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You're the Voice: Sara on the Meeting and Greeting of Authors

Feb 11,2013
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As this school year already promises to be long and arduous, I quickly find myself being sucked back into the miseries of homework, stressful SACs and the threat of exams looming over my life. Often I find myself wistfully thinking back to my reading marathon on the holidays. My remaining books look so small and abandoned on my desk, and when I’m doing homework I can hear them whispering to me - urging me - to read just one page. As much as I’d love to, I know if I give in to temptation… Well, let’s just say Lemony Snicket put it best:

“If you are a student you should always get a good night’s sleep unless you have come to the good part of your book, and then you should stay up all night and let your schoolwork  fall by the wayside, a phrase which means 'flunk'.”

But you know it’s not like I’ve ever done that before. *shifty look*

So thinking of books, I thought of all the things I’d like to tell my favourite authors. And that made me think of the authors I have met.

A brief summary:

File 12924The first was John Flanagan, author of The Ranger’s Apprentice Series and The Brotherband Chronicles - I’ve actually met him twice! My two friends and I (who I may or may not have emotionally blackmailed into coming along) waited over an hour to be the last people there (and I got an awesome signed poster from him for that – yay!). There were so many things I wanted to say to him, about how incredible he is and how amazing his books are. How I love the pace, action, adventure, characters and that wonderfully sarcastic, dry humor of his. I had dozens of questions I wanted to ask and countless things I’d have liked to discuss… and it all kind of died there.

File 12928Similar case with Michael Grant, author of the FAYZ Chronicles. I wanted to tell him how much I love his characters and how much they annoy me too. I wanted to ask him if he takes pleasure in driving all of his characters to the brink of insanity, before pulling them back a little and then laughing maniacally when he pushes them off. I wanted to tell him how brilliantly funny he is - because it’s true - and I know it would feed his ego.

But I feel like I can’t tell these authors anything they haven’t heard before and I guess I’d hate to be ‘just another fan’.  I can’t say anything to them without it sounding rehearsed or schmaltzy. Or, I simply don’t have the words.

File 12931And then you have people like Evanna Lynch who wrote emails to J.K. Rowling and got the role of Luna Lovegood, or the fan who was mentioned by Michael Grant because he wrote him an email telling him all the times he wanted to throw his book across the room.

Maybe I’m just too caught up in being original. Surely authors don’t get sick of hearing how awesome they are?

There are many authors whose books I really love, but I think if I met them I wouldn’t know what to say. I mean, when their books come out I’m doing flips and somersaults in my mind, and I start gushing like a crazy fangirl. I’m barely exaggerating. They really are, to me, the Masters of Writing.

I was thinking about their different styles of writing and what I’d take from whom.

  • For amusing dialogue; I’d go for John Flanagan or Derek Landy.
  • Humour; can’t go pass Doug Macleod.
  • To write simple things powerfully; Melina Marchetta.
  • To twist the reader’s heart and leave them curled up in a fetal position bawling their eyes out (not like I’m talking from personal experience or anything); Jodi Picoult.
  • For complexity of plot development; hello J.K. Rowling.
  • If I could pick an overall style; I’d take Markus Zusak’s. The simplicity yet sophistication of it – he can form the most beautiful descriptions in so little words.

“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
Markus Zusak, The Messenger

… How does he do that?

My list is a long one and even as I write, I think of all my favourite authors and what in their writing appeals to me. I wish I could bring them all in to my brain somehow, because I’d be grateful for any thread of genius that they have. Each author’s style works for them. There are things that I love particularly with each author, but most of them do have the whole package.

Yet in the end, I wouldn’t want their styles. Should I ever become an author – to paraphrase what Markus Zusak said – I would want a style that is so uniquely mine that no one else could have written it.

And when I’m overwhelmed with doubts about that possibility, I remember this, and it gives me hope:

File 12934

I hope it inspires you too.

- Sara

Feb 17,2013
anonymous's picture
@ambivalence - Worry not, dear friend. I took a screenshot. ;) It has also been carefully filed away in my memory.
Feb 13,2013



Feb 12,2013
@ambivalence - You're simply too humble. I promise you you can do it, and very well. And thank you, I haven't decided what my idea of success is exactly, but all in good time. ^^ I wish you the same, but I know someone as awesome as you will achieve every goal you desire. @Adele - I want to say thank you, but the word seems insufficient here in expressing my gratitude. I spent the rest of the night walking around with a big, goofy grin on my face. As Roald Dahl's Matilda put it, "I was flying past the stars on silver wings."
Feb 11,2013

I tweeted your words on Markus Zusak via Twitter and this is what he wrote back:

Well done Sara!

Feb 11,2013

It does inspire me, and I must say you put words to my thoughts and feelings ^_^ I can't even do that for me, so thanks :) I hope success in the sense that you want finds you some day.

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