I actually got to meet one of my very favorite authors. I'm a sucker for Jodi Picoult books. All of 'em. Jodi is currently on tour promoting her new book, "Handle With Care", which is about a little girl who is born with osteogenesis imperfecta (a defect that causes brittle bones). I, yes, I, humble reader from Chicago, had the opportunity to meet her today!
Jodi is really inspiring! She's one of those women that is so self-assured, so brave, so strong, and so likeable that you can't help but think: "I wanna be just like her when I grow up"! She also seems to have a great sense of humor! She opened the 20 minute reading by saying "I'm sorry for those of you who can't see me. But if you can't see me, I'm six feet tall, very skinny and blonde." She was prompted by what appeared to be a super-fan to tell a very funny story about one of her earlier nights on tour that involved a rat in her hotel room. :) Nice to know stuff like that even happens to famous authors, isn't it?
She seems like she is so down to earth! She has a very pleasant voice, not really high, but not low and throaty. Although her voice may be diffent from normal, because she had a terrible cold. Her 20 minute reading was punctuated by bursts of coughing, which she quelled by sipping a hot tea. I caught a glimpse of a note that was paper-clipped to one of the first pages in her copy of "Handle With Care", presumably written by her husband, that said "Jodi, I love you". :) How sweet that she takes a bit of home with her while she's on tour! She was also very cute! She was wearing a great outfit of jeans, a black floral top with a black jacket over it, and friendship bracelets on her left arm. I never knew this about her, but in her former life she was an 8th grade English teacher! I really admire her ability to bring the issues that we are facing to light in a non-partisan way that grabs your attention. She presents all sides of an arguement or issue, and enables you to empathize with characters you would never identify with in other circumstances. She said today that when she wrote "Keeping Faith" one of her goals was to offend all religions equally. :) I know she was kidding, but I actually really admire that. You'll never know, from reading one of her books, who's side she's on.
During the Q & A session, a couple of interesting topics came up. One of her earlier novels (and one of my favorites), "My Sister's Keeper" is going to be coming out on the BIG screen soon, and one of the audience members asked her about the rumor that an alternate ending was given to the screenplay. Jodi confirmed this: "I wrote the book with a certain message in mind, and when you change the ending, you change the message a little." Later she ended the topic by confirming that she had made peace with the ending, and that we should all go see the movie, but: "The movie is never as good as the book!" :) You go, Jodi!
A few of my favorite quotes from the Q & A:
When asked how she chooses the topics of her books: "They are the issues that keep me up at night. There is no shortage of controversial issues to write about."
When asked for advice for aspiring writers: "Carve out some time every day. Even if it's only 20 minutes. Also, take a writing workshop." She also suggested that even if you start a story and think it's no good, to finish it out to the end.
I walked out of the signing today soooo excited to have had the opportunity to meet such an outstanding and thoughtful writer. I had the added bonus of spending ALL day with two of my girlfriends, Jenn and Courtney, who got there with me at 9:30 am to get in line. :) Here we are with our books, and here's the picture I got to take with Jodi (NOTE THE BOOKWORM ON THE TABLE!!! She said she loved it and that she always has a book, so it will come in handy!)!
Oh yeah, and the last picture is of BookWormz making their (faux) debut at Borders (yeah, that's my goofy self). Stay tuned - they were a huge hit! One girl bought one from me on the spot - and I didn't even go there to sell them! :)