That's how Gordon Korman autographed my copy of Jake, Reinvented at the 2004 SCBWI National Conference. That was the year the Disco Mermaids won our first of three costume contests. (No matter how many times I tell people, I really was dressed as a disco dancer...not a pimp. I swear!)
Anyway, Mr. Korman left a huge impression on the three of us that year. He was so funny and inspiring in his speeches. And after we won the costume contest, we felt confident enough to approach him. Not only was he funny and inspiring, but he was so nice, too. When we got home and started reading his books, we became even bigger fans. In fact, I had been a huge fan all along and didn't even realize it. My bookshelf was loaded with his books from when I was in elementary school but I never put his name to those titles...otherwise I would've lugged them all to the conference and had them signed.
What's the point of this post? I'm getting there. But first, let me tell you what I've told Robin and Eve ever since I rediscovered G.K.: If I could model my writing career after one author, it would be Gordon Korman. He writes hilarious middle grades, adventurous middle grades, hilarious YAs, and suspenseful YAs. The dude can do it all! Plus, children and librarians love him.
And here's why this is all so cool. Gordon Korman gave my first book, Thirteen Reasons Why, a blurb:
A spectacular first novel.
Jay Asher tells his story with such honesty and simplicity
that the tragedy feels shatteringly real.
Okay, I don't know how much more cool news I can take.