Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Once a Fanboy…

meandthecatDuring the past two years, I’ve been to a number of conventions and book festivals, and I’ve enjoyed them all. One of the coolest aspects is getting to meet some authors who I’ve been reading for many (many!) years. And when I do, a strange feeling comes over me, as I morph into Fanboy.

Here’s a sample conversation:

Me: I-I-I-I’m a huge fan of your work.
Big-Name Author: Thank you very much.
B-N A:
B-N A: Well, nice meeting you…

It doesn’t seem to happen with people in other glamour occupations. If I happen to see a movie star or athlete, I’ll notice, but I don’t get weak in the knees. I once talked to Patrick Ewing in a shopping mall, and my pulse didn’t even start racing. For some reason, though, there’s something about meeting a favorite, Big-Name author, in person, that gets me drooling. I mean, come on, these people have written books that have captured my imagination. Taken me to worlds I’d never dreamed of. Kept me enthralled for hours.

Of course I idolize them! I wanna be just like them when I grow up!

I know it’s not cool; I know it’s not professional. I know it’s a bit childish, even. After all, they put their culottes on the same way I do. I just can’t help it! (Maybe it’s because I was a reader—and not a writer—for so many years.)

Some Big-Name Author encounters:

I got blurbs from two of my favorite Big-Name Authors* (thanks again, guys!). I took a picture with Big-Name Author* at Malice Domestic (by the way, Jessie 2 or Vicki, was it taken on one of your cameras?). A very gracious Big-Name Author* moderated my panel at Malice. At a ThrillerFest dinner, I spilled an ice-cold beverage in Big-Name Author’s* lap. At another ThrillerFest event, I got introduced by one Big-Name Author* and met another Big-Name Author*, the keynote speaker. Recently, I chatted with a Big-Name Author* at a local MWA event, and managed not to make a fool of myself. And I’ve shaken hands with a number of other Big-Name Authors* along the way.

(I know what you’re thinking. These Big-Name authors are just people. And you are correct. They. Are. Just. People.)

Not too long ago, I was invited to be in a writer’s group with some Big-Name Authors**, one of whom wrote one of my favorite books EVER. (It’s a wonder I don’t drool every time we get together.) And now that author is asking me for critiques? Positively surreal.

Here’s my question to you MInkers: Does the fanboy (or fangirl) phenomenon ever fade? I kinda hope it doesn’t!


*Big-Name Authors, not in any order

  • Michael Palmer

  • Reed Farrel Coleman

  • Sue Grafton

  • Michael Connelly

  • Andrew Gross

  • Harlan Coben

  • Margaret Maron

  • John Lescroart

  • John Gilstrap

  • P.J. Parrish (both of them)

  • Jeffery Deaver

  • Brad Meltzer

**Sorry, some things should be kept private.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It hasn't for me! When I see one of my A-listers at a conference, I'm pushing and shoving like everyone else to get my book signed. :)

Cricket McRae said...

Well, now I'm nervous about meeting you in person, Alan. You're obviously a pretty Big Name Author yourself. Congrats on the critique group!

G.M. Malliet said...

The BNAs are authors who are good at making their fans feel at ease. The *real* BNAs, that is. Even when the fans spill something on them. Graciousness really is a gift and the greats have it.

Shannon Baker said...

I agree with Cricket, you're a BNA these days, yourself. I was lucky to host Jamie Ford at our recent book festival in Flagstaff--pretty BN! I was way nervous about meeting him. He was the easiest, nicest, funniest person!

Jessica Lourey said...

I remember the first time I met William Kent Krueger, I forgot to let go of his hand as we spoke. He was very gracious. I was dumb.

I agree with you about no one giving me the fangirl geeks like BNAs.

Alan Orloff said...

Elizabeth - You may seem ladylike, but I bet you can push and shove with the best of them.

Cricket - I'd be nervous too, especially if I'm carrying a cold beverage!

Gin - Almost without exception, every BNA I've met has been exceedingly gracious and very generous (yes, that's my story and I'm sticking to it!).

Shannon - If BNA stands for Barely Noticed Author, I might qualify.

Alan Orloff said...

Jess - Us culotte-wearers have to stick together in our fanishness!

Alice Loweecey said...

It hasn't for me. Let me know if I babble the next time I see you. :D

Deborah Sharp said...

Grrrr... my comment just disappeared. I like Cricket's comment, because as I was reading your entertaining post, I was thinking that to someone starting out now, YOU are the BNA (in culottes, yet! ;-)

Keith Raffel said...

Given your aversion to speaking to B-N Authors, I understand why you have always been so eloquent when we have spoken.

Shel said...

Same here, Alan. I often say that if Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie walked into my grocery store, it wouldn't do a thing for me. However, if Barbara Michaels or Joan Hess walked in...oh MY. I'd make a total fool of myself and be a puddle of fangirliness at their feet in about two seconds flat. Authors just do it for me.. LOL.