I wish I were writing to tell you about my recent sit down with the New York Times Bestseller, but unfortunately I’m not. I don’t get the chance to rub elbows with celebrities that much. Still, I am going to share a story about him that has stuck with me until this very day.
Fifteen years ago, when I was just starting out in my writing journey, I attended the Book Lover’s Convention in Chicago. I had a great time and was overwhelmed with the opportunity to meet and greet so many seasoned and new authors and writers. If you’ve ever been, you know it includes standing in long lines to say “hello” to authors and celebrities and possibly request that they sign for you their latest books. It’s a lot of fun. But the lines are long and they really don’t have that much time to chat.
Enter James Patterson.
He was at his table signing books and greeting his fans, and when I moved further up in line, I saw that he was also taking a few moments to ask the attendee questions and was thoughtfully listening to their responses. Most in line just shared a word or two and moved on. Of course, I too wanted to be very respectful of his time and planned to ask for his signature, tell him that I appreciated his works and then let him be. After all, he had a long line of fans.
But what surprised me was his reaction to my response when he asked what brought me to the conference. I’d replied that I was an avid reader and a beginning writer. To this he said, what do you write? Again, I shared my passion for writing books for younger readers but have also dabbled in the adult and non-fiction. He gave me some great advice: Keep writing and don’t ever stop!
Well, that was enough to keep me writing (not that I would have quit anyway, but wow, what inspiration).
The story gets better. Later on that day, he flagged me down and asked me more about my work and was very kind in his responses and gentle mentoring. I’m going to say that this is such a highlight of my writing journey. He’s a really great guy and such a truly genuine person. I love it when people who have reached the pinnacle of their game are still human enough to support those who are still climbing.
It goes to show you that we are all in this together. Books are something that build us up, show us the way, level us, bring us together and of course, give us joy.
With that being said, I recount this message often and ask you to do the same. Keep writing (and reading) and don’t ever stop! Thanks, Mr. Patterson!