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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

What Authors Look Like

I can't be the only writer who has wondered what authors look like, right? Real authors. The ones who have published books. Who get paid money to write. Those ones. I've seen some aspiring writers at local writing groups and the like, but I mean real ones.

Well I took my six year old son to the library in town on Saturday for what I thought was a used book sale. To my surprise we discovered we were at the St. Charles Literature Festival, (can't find a webpage for it, but here's a newspaper thing.) There was a book sale, but not a used one. The books for sale were fancy and new. And as you left the sale room, you entered wonderland, also known as the regular youth services department of the library, festooned with author placards and loads of people milling about (the greeter told us that she had clicked more than 500 times that morning on her hand clicker counter thingy. A technical term if I've ever seen one.)

Some observations about authors, at least this particular group of children's and young adult authors:
- Most wore glasses
- Most men had very little hair, neatly trimmed very short
- Illustrators are awesome. They draw tiny pictures for your kids when signing their books.
- Most were not young. I've reached an age at which I no longer speculate details on any individual, but I'd put the average age of the authors at high 40s, maybe even low 50s.
- Even after 2 hours of signing books (for 500 people!) the authors were gracious and kind to me and my son.
- Caldecott winners look just like regular people. Or at least like regular authors. (If you're dying to know who - there may have been others, but we met the illustrator/author of this book - which is one of our family favorites.)

Neat event, good time. Check to see if your town has a literature fest. Volunteer to work with the youth writers' workshops or do children's storytimes. Mill about to get the writing vibe. People watch. Just do it.

Karen Smith aka KayTi
Semi-retired from technology consulting and educational software design/development while the wee folk are wee. Reading, writing, and blogging in my spare time between carpools and playdates. Flash Fiction Online slush reader. Coupon clipper. Vegetarian eater. Global warming worrier. Lifelong learner.

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