So last Thursday, I went to go see Lauren Myracle in person because she was in the area and we've been chatting on and off for about 3 years now (starting around the time How to Be Bad came out). I have loved Lauren and her books ever since I bought TTYL as a hardcover back in 2004/5 as a freshman in college. I was amazed that she told the story completely through instant messaging. So it was huge that a few years after that, I was exchanging emails with her and now finally, we've gotten to meet!
Side note: When I arrived at the library, the whole parking lot was metered (meaning there were meters you had to put a quarter or two into for three hours of parking). I had no change, but I came at JUST the right time. There's library employee parking there which is not metered (obviously) and there's a No Parking sign at each of those spots, but there's also a timeline. You can't park in those spots from 8am-6pm. I checked my cell phone and it was 5:58pm. JACKPOT! I went back to my car and parked in a non-metered spot. YAY! I BEAT THE SYSTEM!
I arrived at the event early and also hungry as there was nowhere really to eat around the area (like no McDs or Burger King- cheapie fast food). I found a chair to sit in at the library and read a bit before going to find the event. I was the first one there and was immediately asked if I knew anything about technology. The reason for this was because they couldn't get connected to the internet to show off the Shine trailer, which Lauren really wanted to show. Lauren actually also private messaged me on Twitter a few hours before the event and asked if I could bring a laptop or PC, but I was already on the road by then and couldn't access Twitter. The trailer was not shown, so Lauren urged people to go find it on Youtube after the event.
I read a bit more until the event started and as soon as Lauren got to the front, she saw me, pointed, and said "Are you James?" I said yes and she said hi then told everyone in the room to say hi to me, and then talked about my blog for a minute. I blushed and was also regretting not bringing my business cards (it turned out to be okay because no one asked me about my blog, lol). After that, she talked about the book, read a passage (then had her uncle (?) and aunt each read a passage; the aunt's passage had to stop early because Lauren had forgotten about some risque sentences in the middle of it- pages if you're curious, lol), and answered some questions from the audience. It was fairly well-attended, about 20 people or so.
During her talk and QnA, Lauren would occasionally ask me questions, like if I thought Shine had a hopeful ending (which it does). At one point, when talking about censorship and the things she gets complaints about, she said that there was a parent out there who had been upset and offended that tampons had been brought up in one of her books. Lauren then looked at me and asked "James, are you offended by tampons?" I laughed and said no, because who can be offended by tampons? What did they ever do to you? Then an older lady who was sitting a few chairs away from me asked "Does he even know what a tampon is?" We all laughed about that and I said that yes, I did know what a tampon was. My roommate/best friend is a girl, I have an older sister, and a lot of my friends over the years have been girls. It's hard to get away from that, lol.
About an hour after the event had started, the signing commenced. I was toward the end of the line because I wanted to spend some time chatting with Lauren but we didn't get to chat too much because there was still a couple people behind me and her escort was showing up in 15 minutes to pick her up. But we did get to hug, have a picture taken (thank you Lauren's aunt Pat!), and chat for a few minutes while she signed my TTYL hardcover (I would've brought Shine but I got sent a signed ARC from the publisher). Then I walked to my car and went home. It was an AWESOME evening! Lauren is a wonderful, funny speaker and I hope that next time we meet, we'll have more time to hang out and chat.
Be sure to come back tomorrow for an interview with Lauren!
Pic 1- Lauren and myself!
Pic 2- Lauren with her Uncle Jerry and Aunt Pat- isn't Lauren's dress so pretty?! I loved it.