You know the old saying. It’s a cautionary tale you’ll hear from just about anyone who’s been disappointed by this moment that they have built up in their heads for years. So naturally, this week I did exactly what I’d been told not to do. I met my childhood and teenage hero: Tamora Pierce.
For those of you who don’t know (shame on you, you’re missing out), Tamora Pierce is a prolific YA Fantasy author who’s been writing kickass female heroines in one of her two magical universes since the late 70’s. She also happened to be one of the Guests of Honor at this year’s 74th Worldcon in Kansas City, MO.
On Tuesday, I flew into KCMO excited to meet her and spend a whole five days not working and talking to people about books. First stop was a talk she was giving with Brian McClellan (also a fabulous fantasy author) at the KC Public Library.
My jaw pretty much dropped as soon as I stepped into the library. The whole of the Great Falls Public Library at home could fit in this one’s grand foyer. Six glorious floors of nothing but books.
I sat through the interview, quickly realizing that this woman was basically me, plus forty years and twenty bestselling novels.
Tammy was witty, dry, generous, and hilarious. Naturally, I was the first one in line to have her sign something. In my haste to get the airport that morning, however, I’d forgotten to pack one of her books. What could I possibly have her sign that would mean anything to me? I looked down at the notebook I always carry around with me. What could be better than the thing I use to plot my own novels and stories?
Now, of course, this notebook means even more to me.
Two days later, I was waiting outside a room in the convention center to attend yet another interview with her when who should come sit beside me?
At first, I didn’t know if I should say something, but then I figured, I’ve got nothing to lose if I speak to her. In fact, I gained quite a bit. She was a wealth of encouragement and advice. She also–and I was quietly freaking out about this the whole time–gave me a sneak peek at her latest project. It was the kind of conversation I’d only dreamed of. This was the woman who had shaped the way I write and she thought my novel was interesting!!!
Not even meeting George R R Martin, Melinda Snodgrass, or any of the various other incredible authors could top those 30 minutes.
They say don’t meet your heroes, but I’m so unutterably glad that I did.