Daily Archives: August 13, 2010

{istalk} Things I’ve Noticed about Authors

I am going to lie to everyone today and tell them that I do a lot of people watching.  But the truth is it’s not so much people watching as people stalking. 
I observe a lot of things about a loooot of  children’s authors, and I thought I’d share some of it here for your reading pleasure. {NONE of this is about adult authors because I know nothing about that world.}

Tenderness. {NOT the book}
I’ve noticed a lot of authors are animal lovers. Not counting my mother, of course. I’ve done several interviews and just had regular chats where authors  tell me how much they love chilling with their cats, and sometimes, puppies. 
I’ve also spent time with writers who are just plain nice. I always say, you can tell a TRUE children’s author by the way they look and act. {No, not by their writing. . . hahaha!} 
I’ve only met a couple of big.fat.snob children’s writers, and to me they aren’t really writers. Because MOST authors are tender-hearted and humble. They want to see people succeed. They push other people’s books, talking little of their own. That’s why I love spending time chatting with them. Kindness and humility are great qualities to have.

That must be why I’m not a real writer. . . .hmmmmm.

A lot of the children’s writers I’ve met have had to live through some serious grief. Maybe that’s what makes them such good writers. Tough life=good writing? Who knows? All I’m saying is a lot of you have had it tough.  Maybe having been there gives you a way of knowing what another person feels.


Finally, I fit into a category that 99% of writers are in. We’re all big nerds. Some of us are undercover nerds {Jandy Nelson,  Ann Dee Ellis,  Alane Ferguson} and some of us embrace the geek inside and wear it loud and proud! {Rick Walton,  Carol Lynch Williams, Chris Crowe}
Have you ever sat in a room full of writers and listened to them talk? I think that’s all I have to say about that.

Doesn’t notice the little things

This isn’t ALL writers, but a lot really don’t notice the little things, or maybe they just don’t care. Either way I find it hilarious.
Mom can wear the same shirt five days in a row and not notice.
Me, Cait and Nina just brush it off and pretend like she’s changed clothes. But if someone from the outside world comes over a few days in a row, I can tell they can tell.
Actual quote from Laura: “Mom, you’ve worn that shirt every day this week. Don’t you think that freaks Cait’s boyfriend out?”
And of course my mom responds with something like: “I have? No, I’m sure I changed. Wow, I didn’t even notice! I’ll put something different on tomorrow.” 

This quality isn’t just one my mother has. I KNOW that a lot of you reading this are thinking “Wow, I guess I never noticed how much I don’t notice.”

We took a very very famous writer to lunch in June, and we all drove to the restaurant in our ORANGE MINI VAN. {ORANGE!!!!!! How many orange vans do you see rollin’ around? Not many.} 
After lunch, we start to wander back to the car, we’re all chatting about something. A book maybe? Who knows. When suddenly I realize the famous author is trying to get into a RED 4-runner a couple cars back. I look around for mom to try and tell her that’s the wrong car when I realize MOM is trying to get into that same car.
*Conversation I’ve had with a writer.*
Me: When was the last time you washed your hair?
(Looks at me with a glazed expression)
Writer: What day is it?

Not the most awesome self-esteem.
I don’t know WHY, but all the real writers I know have terrible self-esteems. 
I often hear them chatting with each other about how horrible their current novel is, or how terrible they look, or how everyone hates them. I really don’t get it, because it’s always the GOOD writers who do this! I always seem to hear the not-so-awesome writers bragging about their own awesomeness, and I’m thinking “You need Ann Dee’s self-esteem, because YOU suck and SHE rocks. . .” I’m sorry, Ann Dee, I’m not trying to pick on you, I’m just saying . . .
It’s funny, because you have these people with bad self-esteem in a world where people aren’t so nice. And when they get a bad review they just pretend they don’t. It’s odd, because you’d think they’d take it to heart.


Mom sits in the house for weeks at a time. But she’s not the only loner. Laurie Halse Anderson writes in a very secluded cabin, by herself! How lonely!! And cool.

I don’t mean any of this to be offensive. It’s all good fun and I really hope I haven’t hurt feelings.
Also, I should have the book club group up on Facebook sometime next week. I’ll post a link on here when it’s done.


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