Growing up around Saratoga Springs, New York I had the benefit of attending the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College. Now a D.C.-area resident I've had the opportunity to frequent the National Book Festival. I've heard everyone from Joyce Carol Oates to Ann Beattie, from John Irving to Nicholas Sparks.
There's just something so magical about hearing an author read their work, discuss their inspirations, and explain their writing habits/schedules/exercises. So to say the bar has been set high is probably an understatement...but I LOVE Jennifer Weiner's books so she must be fabulous, right? I mean this is. THE. JENNIFER. WEINER. But on the three-State drive* over I got to thinking, just who is Jennifer Weiner?
My insatiable appetite for celebrity gossip means I often have predisposed ideas of everyone from the Hilton sisters to Ali the Bachelorette and know random information like everyone who got married over the last week (ahem, Carrie Underwood, Emily Blunt, Pennelope Cruz, Martin Lawrence, Megan Fox...you get the idea). Authors, however, are completely different. I mean this is fiction, people! So while I was a bit like the paparazzi trying to take photographs of Jennifer Weiner, I didn't know much about her going in. I suspected she was funny, witty, wonderful but I knew nothing for certain except that I admired her work.
Let me tell you that I was NOT disappointed in the least. She was, or rather, is AMAZING. She's hilarious and humble and has that quality about her where you just want to be friends with her because she seems so genuine, fun, and completely honest. Her advice to writers (some of which can be found here) was refreshing and encouraging. And I left with a sense that some of the real Jennifer Weiner comes out in her novels and it's all the good stuff that I love so much about them.
If you have the opportunity to check out Jennifer on her book tour, you must RUN not walk there and grab a seat early. When I arrived, the room was already packed full with fans and lots of estrogen. The experience on the whole was great fun. While I waited for my number to be called to get some books signed, I overheard discussions from other enthusiasts regarding their favorite characters that Jennifer has created and what specifically has spoken to them. It's the kind of thing I hope, and I think most writers hope, people will some day discuss about our work.
For a play-by-play the evening went a little something like this:
Jennifer Weiner answering questions from fans.
While I was a little more something like this...
On the whole, I managed to play it cool and not projectile fan-girl myself across the room at Jennifer. I do, of course, have the goofy look of someone who's just met their favorite rock star because, to me, I just had.
Obviously this calls for a celebration so I'm offering another contest! This one is a little different. It's effective now until I hit 50 followers. (That's right; I dream big, LOL.) Here's what you'll win:
Rules are as follows:
1. Be a follower of my blog.
2. Send me an email by clicking on my photo (under followers) and write "Jennifer Weiner contest" in the subject line to enter.
3. Extra points (ie. your name is entered again) for every friend you refer. To ensure I know when this happens, they must include your name in the body of their email entry.
4. Extra point if you post the contest on Facebook or Twitter. (So I know, include the link to your post feed in your email to me.)
5. Extra point if in your email you tell me something you wish I'd cover in a blog post.
6. Once I hit 50 followers I'll draw a winner. The winner will be announced on this blog and emailed a notice as well as mailed a copy of the brand new, hardcover, signed copy of Jennifer Weiner's must-read book!
*No, that's not a typo. I work in downtown D.C. and commuted back home to Southern MD to let my dogs out before then braving more rush hour traffic to drive to Northern VA where THE JENNIFER WEINER would be. Yeah, I got it bad but is was sooooo worth it!