the hugging type. I hope to meet you if I haven’t already.
P.S. If you haven’t read any books by Suzanne or Kristan, consider this an invitation to check them out.