Janet Evanovich and yours truly. That's as small as my smile could get. Seriously, you should see the other pictures.
What’s that? You didn’t know I was writing a book? That’s because haven’t started it. Or, maybe it’s more accurate to say that I’ve started it at least 300 times. But, whether I’m putting a pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, or just thinking things out in this slightly beleaguered brain of mine, I’m always, always writing a book.
I’m also often reading them, and as often as not, they’re by Janet Evanovich. I adore her, I think because she writes the way I do (only, you know, a wee bit more successfully). It’s the characters that draw you into her books — the plot is always fun to follow, but every time I turn the final page of one of her books, I wonder what the characters do after that last scene. I find myself truly caring. I love it. And I love that she’s committed to keeping the violence off stage, the pets alive and well, and the language appropriately vulgar. Fuckin’ A, man.
Basically, I want to be her. And this weekend, I took a step toward that. I met her. And it was glorious.
I think my mom had just as much fun as I did.
My mom and I went down to Orlando for a book signing — the only book signing Janet is doing for Explosive Eighteen, btw) — and despite getting there at 9 a.m. when we thought the store was opening, we ended up in the third group. Which, you know, wasn’t so bad when we realized that, although we were Group C, there were people in Group H.
Knowing her most famous character, Stephanie Plum, had a keen affinity for Cheetos and Tastykake treats, I swung by Publix to pick her up a gift bag of goodies — I figured it would be a long day for her, and we all need sustenance, right? Although, I’ve got to say, she was sucking down Diet Cokes like a champ. And if that’s any indication of how to be a super successful author, well, I’ve got at least part of it down.
We waited quite a while in line, although between the Barnes and Noble staff and Janet’s people (including her daughter and husband, who I may or may not be BFFs with now), it went by in a flash. I guess she collects the kind of fans who just like to be happy, because as the hours went by, nobody near us complained. I think we were all just really excited to meet her.
I tried not to build it up too much in my mind. I knew she had to sign a million books and I didn’t want to expect too much more than passing hello, but oh. YOU GUYS. She couldn’t have been more wonderful. I brought my copy How I Write(her book about, uhh, how she writes), and mentioned that I’m a writer, and she turned right to me and asked what I was writing.
I loved these ladies. They'd driven up from Miami and made a whole girls' weekend of it, and they were a hoot. And also smart -- ALWAYS bring water to a book signing. Always.
I’ll spare you the full dialog, but she was smart and funny and encouraging and amazingly chipper considering she’d been signing books for almost four hours and probably had more than that left to go. When I mentioned something about “if I write a book” she cut me off immediately and corrected me.”When you write a book. Always when.” And then, she said maybe the coolest thing ever: “Once it’s published, I expect to be getting your signature.”
Well, clearly I’m going to hold her to it. But I guess that means I need to get my ass in gear and start, like, writing. But I will, and when it publishes and I go on an amazing book tour and I have tens of people (hey, in this fantasy I’ve already written and published a book and somebody has asked me to sign it — that’s enough for me, for now) waiting in line, Janet will have a personal invite to one of the first spots in line.
(After Jared and my folks, of course, because, let’s get real. Janet has provided incredible inspiration and I’m super grateful, but who do you think is going to be keeping me in Coke Zero and Mexican food while I scribble down page after page?)