Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meeting Jodi Picoult

Last Monday, one of my dreams came true. I met author Jodi Picoult. She was in town to promote her new book, Lone Wolf. I, of course, wanted to meet her because I love every single one of her books. But there was more to it than that. She (more than anyone or anything else) has had a tremendous impact on my writing. After reading her first novel Nineteen Minutes, the way I viewed novel writing and storytelling changed dramatically.

I began to examine the way I constructed sentences and established tone and ended chapters (if there's anyone who knows how to write a page-turner, it's Jodi). My writing has a long way to go to be anywhere close to her caliber, but thanks to her, I am much better than I was two years ago.

On the days and hours leading up to meeting her, the husband kept asking me if I was excited.

Me: I'm nervous.
 
I'm not entirely sure why I was, but I suppose when you put someone on such a high pedestal they're bound to fall short of your expectations. But Jodi did not disappoint.

She talked about the research she did for Lone Wolf, which included learning how to howl.  Three audience members were invited to the stage and she taught them how to howl like a pack. It was fantastic. (The husband and I have since been annoying our dogs by breaking into spontaneous howling. They want no part of it.) She read an excerpt from her novel and then answered questions.

I found myself bobbing my head in agreement like a bobble-head doll as she talked about her writing process, how the voices of her characters are constantly talking inside her head, how the character's take over and often surprise her. I may not be a best-selling author, but it was awesome sausage to know that Jodi and I share a lot of novel writing characteristics.  In way, it was validation that I really am a writer (even though I haven't sold one book yet*).

When it was time for the book signing, I started to panic because of course I did. What should I say to her? I didn't want to tell her I love her books, because that's what everyone says and duh, would I be there if I didn't love them? I didn't want to tell her that I am a writer too because if I was her I'd be like uh huh, yeah, sure you are.

So, I waited in line and panicked and sweat, and panicked some more. When it was finally my turn, in usual "me" fashion, I nearly collided with the woman coordinating the event. It helped me relax...which meant I rambled like a crazy person on crack.

Jodi (after I nearly ran someone over): it's crazy in here. How are you?

Me: I'm wonderful. This has been a dream come true for me.

Jodi (incredibly genuine): Wow. Thank you.

Me: I tried to go see you at the event yesterday, but it sold out within an hour. I must talk about you a lot because everyone I know was texting me that you'd be here today.

Okay, it might not seem like I said a lot, but I spoke a mile a minute.  And there was much waving of the hands and text-miming with my thumb. I'm sure it was as awesome for her to meet me as it was for me to meet her.

Me and Jodi, hanging out.
Best Friends Forever
Basically, every single thing she said was amazing, and I seriously considered becoming a groupie and following her tour all over the country (and Europe!).  My two favorite Jodi Picoult's quotes of the event were:

I don't believe in writer's block.  Writer's block is a function of having too much time on your hands.

You can edit a bad page but you can't edit a blank page.

If you haven't read one of Jodi Picoult's books, I strongly recommend that you do. (However, I must warn you, it won't be light reading.  Nineteen Minutes is about a school shooting and other book topics include things like suicide and rape.)

All in all, it was amazing and writing about it will never do it justice. In fact, I'm rather annoyed by the lackluster way in which I did write about the most exciting day in the history of ever.  But I am exhausted and my brain has stopped working and excuses, excuses.

*For those of you inquiring about the status of my novel John and Darcy (working title)...

First of all, thank you! You have no idea how happy it makes me that you are interested in reading it.

Secondly, it was scheduled to be released via Smashwords and other e-publishing sites for some time in April. I'm not sure if that is still on track. It is in the hands of my editor now and I'm currently working on the fourth round of revisions.  When I feel it is the best it can be, I will publish it.  And I promise you'll know as soon as I do. For those interested in a preview, you can click the My Book tab at the top.  Please note that what's included there is what I wrote before the fourth edit. I foolishly thought three edits would suffice.


67 comments:

  1. Ah, I've read some of her stuff. Very cool that you got to meet her!

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  2. I'm going to look into her novels! Can't wait to read yours!!!!

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    1. I think (hope) you'll like her. Her books are pretty intense but they are so good. And I hope you like mine...:)

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  3. my mom has been recommending her novels for awhile now. looks like I have to fire up the Kobo. after I check out your novel of course :)

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    1. You will love her! And hopefully you'll like mine. :)

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  4. What a great experience for you. I also appreciate her writing. I hope you took a moment to picture yourself on HER side of the table. Maybe that will get you through your fourth (and hopefully final) edit.
    Wishing hard for the completion of your novel and thanking you for sharing the quote, "You can edit a bad page but you can't edit a blank page." That is some inspiration you can sink your teeth into. Ellen

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    1. The husband went with me and he said,"that'll be you some day." I so hope it's right and I hope to be half as cool as she is.

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  5. Yay for you for completing a sentence. I would probably have hmmmd and uhhhhhd until she called security.
    Yay to you for reading an author you like and looking at WHY you like their writing and not just wistfully sighing that you wish you could write like that. Take charge of your talent! Oh, yeah. You did that. Good job!

    And look at your cute little caboose! You're adorable. :D

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    1. I was trying to talk as fast as I could before security dragged me out of there. I kinda wish I was the last person in line, maybe I could have talked longer.

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  6. It is exciting meeting people we admire. I think it's great how when we do meet famous people we also realize how human they are and how they are just like us really.

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    1. I know! I really do put them on this crazy super-human level. It was bizarre just being in the same room with her.

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  7. Oh you are so darling! Congratulations on your book! I did not know it was donesky!! And I seriously will check out Jodi Picoult now - this is a wonderful recommendation!!

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    1. Well it's kinda donesky. I have a lot of editing to do one my fourth round.

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  8. Love this post! I met one of my heros, Jeffery Deaver, last year at the launch of the new James Bond novel and was totally tongue tied, LOL. I admit I've never read Jodi's books, but I so love a good page turner, so maybe I should give them a try:)

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  9. Good for you! That is awesome you got to meet someone who is inspirational to you.

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  10. I am unfamiliar with her work. Is it girlie? I don't like girlie books.

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    1. No! Not girlie at all. Just totally awesome and a bit heart-wrenching. Entertaining but makes you think at the same time. She's brilliant.

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  11. Okay, I read what's on your "My Book" tab and I just want to tell you that I don't think I can wait until April to read your book - and it's only 4 days away. I'm gonna need it NOW! I'm already planning on buying it for two of my friends. It's going to be fantastic. I can feel it. Good job!

    PS: I love the "Leader in the Field of Never Being Abducted by Aliens" award! Power to the foil hats!

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    1. Eek! I'll try to get it finished as soon as possible! Hopefully I'll have it finished by the end of April. I still have a lot of work to do on my fourth round of edit.

      PS thanks for reminding me it's time to do some more custom awards.

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  12. Congratulations on meeting your fav author? And what a totally comfortable large dark black stage for a cozy meet and greet. Or did she just finish a panel discussion? Anyhoo as a fellow New Englander she's all but legend around here too :)

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    1. No, no panel discussion. She spoke at a podium and then sat at the table for the signing.

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  13. "You can edit a bad page but you can't edit a blank page." I love that! Sounds like an inspirational meeting. It's incredible when someone you put on a pedestal doesn't disappoint, and that pedestal is elevated even higher. I think you handled that nerve-wracking encounter beautifully!

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    1. It was amazing. As soon as she said that, I whipped open my notebook and wrote it down.

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  14. It's crazy how, when I got to the part of the actual encounter, I started reading faster. Loved this story!

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  15. I'm so jealous I may have just peed my pants.

    ~The G is Silent

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  16. oh. I love her too. So awesome! {and so awesome about your book!}

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  17. I'm not sure I would have gotten a complete sentence out! I thought I read everything of hers....I miss 19 minutes, so thank you. She rocks, and so do you for getting your dream down and making it happen!

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    1. I was trying to say as much as I could as fast as I could before security shoved me out of the way. I think you'll love 19 minutes.

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  18. Ooh I love her books! I think I've read most of them. Nineteen Minutes was the very first one I read and I was hooked instantly.

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  19. Oh how exciting you met her! I teared up for some lame emotional reason when you started talking to her (in your post). I'm ridiculous. But now I want to buy her book and read it! You're such an awesome sausage promotor. XOXO

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    1. I'm glad you said that because I teared up three times during her speech and Q&A. I left that out of my post because I thought I would sound like too much of a dork.

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    2. Thanks very much for your large information .And knowledge full description . I think it is Sus a topic that many kinds of people face many problems. thanks for this.
      meeting people,

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  20. How awesome for you that you got to meet Jodi Picoult - 19 Minutes may be my favorite book! One of my employees waited in line to meet her and get her to sign a book for me a couple years ago - major sucking up that I appreciated :)

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    1. 19 Minutes was soooo awesome. I had never read anything like it.

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  21. I'm super jealous and excited for you at the same time.... I look forward to reading your finished product cuz I know it's going to be amazing.

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  22. This is wicked cool! My first Jodi Picoult book was Salem Falls. I think it may be my favorite, just because it's the one that made me fall in love with her as a writer. I also loved Second Glance and Plain Truth and...well, the list goes on and on! She's one talented writer. Maybe you two can go on a book tour together one day, because I definitely think you'll have her success.

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    1. I LOVED that one! I saw the ending coming, but it made me love it even more. It was a horribly tragic story but I think I may have even said, "yessss" when I got to the end because that's exactly how it should have ended. And thanks so much for your sweet words! At this point I'd be happy just to tour my neighborhood waving my book above me head.

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  23. Wow, exciting! I would have been a nervous wreck, too, meeting one of my heroes. And congrats on the book!!

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  24. I will have to check out her stuff. So cool for you to meet someone who means so much to you!

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  25. I am going to check out Jodi. And I'd love to read your work, too!

    P.S. You did great. If I met my favorite author, I'd probably freak out or blank out--nothing coherent I'm sure.

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    1. I totally freaked out, but it was a good thing I nearly ran someone over because it made me stop thinking and start vomiting words. You will LOVE Jodi and I *hope* you like me too... :)

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  26. I read an excellent book by her that I just LOVED but I can't remember the name of it right now. I suck!

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    1. You don't suck! It's hard to remember because they're all excellent. And you commenting as Jennifer A. Hall instead of Just Jennifer is really freaking me out.

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  27. I loved reading this wonderful post. As both writer and reader, I can relate to so much of what you said here. I haven't met Jodi but, having done my share of book signings over the years, I can promise you that the conversation you shared with her added a bright spot to her day. There's nothing an author appreciates more than genuine, positive feedback from readers--it's even better than book sales! :D

    I wish you great success with your own writing and soon-to-be-released book! Even more than that, I hope one day your readers will show you the same kindness & interest that you showed Jodi. It will happen--that's karma! :)

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  28. Hey it's so great that your book is about to be released! How cool is that!

    I met Jodi in Australia a few years back when she was promoting Change of Heart. She is one of my very favourite authors. I think I've read all her books!

    Denise

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  29. I love that you got to meet her and I'm sure it was as awesome for her as it was for you! I have a couple of authors I feel the same way about...so I'm really happy for you!

    As for your book: I have no doubt it will be fabulous. You're truly talented and even what I've already read of it is SO good! It really is. And I can't wait to read the finished novel. So exciting!

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  30. I am glad to know that I am not the only person to gush over another author!

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  31. She's an incredible writer, so awesome that you got to meet her!

    (and nice ass in those jeans - sorry I'm a little obsessed with backsides, now that mine is of whale proportions, thanks, pregnancy)

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  32. Just finished Paris Wife (read it when you have time) and will now start Handle With Care... at your recommendation.
    your post and pictures are great.

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  33. I love Jodi Picoult too, She is an inspiration to me and her books leave me breathless. I am so glad you got to meet her and hear her talk, that sounds amazing.

    good luck with the 4th edit, the book is going to a SMASH!!!)

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  34. Wow, so exciting. You guys do look like besties... You are officially my hero... xoxo

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  35. CONGRATS ON YOUR BOOK (and on meeting jodi piccoult)! that's awesome and i look forward to reading it. and i love that she said you can't edit a blank page... so true!!

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  36. Awesome! I like the quotes you chose from her. So true about the writer's block thing. I met Marge Piercy once and almost imploded with geekiness. I know I was flushed and wild-eyed, but she handled it swimmingly.

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  37. Yay! This is just so neat! I love that you freely express your enthusiasm. It's fresh, true, energizing and inspiring.

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  38. Congrats, I'm sure that was an exciting day. I didn't recognize you in the pics without your mask on, though...

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  39. Change of Heart is a most disappointing effort by Ms. Picoult, and I recommend saving your dollars for a better read. At this time, I am reading The Pact, which I purchased at the same time as Change of Heart...I do hope it lives up to the precedence set by Sister's Keeper. The outcome of this read will determine if I will purchase any other Picoult books in the future, or if the success of Sister's Keeper was simply a fluke for this author. Perhaps it is time for me to return to my all-time favorite author, Robin Cook, and give Jodi Picoult a chance to regain her zest for writing.

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