My Inspiration

Yesterday afternoon I finally got to do something I’ve always dreamed of – I met my favorite author, Sarah Dessen.

Since I was a youngin’ I’ve always been an avid a reader and a collector of the books I loved most.  And Sarah Dessen is a part of that.

The first book I ever read by her was Dreamland, and the rest, as they say, was history.  I picked it up and fell in love.  I was touched, changed by her writing.  Fast forward a good 10 years and now I own every book she has out.

Sarah Dessen didn’t just fan the fire under my love of reading – she also inspired me to become a writer myself.  Since I finished that first book I’ve wanted to write something that touches someone, even just one person, the way her book touched me.

When I found out Sarah was going to be at Eight Cousins Book Store down the Cape for her book tour, I knew I had to be there.  I requested the day off from work, asked a few friends (fellow book lovers) if they wanted to come, and offered to take my 12 (almost 13) year-old cousin, who has just started liking books (yay!), if she wanted to come as well.

So my friend Leane, my cousin Ainslee, and I took a drive out to Falmouth.  The book store was already starting to fill up when we got there, and we joined the eager crowd in the wait for Sarah.  I was so nervous/excited/anxious/happy.

She came in by the front door, as casual as anything.  I remember the girl beside us saying she was surprised to see her already – she thought Sarah would sneak in through the backdoor.

Sarah started the event off with a quick reading from her new book, The Moon and More (can’t wait to dig into it) and then took questions.

Sarah answering questions.

One little girl asked her what her favorite color was (Carolina blue, aka baby blue, if you were wondering).  Dessen also answered questions on her writing process, how she knew she wanted to be a writer, and how she decided what characters from her old books would show up in the new ones.

And then the signing began.

Trying to form an orderly line was probably the toughest part, since Eight Cousins is a pretty small (but cute) venue.  But everyone was friendly and on their best behavior and soon the line was formed and moving along inch by inch.

My cousin Ainslee went before us (I was mature and didn’t trample her down to get to my books signed first).  Sarah told her that her name was pretty and very southern.

Ainslee and Sarah!

And then it was my turn.  I had bought a copy of The Moon and More earlier and also brought my well-read, worn copy of my favorite book, This Lullaby, for her to sign.

For days and for the entire drive to the Cape I had been thinking about what I wanted to say when it was my turn to meet Sarah.  I had it all planned out.  And when I got to sit down next to Sarah as she signed my book, it all flew out of my head.  I had no idea what to say or what to do with myself.  I was so nervous!  I thought I was going to explode and fan-girl all over her.  Though I did manage to get out a sentence about how long I’ve been reading her books, and that she’s the reason I ever thought about becoming a writer (which she told me is the best compliment I could give her).

Me and Sarah!

Leane went next and I snapped a picture of her and Sarah before we all headed outside to the back of the store to sign t-shirts for Sarah and her daughter (yay, arts and crafts! Sort of).

Leane and Sarah!

Shirt table and the very nice girl who manned it.

It was a great day and I cannot be happier that I got to meet my inspiration, Sarah Dessen.


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