We have a famous children’s author lurking in our town. It’s Wendelin Van Draanen, author of the Sammy Keyes mystery series, Flipped, and The Shredderman series. For some reason, I had never seen her speak.
But last week she came to the monthly meeting of our local writers’ group. Actually, I didn’t know about it until two hours before she was going to speak when Jay called me, so I frantically scrambled around and found a babysitter. Whew!
Here’s what I knew: she’s local, she’s wildly successful, I’ve never met her, and I already had an opinion of her:
a.) she’s probably a snob, b.) she’s probably a rich snob, c.) she’ll say things like, “Hang in there. Editors like a good hook, compelling writing, a unique voice, blah, blah, blah.” And I’ll be thinking, “I got a babysitter for this!?”
Here’s what I learned: she’s local, she’s wildly successful, and I love her! She was absolutely nothing like what I thought she’d be. Humble, hilarious, human and (thinking of another ‘h’ word…) she had nice hair! (Seriously. She did.)
She reminded me of myself (a mother, wrote early in the morning before the kids got up, was once a teacher, and stole names for characters from her student grade book). That’s so me! And I loved her story, how she came to be published, and it made me respect what she’s accomplished so much more. I came away with the feeling that I, too, actually could make it. And maybe even become the SECOND wildly famous children’s author lurking in this town! That is, if Jay and Eve don’t get there first.
Game on, guys!