I’ve been chained to my laptop since March 16th, trying to finish up the last installment of my trilogy, 18 Thoughts (can’t wait to show you the gorgeous cover!!!) . . . so I sorta forgot today was the first Wednesday of the month until I checked my inbox when I got home and saw Alex J. Cavanaugh’s blog post. Oops!
And I really wanted to tell the Insecure Writer’s Support Group all about my experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival, so I’m taking a quick break from writing to blog. When my publisher submitted my name for this festival, I never actually thought they’d accept me. They always bring in HUGE authors for the super Saturday event held every March. This year was no different . . . W. Bruce Cameron, Sue Monk Kidd, Julia Quinn, Jill Shalvis, Rick Yancey . . . the list goes on and on, including . . . Jamie Ayres?
I attended the Friday night Evening With the Authors reception the night before, and Melody Carlson and Tyler Whitesides sat at my table!! Every kid I know is obsessed with Tyler’s Janitors series (I read the first book to four of my classes) and Melody Carlson has written over 200 books, won the Rita, and had one of her books made into a major motion picture. It was her novel, Diary of a Teenage Girl, that motivated me to write inspirational fiction for teens! Hubs had to keep kicking me under the table so I wouldn’t fangirl too much.
Then I got to the festival the next morning and caught Sue Monk Kidd’s speech before heading over to my tent. And it was, as Oprah would say (since Oprah did pick her latest novel, The Invention of Wings, as her book club pick), it was A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!
But as I walked to my tent, fear and worry gripped me. I would never speak as eloquently as Sue did and bring in the type of crowd that becomes standing room only, never have Oprah pick my book, never have my book chosen as a Sunshine State Read (as Tyler’s did), never have my novel made into a major picture, never win a national award. WHAT AM I DOING HERE? I’ll be the embarrassment of this festival and never invited back again. I bribed hubs and daughters to pretend they didn’t know me and to ask questions so it’d look like I had three fans at my tent.
Guess what? I had 103 people show up to my tent! By comparison, Ricky Yancey had 131, so I’d say that’s not too shabby for my spot at the Young Adult stage! FYI, I’m reading The 5th Wave by Yancey now, and it’s absolutely awesome. Now I certainly didn’t speak as eloquently as Sue Monk Kidd, but I realized God didn’t need another Sue Monk Kidd. He needed a Jamie Ayres to speak to whoever was destined to be there that day. And afterward, I had an actual line at the autograph table. How freakin’ cool is that! I didn’t even bribe the people to be there 🙂
So if you get invited to an event that’s just a tad bit out of your comfort zone? Don’t let your feet tread easily on the well-worn path and stay in your little box. “Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Don’t know who said that, but it’s on a picture in my dining room, and it’s a darn-good quote! Believe all things are possible . . . hey, maybe 18 Things, 18 Truths, and 18 Thoughts will be made into movies one day. If so, I vote for Theo James to play the angel, Riel!!! Touching his bicep has been added to my bucket list of things that could possibly earn me another restraining order but is totally worth it 😉
P.S. This Saturday, I’ll be in Orlando at the UCF Book Festival from 9-3:30pm with a few other authors at the Curiosity Quills table . . . stop by if you’re in the area–I’d love to meet you!
*giggle* I’m going to duck behind you and see if I can sneak in a tap at those biceps myself. But CONGRATULATIONS!!!! And you sat next to Melody Carlson!!!! And I’m betting Sue hasn’t always been that eloquent. Plus, isn’t real and natural always the best? So happy for you! May it only get better and better 🙂
Jamie, glad it went so well for you! No, you won’t sound like those other authors. You’ll sound like you, and that’s what’s needed.
I was invited to speak at a science fiction con two years ago, and I was unable to go. I’ll always regret it, because I’m sure it would’ve led to bigger things.
Jamie I’m so proud of you. That is fabulous. Of course you belong…and you proved it.
Leanne Ross ( readfaced.wordpress.com & @LeanneRossRF )
Love this! Sometimes it’s so hard to step out of your comfort zone, but I usually find it’s worth it.
Amazing news – and you’re so right. It’s a Jamie Ayres that the world needs not a copy of someone else (even if it is a copy of Sue Monk Kidd)
Congrats on the success! Such great news 🙂
Yay! Sounds like you had a wonderful day. 🙂
I did my first reader convention last weekend and I loved it. I was nervous too, but readers are just impossible people not to feel comfortable around. I mean someone who takes a Saturday to hang with writers? They are totally wonderful and wise to begin with!
You absolutely belong there. Just reading this post as you share your unique take on your experience is enough to show me that! Keep doing what you’re doing. The world can never have enough good writers.
That said, I know I would be a complete mess if faced with my writing idols! You did great. 🙂
It sounds like a great day and yes, of course, you deserved to be there:)
Have fun in Orlando!
How awesome for you! It’s a great experience and it gives me comfort. I will be at my publisher’s table for the Freak Fest in NJ in two weeks. Now, mind you, this is not my table and I won’t be there alone, but still it freaks me out to no end. What will I say when people come over to the table? Should I run back, hide under the table? But reading your post makes me feel like I can do it. Maybe. =)
Have fun in Orlando!
I feel so proud of you hearing this. You know how much I love your books so to hear that you got that much attention thrills me! You are absolutely as great as any other author, Jamie:-)