Meeting Leslea Newman

lesleaOn March 12, 2013, I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite authors.  Leslea Newman spoke at Women and Children First bookstore in Andersonville.  Newman is most well known for the children’s book Heather Has Two Mommies, but the book that got me hooked on her is Out of the Closet and Nothing to Wear.  I first read that humor book when I was 19 and a newly out lesbian. It’s remained one of my favorite books to this day, and no matter how many times I reread it my funny bone is still tickled.

I went to hear Leslea speak expecting to hear a funny, light-hearted monologue, but since she was promoting her newest book, October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepherd, the event was quite somber. October Mourning is a combo poetry/essay book about Matthew Shepherd’s death. She showed us a slide show and talked about her trip to speak at the University of Wyoming the day that Shepherd’s killers were arrested.  After the slide show she read from the book, which brought tears to my eyes. I cannot wait until I can buy a copy.

After the Q&A session (which was interesting but nothing sticks out enough to mention) I had a chance to meet Leslea. I’m embarrassed to admit that I sounded like a high school girl at a Jonas Brothers concert (Are they even still popular? I was going to originally say Hanson, but that really dates me.).  She signed my book (I had brought along a copy of Love Signs) “Poetry = Life;” I didn’t even realize what she wrote until the following day, after I had posted this picture of us and captioned it “Leslea Newman = AWESOME!!!!!” Of course now I believe we have a cosmic connection because of the equal sign. 🙂

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Meeting Sarah Dessen

sarahdessenOn April 19, 2013, I had the opportunity to meet Sarah Dessen during a promotional book tour.  Dessen’s latest book, “What Happened to Goodbye?” was recently released in paperback, and her next book, “The Moon and More,” comes out next month.  Dessen did a short reading from “The Moon and More,” then opened the floor to questions. I cannot remember what all was asked, and I’m sure what I do remember can be found on her website or elsewhere online, but I was pleased to learn that “This Lullaby” was one of her favorite books to write and that she had started to write a sequel but decided against it. “This Lullaby” is and has always been my favorite of her books, so when I got to talk to her I begged her to finish that sequel. I’m sure she won’t, but I have wanted to try my hand at fan fic, so there we go. I was also very excited when she pronounced my name correctly (Rachelle rhymes with Michelle, but I get called Rachel way too often) and told her so.  Yes, I am dorky, but whatever. I’ve been a fan of Dessen since I read, “Keeping the Moon” in 2003. It took me 10 years to finally meet one of my all-time favorite writers!