Over the past few years, I've met tons of awesome writers. Some on Authors' Advisory, some at conferences, and some just online. Authors are amazing people and universally fascinating (at least to me).
Only one (so far) has let me hang out with her for a whole day (well, half-a-day). Only one has let me shadow her to a school visit and a library lecture and a book signing. Only one has come to dinner at my house. Only one has let me play with her adorable baby and meet her so-cool mother.
Aprilynne Pike, #1 NYT Bestselling author of WINGS, SPELLS, and ILLUSIONS, and, most recently, new inductee to the NYT Bestselling Series list.
My friend. (I'm sure she called me that at least once.) :D
You want to touch me now, don't you?
I first met Aprilynne at LDStorymakers 2010, where I was thrilled to see she was my bootcamp instructor. When we ran out of time in our group, Aprilynne graciously met with me during the main conference to give me her notes on my writing sample--and they were SOOO good! She has amazing instincts for what works and what doesn't, and made a beautiful bloodbath of my pages.
When I started hosting Authors' Advisory, Aprilynne was one of the first authors I asked to be a guest, though her call was delayed for several months to coincide with the release of ILLUSIONS and to not conflict with the birth of her baby. Her call, predictably, was sooo informative, and full of her own unique humor. I loved reconnecting with her on the phone.
Right after the call, she announced that she'd be including my town on her ILLUSIONS tour! I was so excited! I contacted her and volunteered to help, and ended up contacting our local library and high school, and putting up flyers about her B&N signing. Can you imagine the thrill as I called people and said "I was talking to Aprilynne Pike...." :) (The school thought I was her publicist.) :D
On the big day, Aprilynne let me shadow her (you know, since I want to do this sort of thing when I grow up). She, her mother, and her daughter picked me up at my house and we went to the high school, where she thoroughly entertained 80 students with a fun exercise on plot and characterization. She'd select a student, have everyone decide who they were, what their power was (since she writes fantasy), and eventually collected enough characters for a mock battle. She effortlessly discussed story structure and conflict, answered lots of great questions, and was finally interviewed by the school newspaper.
After the school presentation, we headed over to the library, where she lectured a small group of librarians, patrons, and a carload of fans who drove (bearing gifts) two hours to see her. She talked about her path to publication--and the many pitfalls she experienced along the way. It was fascinating, and I loved how she didn't let setbacks stop her. She kept writing, kept trying, and eventually made #1 on the NYT Bestseller list.
After the library, it was off to my house, where my wonderful hubby fixed us a venison steak dinner. Aprilynne and I discovered that we have TONS in common, and she gave me advice on my query letter--improving it immensely.
I had tons of fun, y'all. Not only because Aprilynne is awesomeness itself, but because I learned SO MUCH about how to be a professional author. It looks like tons of fun, frankly, and I can't wait to try it myself.