February 5, 2009

Authors In Person

This post from CB James got me thinking about all the authors I've met.  I worked in bookstores for many years, have gone to see them at author signings just because I'm a fanboy, and have even been lucky enough to have gotten to know some as friends.

The point of CBs post was finding out about the real person, usually from their biographies, after having liked their work and how that can sometimes change your appreciation of the work.  I can honestly say I've never gone sour on an author after having met them.  There were some that were not pleasant that I wasn't a fan of already like Henry Rollins (a dick) and Terry McMillan (surprise, a drama queen), and Robin Cook (nuts).  There were some that didn't come off well but book tours can be hard and long and tiring, so I still like Sarah Vowell and  Gary Paulson even though they were not at their best.

I was at a conference once and noticed that Orson Scott Card was nearby, signing.  I am a fan of the first Ender book (the second two were fun, but not as brilliant and I haven't read any more by him).  I avoided his table because I've heard him say some anti-gay things and just don't read him anymore.  I don't think it's necessary to agree with an author on everything and I'm sure there are writers I like that are not the best people because, let's face it, we're all just people.  So I try to be open minded.  But I don't read Card.

The list  authors that are just as cool and interesting as their books is long: Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Dan Simmons, Mario Vargas Llosa, John Ford Noonan, Geoffrey Wolfe, Lloyd Alexander, Janell Cannon, Aliki, Russell Banks, TC Boyle, David Sedaris, Carman Deedy, Joanna Cole, Laurence Yep, Brian Pinkney, Walter Dean Myers, David Shannon, Laurence Block, Jack Gantos, Cristopher Paul Curtis, Steven Kellogg, Tom Wolfe, Jerry Spinnelli, John Green, Mo Willems, Jane Yolen, Christopher Moore....

The list goes on and on.  I have cool stories about each and every one of those experiences.  What authors have you met or read about?  How has that changed your appreciation of their work?