“Dancing through life
Swaying and sweeping
And always keeping cool…”
~Wicked, “Dancing Through Life”
I was all set to use a quote of Allison’s for this entry (after all, what could be more fitting?), but I changed it to this lyric from Wicked at the last minute. That’s not only because I saw the show on Thursday night and absolutely LOVED it (seriously, I cannot say enough about it – the stage, the sets, the costumes, the performances, the music, the story — TOTALLY blown away by it all!!), but also because I think this lyric so encapsulates an important part of what Allison is about as a writer. I know I’ve talked a lot in my entries about how the quest for publication can often be a long and trying one. There are ups, but there are also downs; there are moments of jubilation, but also moments of disappointment. It’s easy to get discouraged (I know, I’ve been there), and it’s precisely at those times that you need to pick yourself up again and keep pushing on. And dance. Somewhere in there, you have to take a second to keep your cool and dance through whatever’s happened. You need to dance through life.
Allison’s been encouraging writers to do just that. Her blog is easily one of the best and most comprehensive resources for aspiring authors, and it’s been absolutely invaluable. Not only is she wonderfully open and honest about her own writing process and the work she does, but she makes herself available to answer any and all questions that are emailed in. I have no idea how she manages to maintain the blog on top of working on her novels and the celebrity profiles she does, but I’m certainly grateful. She’s been such an inspiration when it comes to both writing and persevering through the whole journey, and I’ve been looking forward to meeting her ever since she first mentioned the NYC reading/signing for her new book The One That I Want. Speaking of which – go buy it! Allison’s an incredibly talented author who has a wonderful propensity for writing novels which resound far beyond the last page. Her books make you think about your own life – what would you do if faced with the same questions as her characters? Allison’s novels have heart and soul, and I know this newest one will be another great success for her.
Okay, on to the signing before this entry turns into a novel of its own.
I think if there’s one word I’d choose to describe Allison, it’s appreciative. Or maybe genuine. One of the two, because both just seemed to emanate from her from the instant she walked into Borders (with her adorable family in tow!). You can tell how sincerely thankful she is for the opportunities she has and how grateful she is to the readers for their support. I believe ‘indebted’ is the word she used, and it just really struck me all throughout her reading and Q&A how much of a dream come true this whole thing is for her. She may be a professional with three published novels and the title of New York Times bestselling author, but you can just see that she doesn’t take anything for granted. She started the event with a thank you speech and then segued into reading a passage from the book (which was great, except it made me want to open it to the first page and dive in right there!). Next up was a Q&A, and even though I already knew the answers to most of the questions asked since she’s always so prolific on her blog about similar topics, it was still fun to listen.
I had told Allison ahead of time that I was coming to the signing, so I decided to hang back toward the end of the line in the hope that we’d have time to really chat. I was thrilled when that turned out to be the case! She knew who I was right away, and it definitely meant a lot that she was excited to meet me! She said something along those lines and thanked me for coming all the way from PA, and then we talked for awhile about writing, persistence, and her blog. I was so happy to thank her in person for all she does for aspiring authors and for personally being such an inspiration to me, and the look of appreciativeness on her face is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. She seemed so genuinely touched, and I lost track of the number of times she thanked me. Knowing that I was able to “give back” in a way after all she’s done was something very special. She asked me where in the writing/submitting process I am, so I told her about the partial manuscript requests I’ve gotten thus far and she exclaimed “that’s WONDERFUL!” Having such a similar reaction from two NY Times bestselling authors? Priceless. It gives me the determination to keep pushing on until I can get that request for a full.
We ended up chatting about American Idol after that since she’s a big fan, too. She had predicted Lee as the winner from the Top 24 show, and she said she had done the same thing with Kris Allen last year. Idol sixth sense, maybe? She gave me a really good laugh, too, because she said she was so bitter over Clay not winning that she stopped watching when it got to season three and didn’t start again until season seven. I don’t know if I could have willpower like that ;-) She somehow managed to sign my book while we were talking, barely even looking down … at which point I got a clarification on one of the words. We took a picture and chatted some more, and then she said “please email me if I can ever be of any assistance.” Cue me trying not to fall off the stage in surprise. I mean, I knew how sincere and kind she is, and it’s abundantly clear how much she does to help out new and aspiring authors in any way she can, but that was definitely far and beyond the call of duty (and seriously – I emailed her a thank you last night and she already answered!). So, so sweet of her. She chatted with my mom for a bit, too, and told her how honored she was when I told her a month earlier that I planned on coming to the event. She seemed so truly touched, it made me smile.
Allison may be a bestselling author. She may be a celebrity interviewer. She may be an incredibly talented writer. But those aren’t the only things that define her. She’s a wonderful, sincere, kind person who I admire not only as an author, but also as a person. She deserves every success that’s come her way and then some. Her words of support and encouragement will continue to be an inspiration as I work through this process, her book right here by my writing desk as motivation.
Dancing through life? Taking time to enjoy these special memories? Music to my ears.