Saturday, May 14, 2011

My Day With Aprilynne Pike

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.

Only one is 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.

During the book signing at B&N, I played with her baby (continuing my day-long baby-playing campaign) while she greeted her fans (including my boss... who hadn't seen me at work that day...). We had more time to chat, and she ended the night by signing a bunch of their stock. I bought me a personalized copy of ILLUSIONS, and mostly just reveled in the coolness that is Aprilynne.

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.

Thanks, Aprilynne!


  1. You've been looking forward to this day for a while, Robin. I'm glad it was what you'd hoped it would be.

  2. All that and more. :) It was amazing.

  3. Sounds like an amazing day. You are one lucky girl to get this opportunity. Aprilynne is such an awesome person. I've met her once and communicated via email several times. Any advice I have received from her has always been super helpful and practical.
    Yay! How cool for you.

  4. Melania--I could hang with Aprilynne for weeks and never get bored. She's so much fun!

  5. How fun! That is so awesome! Now when you become a famous author, can I follow you around? ;)
    I hope she comes back here for a signing when her next book comes out. I would LOVE to meet her!
    Great post and it sounds like you had a blast! :)

  6. Chantele--Absolutely! I'd love to have you follow me! (Especially since the odds are that you'll be famous before I will....)

  7. JEALOUS! But glad you two shared in an awesome afternoon. You're putting ideas in all our heads.

  8. LC--honestly, I'm wondering how authors train for this part of their job. Who teaches them how to do school visits? What to talk about at libraries? We really should have some sort of apprenticeship program. So say I.

  9. Oh, so fun! Aprilynne sounds as lovely in person as her name and books. ;) And I love her tutu. :) LUCKY YOU!

  10. Stephanie--you obviously have a good grasp on the definition of awesome. Are you a writer, by chance? :D