Saturday, May 14, 2011

Adventures: The Day I Met Sarah Dessen

Dear Blogosphere,
Thursday night was amazing (apart from the whole James Durbin thing). I met my favorite author ever, Sarah Dessen, at my local Tattered Cover and it was truly magical. Here's my story: "Close Encounter of the Dessen Kind." Boom. I am clever.
Here it is, folks.

Let's go back to last weekend. My mom and I were buying a book for my dad's birthday (which happened to be mother's day, as well), when I saw it: a display of Sarah Dessen books with a sign that told me she would be at that Tattered Cover on Thursday at 7 pm. I immediately knew I must go.

Fast forward to Thursday, and my mom and I went to Tattered Cover at 6:30. I thought we'd be early, but we were some of the last few to arrive. Shocking. I went and bought her new book, "What Happened to Goodbye." It looks fantastic.

Then, at 7, Sarah comes out in front of all of these admiring fans. I was really excited. Sarah goes up to the podium (chyeah, she had a podium), and read the beginning of her new book. She said, "The best part of reading the beginning of a book is that you don't have to explain anything." Oh Sarah, you're wonderful.
After reading part of this book, she started taking questions. (Before this event, I had been thinking up questions, and I had one about names that I wanted to ask but I was hesitant.) So when she said this, I turned to my mom and asked her if I should ask my question, she said yes.
I didn't get the first question though. Lame. The first question was, "Who were your favorite characters you ever wrote? Boy and girl?"
Sarah answered something along these lines: "I love all of my characters. They all become like people to me. For girls, probably Remy from "This Lullaby" because she's the least like me [at this point, I turned to my mom and squealed, yes squealed, and told her Remy is my favorite]. And for boys, I love Dexter and Wes, and I know they're popular among readers. So is Owen, though, and I love him, too." Yay! She went on for awhile longer, but those are the main points I remember.

After she answered that question, she said, "Anymore questions?" I took a breath and raised my hand. When she called on me, I said something along these lines (what I actually said may or may not have been coerent): "Dearest Sarah, what excellent choices. Remy and Dexter were also my favorites of all your wonderful characters. But my question is, how do you choose names for your characters? Because I love all the names you have chosen, and I have often pondered why you chose such beautiful names." (This was probably exactly what I said.)
Sarah's answer was pretty much something like this: "Wow, what a great question [she actually said this]. I get inspiration for names everywhere. And usually I get the name first and then create a character around the name [I turned to my mom and excitedly said, "Me too!"]. Like once I read in Us Weekly that that guy from ER, Noah Wyle, named his daughter Auden. I loved it! So then I thought, 'What kind of person would Auden be?' 'Who would name their daughter Auden? An English professor.' Then for Dexter, in college I knew a guy named Dexter Roadhouse (or something like that) who was a musician, and when I was looking for the perfect name for a musician, I immediately thought of the Dexter I knew. So he has a character named after him, and he doesn't even know it." She took a few more minutes to answer my question, and I'm pretty sure she thought I was awesome.

The only other question I can remember is someone asked if she had a lot of input in the movie "How to Deal," which was based off of her first two books "That Summer" and "Someone Like You." Mandy Moore starred in the movie, and Sarah Dessen said that it's because of Mandy that she has a bunch of stuff and sales. Then she went on to say that she's practically obsessed with Mandy Moore, and that it might creep her out a bit. Then my mom turned to me and said, "When you go up to Sarah, say, 'Mandy is to You, as You are to Me.'" Oh, how hilarious.

Also, Sarah Dessen mentioned American Idol twice. Could it be any more perfect that she's my favorite author? I think not.

Then the lady at Tattered Cover announced it was time to get in line to have Sarah sign our books. We were numbers 56 and 57 out of 60-something. So when I finally got up there, the conversation went a little something like this...
Me: "Your shoes are so cute!"
Mom: "Yeah, they're really cute."
Sarah: "Oh, thanks. I tried them on Nordstrom's but they didn't have them in my size. So when I got to my car I ordered them on my iPad from Zappos."
Mom: "That sounds like something I would do."
Sarah: "Oh and I really like your necklace! Who made it?"
Me: "My neighbor."
Sarah: "That's cool! I have one like that made by Ellen A-something or other. It has my daughter's initials, SCR."
Me: "Sasha Clementine." (oh gosh, I was a little embarrassed I said it so quickly, too.)
Sarah: "Yeah!"
Me: "I just love her name."
Sarah: "Oh, thank you."
Me: "Oh yeah, Sarah, there's something I want to tell you. Your books are what inspired me to start writing."
Sarah: "Oh that's great! What do you write? Short stories, novels?"
Me: "Well, I write novels. But it's gotten so hard to with school getting in the way."
Mom: "Yeah, but now that school is almost out, she'll have time to write again."
Sarah: "That's great! I'm actually writing another book right now, but this [book tour] is great, because sometimes taking a break is good to then come back to it. Oh, and thank you! It means a lot to hear that."
Me: "Oh gosh, no, thank you!"

Then my mom took this lovely picture of me and Sarah Dessen. We thanked her and left.
I'm pretty much thinking this was the best day ever.

It was a magical day, I tell you. Truly magical. Go read her books! I love Sarah Dessen, and you will too!

Tomorrow (or Monday, we shall see), I'm going to do a post on names from Dessen's books. Stay tuned!

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