Celebrities for Nerds (aka Authors I've Met and Would Love to Meet!)
Many people become excited by the prospect of meeting a "celebrity;" but celebrity is a very broad term, right? For some folks, celebrities are movie stars or actors in popular television programs; successful superstars of sport; individuals who excel at a particular craft (musicians, chefs, artists, designers); and those who are celebrated for their ability to enjoy their family fortune, do nothing all day, and look phenomenal in any situation.
While I certainly geek out over meeting my running heroes, my other favorite celebrities are authors; yes, celebrities for nerds like me are authors. They don't have to be authors of blockbuster, bestselling novels or highbrow nonfiction, I simply admire and respect the work ethic of any person who has done what it takes to produce and publish quality writing.
For this installment of Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), I thought I'd share a list of authors I've met in real life and round it out with a few that I've not yet been able to meet but certainly hope to, one of these days! In order to eliminate any partiality, I've listed these in alphabetical order...
Meili Cady (author of Smoke): Prior to Cady's visit to Little Rock for the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival, I connected with her via email; having been through my own experience with our nation's Justice Department, I wanted to hear more about her journey from there to here. She caught a lot of flack for her novel and I admire her tenacity and willingness to be open and transparent about her experience and the way in which it has changed her perspective.
David Goldfield (author of Still Fighting the Civil War and more): The woman who was the chair of the History Department at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, during my time there, is very connected; she and a colleague decided to build a class around the lasting effects of the Civil War on culture in the South and Still Fighting the Civil War was required reading. We had no idea that author David Goldfield would actually show up to hang out with our class, discuss, answer questions, etc., until after the semester began; what a pleasure!
Michael Kardos (author of Before He Finds Her and others): Another visitor to Little Rock via the Arkansas Literary Festival, Kardos is highly entertaining as a speaker and graciously offered to speak with "fans," like me; I love hearing authors discuss their characters and stories.
Anne Lamott (author of Traveling Mercies and many more): I would never, in a lifetime, be able to get enough of Anne Lamott. I met her, briefly, after a speaking engagement she did at a local church in association with the publication of her latest book, Small Victories (she also has a new release coming up on April 4), and wished she could have stayed to tell me everything that I need to know about navigating life.
Keija Parssinen (author of The Unraveling of Mercy Louis): Not only is she an exceptional author, Parssinen is a down-to-earth, genuinely lovely person. Like some of the others listed, I met her during the Arkansas Literary Festival (2016); I was delighted to make her acquaintance and gush over my love for her work. In addition, I met her parents (they traveled with her for the festival) and they are the sweetest couple!
M.O. Walsh (author of My Sunshine Away, one of my all-time favorites): When I discovered that Walsh would present at the 2015 Arkansas Literary Festival I was floored; his novel, a debut, absolutely blew me away. I also might be a tiny bit in love with him; you'd have to meet him, listen to him speak passionately about his writing, to truly understand.
Ashley Warlick (author of The Arrangement and more): If she gets bored with her writing career, I'm pretty sure Warlick could be an opera singer or some type of vocal performer; she has the most captivating, gorgeous voice! She is not a native of the South, but she currently lives in South Carolina; her speaking/reading voice has this lovely, lilting quality, infused with a little darkness, and she is so very gracious.
There are too many authors I would like to meet to name; how would I ever choose? May I choose ALL of them?!! I've included three, to get started.
Georgia Hunter (author of We Were the Lucky Ones): My friend Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) is fortunate enough to have met Georgia (they attended school together) and recently attended an author event in celebration of Hunter's debut novel. I would absolutely love to sit and listen to her stories about gathering information for this novel.
Ann Patchett (author of Commonwealth and many more): After having read several of her novels, and falling in love with so many of her stories and characters, I'm pretty sure meeting Patchett would be a fantastic experience. I love hearing the stories that shape people and I imagine she's got quite a few.
Jennifer Weiner (author of Hungry Heart and so many favorites): Dream meet up, to be sure: I have read everything she's ever published; her novels have ushered me through good times and bad; she's equal parts intelligent, snarky and vulnerable; she's in my virtual badass lady gang.
Which authors have you met and who would you love to meet?