I’ve been told many times “If you have an opportunity to meet a writer, take it!” So, after reading in the paper about a book signing at a local bookstore, I decided to follow that piece of advice. On a blazing hot Saturday afternoon, I ventured to the Barnes & Noble in Sarasota (one of my favorite study places back in college!) to attend the book signing event by Stephanie Kate Strohm. When I read about her book-signing event in the paper, it mentioned that she was originally from Connecticut, but currently resides in NYC. First, I give her credit for being able to live in the Big Apple because I sure couldn’t! The article also mentioned that she had experience in theatre as well as living in Sarasota. I thought that it would be great to meet another writer; I follow many on Twitter. Moreover, it was the first time I’d ever attended a book-signing event by an author. Seeing as I’m writing my first novel, it’s always great to find out how these writers got started and where they get their ideas. Every writer starts from somewhere.
Although the book-signing event was a great opportunity, I had to sacrifice fishing and spending time with friends for a day. Actually, I was somewhat embarrassed to tell my friends about my plans, mostly because I didn’t want them to know exactly why I was going. I try not to tell my little circle of friends too about my writing; I even have trouble answering their “What’s your book about?” questions. In the end, the sacrifices were well worth it. I arrived at the Barnes & Noble in the afternoon and Stephanie, who had plenty of copies of her new book Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink. Before she made her presentation to a small group of attendees, I introduced myself and told her about my writing ambitions. She was very nice and the first thing she said was “Congratulations!” She was referring to me actually writing a book, because she felt that was one of the hardest things to do – start writing a book. When it came time to hear her presentation, I was shocked at some of the things she had to say. Firstly, she mentioned that she wrote her book in 12 days. I thought ‘204 pages in 12 days! That’s incredible!’ I’ve been working on my book for four months and I’m only at page 84. Of course, she said that she spent the next few years editing it, as well as marketing and publishing. Another thing that struck me was that she said that she had never written a book before. In fact, when she had finished the book she Googled “How to publish a book” since she had no idea how to publish it otherwise. I commend her a lot for that and it shows that any newbie writer can be a published author. She mentioned that her book was rejected 10 times before it was accepted the 11th time. I’ve met plenty of writers who’ve been rejected hundreds of times, some of which are still seeking a publisher. She went on to read an excerpt from her book, and she read the dialogue just as her characters sound. I instantly saw her acting abilities come alive and projected her character’s voices perfectly. During the Q and A part, I asked her about her publishing process and learned a great deal from it. In the end, I bought her book after she had signed it. Since I’m writing in the YA genre, I always find reading related books is great research.
I do hope that Ms. Strohm is successful as an author and continues to write more. She said that she would be writing sequels to Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink. She is also an inspiration to new writers. Her book is geared for readers 12 and up, and it would be a good read for those wanting to reminisce about summer experiences when school comes around. The book does take place over a summer period. If you want to find out more about the book, I recommend visiting Ms. Strohm’s website at www.stephaniekatestrohm.com Good luck Stephanie!