Imagine, if you will, meeting your favorite famous person. You’ve got this idea about them, formed from everything you know (movies seen, songs heard, books read). You have this fantasy about how you’ll hit it off and be best friends, or you’ll be discovered when you drop your manuscript at their feet (accidentally on purpose) and live happily ever after. But then they don’t live up to your hopes and dreams. They’re dismissive, or arrogant, or just plain mean. That would totally suck, right?
I’m thrilled to report that my first meeting with a famous person was everything I hoped it would be. No, Lauren and I aren’t besties, and I didn’t even bring a manuscript. Here’s what actually happened:
Dork that I am, I left my house a full 2 hours before 7:00pm start time of the event at Blue Willow Bookstore in Houston. Considering that with terrible traffic it would take no more than an hour and fifteen minutes to get there, I realize my early start was a bit extreme. But you know that light feeling you get in your stomach, that thrill in your heart when you’re ridiculously excited about something? I felt like that all day, and I just couldn’t stay home any longer. I arrived a half hour early and was the second person there. I am also thrilled to report that I was number 1 in the signing line.
Shortly before 7 Lauren walks into the store in a trucker hat and sunglasses saying, “I’m not here!” Of course we all smile and laugh little, but we’re also puking a bit in our mouths with suppressed joy. Right on time she sweeps in looking all chic in skinny jeans, boots, t-shirt, and enormous scarf. I will never ever be able to pull that off so I’m not even going to let myself get jealous.
For the next hour Lauren talks, reads from Vanishing Girls (the whole reason she’s there), and answers questions. I emphasize hour not because it was boring, but because it wasn’t. She talked about her history as a writer (and extremely literary upbringing) and that her first two novels were rejected by publishers for lack of a plot. She was positively inspiring when talking about how no matter what it is, if you do something every day for twenty years, you’ll get really good at it. So it was for her and writing. I do believe I’ll start writing every day (yes, I write blog stuff, but I mean fiction because I do have a couple great novels that really want to get out of my head).
She also shared what’s coming up next: a Panic movie (she just finished the screenplay), a new middle grade series in the fall, and another adult project (that sounds somewhat amorphous at this point). Oh, and that Delirium should end up being something movie-like in a couple of years when Fox’s rights expire. Needless to say, I’m super psyched.
There are two reasons Lauren is as awesome as I had hoped. First, there was a group of middle schoolers whose school librarian had driven them over an hour to meet Lauren. Seriously cool librarian, right?! There was one girl in particular who was a massive fan. Like, imagine how most middle school girls would be if they met Taylor Swift (or someone similar). THat’s how this girl was. And Lauren was so gracious, answering all of her questions and making her feel special.
The second reason is that Lauren remembered me! Granted, we had “talked” on Twitter this morning, but still! Seriously, I was so thrilled. I felt like I was thirteen and meeting Joey from NKoTB (don’t judge the reference). I got a picture:
and she signed both Vanishing Girls and my much-loved copy of Delirium (which had seriously been with me in some hard times).
Lauren was already on my top 8 list of writers, but she’s just cemented her place by just being cool.