My Experience at the National Book Festival

Okay, the day of the book festival, it was chilly, rainy and I’d forgotten my jacket like an idiot, but…

OMG! I saw so many amazing, talented, bestselling authors. I was in awe!

Here’s a few tidbits for you. David Baldacci looks even better than his picture in person. Really. He’s very handsome and a very nice guy. Lisa Scottoline is the same. Her picture does not do her justice. She is absolutely beautiful in person.

A friend that went to Washington D.C. with me, talked to Mary Jane Clark for a few minutes! How cool is that! We also listened to Mary Jane give a speech. I really enjoyed it. She’s a wonderful speaker. She talked about her time as a TV news writer for Channel 7. According to her, when she decided to submit her first novel to an agent, she set up a meeting with Dan Rather to ask him to write her a letter of recommendation. The meeting didn’t go quite like she’d planned. Dan spent a long time telling her how tough the publishing business was, why the chances were against her success and why she should really consider whether she wanted to go down that road. Once she was really feeling discouraged, she said that Dan looked at her and finished his speech with, "But, Mary Jane, lightning does strike."

Isn’t that a wonderful quote? How inspiring! She never did say whether Dan agreed to write the letter or not. I would have loved to know.

James Patterson spoke right after Ms. Clark. Let me tell you what. He is so funny! I think I would have sat there and listened to that man talk all day long. It was a great experience.

So, now to the most important part, did I get to meet any of the authors? Sadly, no. I was a bit disappointed by that. The authors were scheduled for one-hour book signings. I had a book by David Baldacci for him to sign. I also wanted to hand him a copy of an article I wrote about him for the Fincastle Herald earlier this year, but it didn’t work out. The lines were so long that people were waiting for up to three hours at a time and still not getting their books signed. It was too bad, really too bad.

The authors didn’t mingle at all. They were put inside a tent with security all around them to keep out the public. When it was time for a signing or speech, the author was escorted to that area, then returned to the tent as soon as it was over. Very impersonal. I wanted to meet so many of them.

Overall, it was a great experience and I’m glad I went. On the way home, the most amazing thing happened. A waitress at the restaurant I stopped at for dinner recognized me. She told me that she’d read Altered Beginnings, and loved it! She felt like the book really helped her to relate better to her daughter. It was a very humbling experience that truly brightened my day. The rain didn’t bother me for the rest of the night. This is a shoutout to that waitress. Thank you, Kathy!

One person touched me in a way that all of those famous authors combined never could… I will treasure that memory for forever.

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Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 1:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

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