This week we were asked about really famous authors that we’ve met or heard. I suppose the list of really famous authors are going to be something different for each person, but since I read and write romance, most of my star-studded list includes those authors who have made a name for themselves in that genre.
Anne Lamott: Six years ago I joined a couple of fellow writers group members to hear the author of the famous book Bird by Bird. I own a copy of this book because someone had recommended it to me (I have yet to read the entire thing, even though it’s a very short book!). I honestly don’t remember anything she said. Mostly I remember noting her unusual appearance, standing in line to get her autograph, and having my picture taken with her.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips: I actually met this romance icon twice. About four years ago she spoke at a bookstore in Lansing, MI so I joined another author to drive out there and listen to her. She was so gracious. A young mother in the front row struggled to calm her fussy baby, and without pausing in her talk, Susan picked up the baby and walked back and forth across the room until the baby calmed down. I got her autograph and asked the woman behind me to snap a picture of us. Unfortunately, this lady wasn’t good at holding still while clicking. A few years later SEP was the headline speaker at the Chicago North Spring Fling Conference, and I had another opportunity to meet and get her autograph – but I didn’t have the presence of mind to get a photograph taken then. So I guess I’ll share the blurry one with you.
Rita Clay Estrada: Rita is one of the founders of the Romance Writers of America, and the highest honor given by the RWA, the RITA Award, is named after her. Our local chapter officers actually convinced her to come and be our speaker at our annual retreat last year. I’ve read several of Rita’s romances, so I was eager to find out what this lady was like. Rita is a very classy act. She’s very engaging and encouraging. And she didn’t blink an eye when I invited myself to her breakfast table so that I could get my picture taken with her!
Christie Craig: I haven’t read any of Christie’s books – yet. I plan to remedy that soon. Christie writes young adult novels as C. C. Hunter as well as romantic suspense under her own name. After hearing her speak at this year’s local writers retreat this spring I intend to change that. She is a natural storyteller and she had us all in stitches within moments of her initial talk. What I remember most about her session on characterization is her admonishment that we need to know WHY characters do things (imagine the word “why” spoken in her soft Texas drawl – “whaaaahhh.”)
Rosanne Bittner: I’m fortunate enough to belong to an RWA chapter full of published authors, and one of the biggest names in western romance is a very active member. Rosanne is very encouraging and continues to amaze us with our output. At this spring’s writing retreat we happened to eat breakfast together so I talked her into letting me take her picture so that I could post it.
Robyn Carr: The opportunity to see this lady was one of my main motivators to attend the Chicago North Spring Fling Conference in May, even though I was unable to find a roommate for the event. I was determined to see the author of the Virgin River series and other wonderful romances. What I remember most about her is her answer to one of those inane questions I dislike: “If you were a vegetable, what would you be, and why?” Robyn’s response was golden: “I would be a rutabaga, because then nobody would want to eat me.” I could only dream about being that witty.
So these are my brushes with literary fame. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet these women. I can only dream about attaining the level of success that they’ve had, but it’s nice to be able to cross paths with them!