Yeah....I heard that one recently, I was doing a drop off of books at the local book store and I had to bite my tongue. I had several snarky comebacks but I held them as she asked, "why does it take so long for my favorite author to get the next book out? I mean, how complicated can it be?" So, at this point, my son left the immediate area and took several people with him, I heard him mutter something about not being a witness. Chicken. I found a good spot to perch and asked what she wrote and she laughed and gave a wave of her hand as she said "Oh, I barely get a grocery list scribbled down." There was definitely not enough coffee in me that day to not sound.....cranky. Yep. We'll go go with that, but in reality, the word is closer to witchy.
I rolled my eyes and made some inane wise crack and explained the process. First we have to come up with a basic premise, what will the book be about? Then we have to create our characters and naming them is nearly as bad as naming your own kids and it went on from there. By the time I got to the end she had this look on her face that would be perfect for having been served a bug salad. She shuffled away, her Nicholas Sparks book clutched tightly to her, glancing back over her shoulder at the door like I was going to chase her down. I wouldn't chase anyone over the age of 3 if there was a million dollars up for grabs.
The entire time this older teen had been listening and he wandered up and asked why I wrote if it was such a crap shoot. I noticed the music book in his back pack and asked him what his world would be like without music. I got a horrified look at first, slowly the connection was made and he started to smile. "So it would be like not breathing?" We sat and talked about books and writing and music for the next 90 minutes, every now and then, someone else would join in on the discussion. His girl friend asked how I came up with the characters and wanted to know if they were like anyone I knew in the real world. I laid out the vampires- they are exactly opposite of everything Hollywood and that sparkle woman ever put on paper and that it was done on purpose and why, and how in Rebel Child, several of those characters were straight from my life and in The Secret in the Abbey, my grands were characters. She nodded and asked some great questions- about writing, schools, etc. I see a future member in her.
When the mom/taxi driver for the kids appeared I signed her book and we joked a bit and as they walked out the door she looked over and said, "I envy you. I have things I always thought I'd do one day...but I'm too chicken." She's on the sheriff's dept. and she's afraid, I was surprised. She followed it with, "But I love the fact that you can just write in someone from life and kill them off and its all legal." More one liners were traded as we worked our way to the parking lot. I asked what was one thing on that list that she really wanted more than the others, she said it was to learn how to play piano. I gave her my old music teacher's name and phone number and told her to do it. For a whole bunch of reasons, but just do it.
Today I ran into her, she had a basic piano book in her bag. We chatted and her younger child was doing the antsy one foot wiggle-hop thing, as they walked away I heard her ask her mom, "who was that lady?" and the answer was, "she wrote the book I'm reading" and the kid came back with "Is she like a real author? with real books? Or just a writer." Mom ruffled her hair and said, "If I have her book I'd say they were real...yeah? And she's the one who gave me Mrs. B's name and number." The girl glanced back and said, "so it's her fault we have burnt casseroles on Thursdays?"
My teens would have been proud of the eye roll....maybe I'll hook her up with JC's cookbook when it's done.