Recently I was lucky enough to attend an author event for Judy Blume hosted by Books & Books in Coral Gables. I was excited to meet such a famous author. I loved reading “Forever” when I was in middle school. I attended this event with one of my best friends who was as excited as I was. Reading Judy Blume had a big impact on us.
However when we got there we found it was to be an interview. Of course we knew this in advance but I hadn’t thought this could be a bad thing. An interview is only as interesting as the questions being asked. I also find the questions to be a reflection of the interviewer and what they open to gain from that person.
Once the interviewer was done with her questions the floor was opened up to the audience for questions. However as each person stepped forward to ask their question they all opened with their own life story and how Judy Blume impacted them. I absolutely understand this connection with authors whose books have meant so much to us as readers. I have my own list of authors I want to fan girl over.
But there is a time and place for this and it isn’t a public forum. In fact I would say the best time is at the end of the event when she is signing copies of her book. But her event was so packed we didn’t have the chance to speak with her. She had to sign quickly and move on. All in all I feel like I didn’t get to hear much from Judy Blume which was disappointing. She is just too famous.
I attended an author event for Carl Hiaasen (also hosted by Books & Books). He is another author I want to fan girl over. Hiaasen had prepared a speech which talked about his new book a bit but mostly felt like an accumulation of his thoughts. I remember laughing so hard I had tears streaming down my face. This was a true reflection of the author and what he wanted to share with us in that moment.
Afterwards we gathered to have our books signed. We didn’t feel rushed or pressured to let the next person in. We were able to exchange a few words with Carl Hiaasen and each person could get something out of him that they might not have gotten out of his speech.
Both of these author events were great. They were very different and I think it boils down to how famous the author is. The less famous authors can give you a more personal event, the more famous authors must cater to a larger crowd making the event feel impersonal.
Take the opportunity when you can to go to smaller author events it is a great experience whether you’re a writer yourself or a reader.