The highlight of DBF for me and one of the biggest factors in me deciding to make the trip to Georgia was getting the opportunity to meet Stephanie Perkins. I think this sentence deserves a big fat duh squared.
The panel and signing for Stephanie was at the end of the festival and it was the perfect punctuation mark on what had been one of the best weekends of my book loving life so far. Our little group was so excited to meet Stephanie, we all gushed over her during the panel. I was especially moved when Stephanie talked about writing about deep and true love at a young age and how she fell in love and married as a teenager.
|Terra Elan McVoy, Elizabeth Eulberg, Stephanie Perkins, and Jennifer Jabaley. Fabulous women who write contemporary YA.|
Before I read Anna and the French Kiss last year, I was feeling really blah about my writing. In fact I was conflicted about whether or not I should continue writing as anything other than my secret hobby which it has been for most of my life. There was something about Anna and her story that woke me up. It probably seems a silly, but for what feels like forever I just wanted to write a story that made people happy. It didn't have to be the greatest literary achievement of my generation or even be depressing enough to be an official Oprah Book Club selection, but if I were to write something that made people smile or laugh, I'd feel like the biggest success in the world.
Anna and the French Kiss made me laugh. It made me smile and want to hug something after I read it. In short, it gave me butterflies. It's a simple and beautiful story that doesn't try too hard but creates a world in which I desperately want to live. It also inspired me to become the kind of writer that inspires butterflies, especially in myself. I love to read books about regular life with characters that aren't necessarily undead or wolfy or fae or existing in a world a hundred years from now and I want to write those kinds of books as well. I'm incredibly grateful to Stephanie for making me believe that could be a reality. I would never assume that I am as gifted a writer as she is, but I appreciate the inspiration, the happy feeling I take away from reading her books, and the existence of my reigning fictional boyfriend Etienne St. Clair.
Since I tend to be a basket case and incredibly spastic when meeting my favorite authors I spent my time in line going over what I wanted to say with my friend Julie and trying to calm the freak down. When it was finally my turn to speak with her I was shocked when I actually was able to articulate everything I wanted to say and actually not freak the freak out! I told her all of the reasons that I loved Anna and that I recently had the chance to read Lola and the Boy Next Door (which releases on the 29th...preorder now people!) and how I loved it even more if that's even possible. I also made sure to drop my book event bestie Jessica's (who I totally missed at DBF by the way) name into our conversation since she won the ARC of Anna that I first read last year, and how I had traveled all the way from sunny Los Angeles to muggy Decatur just for the chance meet her.
Then I mentioned that right after I read Anna for the first time I sent her a tweet saying something to the effect of, "I just finished your book and now that I've met Etienne St. Clair, I need to tell Marcus Flutie that we need to see other people." Her response? "Oh my gosh...Tameka?" She totally knew who I was! (death btw, complete and utter death)
|Ok so maybe I was a *little* spastic but she's laughing! She thinks I'm funny! (PS -What the fudge is happening to the back of my head? Darned southern humidity!|
What made my time with Stephanie such a John Green Moment was when I mentioned the fact the Libba Bray is indeed my best friend. I told Stephanie that I'd be quite willing to make her a part of the best friend trifecta if she were willing, and she told me that since Libba was one of her idols, she was totally in.
|We're adorable together.|
|I KNOW RIGHT?|
She also signed my own personal copy and brought a mild and brief ugly cry.
I think the only thing left to say is that Stephanie Perkins is amazing. She is sweet and funny and nice and beautiful and cool and has the most amazing streaks in her hair that are the most vividly pretty blue in person. She exceeded my expectations exponentially (how's that for alliteration?) and I feel like my life is better for having met her.
So....how awesome would it be to have this signed copy of Anna? Seriously it's pretty much the most amazeballs signature ever in life. All you have to do is comment and tell me what gives you butterflies. Contest will run until 11:59pm on September 28th...so I can remind you all to buy Lola and the Boy Next Door immediately on September 29th. You don't have to be a follower either, though I'm hoping now that you've seen with whom I roll, you'll want to stick around.