In my role as assistant manager at a local independent bookstore, I’ve been fortunate to meet some of my favorite authors, as well as be introduced to many new authors as well! Some have been lovely human beings, genuine and kind, wanting to truly get to know their fans. Others have been difficult and divas, obnoxious or rude. But whatever the case, having the chance to get to know those who have created some of my favorite stories has been a wonderful opportunity. Below are some of the highlights.
Sarah J Maas
A.K.A. The Queen! I have been reading Sarah J. Maas’ books just about since Throne of Glass first came out. I’ve introduced countless friends and bookstore customers to her works and I’m very excited that I had the chance to meet her four times before her events truly ballooned into spectacles of lots of tween girls. She has always been absolutely delightful and insightful and I can’t wait to read everything she writes in the future! Additionally, I told my sister if she came out one weekend, she had to come with me to see Sarah and that she had to at least start reading Throne of Glass. She whined about not liking fantasy and was not excited. Needless to say, at this point she’s read all of her books!
Reviews: A Court of Thorns & Roses trilogy, Throne of Glass series review to come this fall
Marie Lu is an amazing human being whom I was honored to have the chance to interview back in September. I asked her about diversity in the publishing world, as well as in her own writing and her thoughts on the gaming industry. She is a wonderful human being and I greatly enjoy reading other interviews she has done and I anxiously await the sequel to Warcross!
Ruta is a spectacularly imaginative person. I’ve had the opportunity to meet her twice and the second time, I had the opportunity to tell her about how much Laura, my sister, loves her books and that she was upset she wasn’t with me when I got to meet her. Ruta suggested sending her a message, I started routing around for a notepad, and then she insisted on recording a video message to Laura! It made her day when I sent it to her!
My favorite story about meeting Leigh Bardugo – actually saying “Don’t freak out” out loud to her and not in my head. With long, wavy, silver hair and her ever present cane, Leigh looks like a modern day witch meets rock star and I mean that in the absolute best way. She has such a presence when she enters a room and her books are beloved by so many people, but she is still incredibly down to earth and even invited me to send her snippets from my own writing projects. I nearly fainted.
When I first attended BookCon in 2015 with my friend Nina, we were just walking past a booth when we were asked if we wanted to meet an author. The two of us shrugged and answered affirmatively and then Nina proceeded to freak out a bit when she realized who the author was. A loyal Mary Sue follower, she knew exactly who Sam was. She excitedly filled me in and we had a great time talking all things geek with her. When Wonder Women arrived at the store, I immediately made it a staff pick and told anyone who would listen how awesome Sam is.
Reviews: Wonder Women
Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie is my feminist hero. Fiercely outspoken and unapologetic, I wish I was as brave as she is when it comes to speaking one’s mind on important topics from education to sociological issues facing our country today. She is one of the few white authors who has written about slavery and received, at least to my knowledge, little to no criticism in the “own voices” era. While I haven’t reviewed any of her books on here yet, I certainly look forward to doing so in the near future!
Books: Speak, Fever 1793, Voices of America trilogy (Chains, Forge, Ashes)
Marion’s story about her experiences during World War II in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen is tear-jerking to say the least. As her mother lived to 104, I truly hope that Marion lives well into her second century as well so that she can share her story with as many people as possible. She reminds me in equal parts of both of my grandmothers, she has the energy of one and the German accent and temperament of the other. If only it were possible to adopt a grandmother…
Reviews: Four Perfect Pebbles
Last year I had the incredible privilege of interviewing Jerry Spinelli, author of one of my favorite childhood books, Stargirl, at the bookstore. After a few fangirl moments, during which he told me very sweetly to calm down because he’s not that big a deal (he won the NEWBERY!), I sat down to ask him some questions about his life as a writer and his most recently book, another Newbery contender, The Warden’s Daughter.
Books: Stargirl, Maniac Magee, The Warden’s Daughter
A truly inspiring feminist who encouraged us all to take the great leap of personal determination to break into a male-dominated profession. As a professional musician, especially one who is a percussionist, she knows a thing or two about what it’s like to face sexism in the workplace. I just wish I had a picture of her looking up! A review of her debut book, a memoir about her experiences, will be coming soon.
Book: Sticking It Out
Meeting Robert Sabuda was the highlight of my coworker (and work mom’s) time at the bookstore. She’d been hoping he would come to the store and in 2016, shortly before Christmas, he came to visit to celebrate his Christmas book, Christmas Story. The process of making pop-ups is absolutely fascinating! If you have a chance, watch some YouTube videos or something, it’s so cool!
Books: Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, America the Beautiful, A Christmas Story
a.k.a Mr. Feeny, hero to all teachers and aspiring teachers. While I would have loved to have met him back in the late ’90s, early aughts when I was obsessed with Boy Meets World and thought it was actually filmed in Philly and therefore I could go visit the school and meet Mr. Feeny (I totally thought he was a real teacher). But I’m eternally grateful to have had the chance to meet him at his wonderful age of 89.
Book: There I Go Again
Other Authors I’ve Enjoyed Meeting
- Erik Larson, author of Dead Wake, In the Garden of Beasts, incredibly knowledgeable history author
- Anthony Horowitz, author of Moriarty, very lively British mystery author and screen writer
- L. E. DeLano, author of Traveler, my favorite, local YA author who is always quick to jump in and help me with our young adult writing group at the store
- Marieke Nijkamp, author of This Is Where It Ends, inspiring author writing in her second language
- Mo O’Hara, author of the My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series, actress and author, full of funny stories
- Adam Lehrhaupt, author of multiple picture books, lively and exciting kid’s author
- Amy Cuddy, author of Presence, TED Talk alum and inspiring personality
- Kwame Alexander, author of Crossover, who reminded me to call my dad more often
- Elin Hilderbrand, author of Blue Bistro and women’s fiction, reminded me that you can only be a writer if you actually sit down and write
- Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella, authors of comedy essay collections, tell the funniest mother-daughter stories that I can certainly relate to
- D. J. MacHale, author of Sylo series, with whom I had very enjoyable political discussions
- Richard Peck, hero to elementary school me, author of the Grandma Dowdel books, Long Way From Chicago and A Year Down Yonder among others