Yesterday saw an exciting milestone for me: the first time I met a favorite author! And not just any author: Stacey Lee, author of the wonderful YA historicals UNDER A PAINTED SKY and OUTRUN THE MOON (hyperlinking is sucking really bad for me right now, but you find my review for UaPS on this blog and my very exciting ARC review for OtM on Her Campus at UC Davis)! She and Anna Shinoda, author of the contemporary YA novel LEARNING NOT TO DROWN, had an event at Vroman’s in Pasadena, which is only about a half hour drive from where I’m from. As I’ve been enthusiastically following Stacey Lee’s career ever since I interviewed her for Her Campus–and reviewed her book!–I was so excited to finally meet her in person!
This was my first author event and I really enjoyed it, and not just because I love anything that gets me into a bookstore or because Anna brought homemade cookies (and snickerdoodles at that). Because I’m a nerd, I most enjoyed learning about the behind-the-scenes processes of inspiration, publication, and writing, as well as the factoids about the little-known topics of Chinese-American history and private prisons, but the relaxed, conversational nature of the presentation also opened up to some interesting personal tidbits. (Stacey’s a Hufflepuff with a touch of Gryffindor; Anna is a Slytherin and owns it!
But of course, the most exciting part was finally meeting her! She asked in advance if I was coming after I commented on Anna’s Twitter post, but I was still pleasantly surprised when she actually recognized me during the Q&A session! (Anna had talked about how becoming a mother and editorial feedback led to substantial revision, and I wanted to know if Stacey’s books also went through a similar process; she explained that Under a Painted Sky had originally been focused more on the romance than the friendship and Outrun the Moon had a different ending at first.)
And of course, I got signed books! OUTRUN THE MOON is even more gorgeous in hardcover. Even more exciting: Stacey brought me an ARC of her upcoming book, THE SECRET OF A HEART NOTE, to review in the fall! This one isn’t a historical, but a contemporary involving love witches, so I’m still excited! Fun fact: it’s inspired by a visit to a perfumery that revealed she has synesthesia–she ‘hears’ smells as musical notes!
Meeting your idols tends not to go well in books and movies, but I’m very happy that she wasn’t like that at all; she was very kind and positive and it really was a fantastic experience, and definitely one of the highlights of my summer. If I could meet her again, I totally would (as she’s also from SoCal, it’s very possible!) But if I could just go on reading all her books, well, I’d be cool with that too.