I was chatting with my roommate the other night, and the subject of books came up, as it often does with us. (We’re both huge readers, and thankfully we enjoy a lot of the same books.) I mentioned how I was talking with an author on Google+ the other day, commenting on his next book and the reviews he’s been getting, and she said the following:
You know, you could tell me you met the queen, and I’d be all, “Oh, yeah? What was that like?” But you tell me you’ve actually been talking to honest-to-god authors, and I’m all… *gasp* *eyes widen*
It’s something I think I’m taking for granted. Since I started blogging my book reviews, I’ve made contact with more than a few authors. Even gotten in entire conversations with them. Still keep in touch with them and comment when they say things on Twitter or Facebook. And while I sometimes marvel at the way I can rub elbows with people whom I admire so much, I don’t always stop to think that in some ways, the fact that I actually do so is kind of amazing.
I, for the most part, am the kind of person who can gush to friends about an author I like, but have great trouble actually telling the author that directly. I usually figure that they get enough fan mail from people telling them they love their writing, love their stories, and why should I add to the pile when they’re likely going to ignore it because what I say is no different than what countless others have said. So I would never dream of approaching an author to tell them how big a fan of theirs I am, let alone commenting on their Facebook status about how cute their new puppy is or how annoying revisions can be.
The thing is, I’ve actually learned that this perception isn’t really accurate most of the time. I’ve had authors send me emails because of the reviews I’ve posted, thanking me. Thanking me! Responding to silly comments that I make on my own Facebook status! Every time I see that sort of thing, I still can’t help but feel like a little piece of the divine has reached down from The Great Beyond and touched me in some way, because for so much of my life, authors were my heroes, my inspiration, my escape. It’s like walking down the street and suddenly having Johnny Depp turn to me and say, “Hi, Ria. Glad you liked my last movie.”
But the thing that it’s so easy to forget is that all of these people are just that. People. They write, just like I write. The biggest difference is that they’ve taken the plunge and gotten published. But it’s hard to keep myself in that mindset. Because as much as I know I’d adore every fan email I got, every good review somebody wrote about my books, I still kind of have the thought in the back of my mind that they must get tired of it, even if I don’t think I would.
Getting the chance to talk to authors is still an amazing thing, and while I take it for granted that I have the chance, I don’t take it for granted that they’ll talk back. (Heck, I don’t respond to every email I get either!) When they do, it’s still a wonderful and special thing that I cherish, because as much as I know that they’re people, I also am fully aware that they are people I want to be like, people who inspire me.
And there’s no shame in telling them so, either.