Friends, Authors, and Acquaintances

I was perusing my fabulous bookshelves the other day, and it occurred to me that I have an odd and interesting collection of books by people that I know personally or have met in person. I haven’t been to many book signings; they’re not really my thing, but I have a good pile of books, many signed, that I obtained through various means, from people that I know or have met in various ways. I thought I’d do a little rundown.

First, here are the books:

From top to bottom and right to left, here we go:

DARK INSIDE by Jeyn Roberts. Jeyn and I were in a class together at the University of BC. DARK INSIDE is her super scary first novel. It came out last year.

HILDEGARDE by ME! Published in 2002 by Harper Collins Australia. Now out of print I think. I’d love to publish it again here in Canada and in the USA.

MUD GIRL by Alison Acheson. Alison was the teacher of the class I did with Jeyn. She is such a good teacher, I dedicated my rant against crap teachers to her (It’s better than it sounds).

A whole bunch of books written or edited by Richard Dawkins, who I met at an atheist conference in DC. One of the coolest scenes I’ve ever experienced.

BREAKING THE SPELL by Daniel Dennett. met him at the conference too. Like a cross between Santa Claus and Galileo.

NOMAD by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Same conference. Seriously, the line up was to die for.

THE TIME TRILOGY by Madeleine l’Engle. Met her at a book signing for MANY WATERS in Toronto.

CAT’S EYE by Margaret Atwood. She was giving a talk at The St Lawrence Center in Toronto. I went up to talk to her (in my usher’s uniform). What I planned to say: Something brilliant, flattering and pithy. What she said before I opened my mouth: “WHERE’S MY COAT?”. What I said: *runs away*

STORY by Robert McKee. I went to one of his famous workshops in Sydney Australia. Best weekend. He’s an inspiration.

THE WRITING EXPERIMENT by Hazel Smith. Hazel was one of my English profs at the University of NSW. One of my poems is included in this book. She introduced me to the word “Juxtaposition” which I use in about half my books.

ENGAGEMENT, by Paul Keating. He was, if you didn’t know, Prime Minister of Australia in the 1990s. He was chummy with my husband for a while. I never read political non-fiction as a rule, but I rather liked this book. Awesome dude.

GOD IS NOT GREAT by Christopher Hitchens. Same atheist conference. He was brilliant and terrifically sexy. RIP Hitch 😦

MANY WATERS, by Madeleine L’Engle. See above. Also see hilarious review on Forever Young Adult.

CATCHING FIRE and MOCKINGJAY, by Suzanne Collins. Garden variety book signing, nothing too impressive, but I loved that when I said to her “I can’t wait to see what you’ll do next,” she replied “me neither”.

WITH NAILS by Richard E Grant. Richard was in Hildegarde. I met him on the set. He was very nice to me, though possible slightly less so to some of the other cast and crew, from what I was told.

40 DAYS AND 40 NIGHTS, by Matthew Chapman, a screenwriter and director and the great grandson of Charles Darwin. Guess where? Atheist conference.

INFIDEL, Ayaan Hirsi Ali again.

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, Richard Dawkins again.

DARWIN’S DANGEROUS IDEA, Daniel Dennett, again.

ROCKS IN MY HEAD, by Don Watson, my uncle.

SOULSAVER, by James Stevens-Arce. I met James in a VERY early chat room (around 1996?). We’ve never met in person, but chatted nearly every day for years.

THE PORTABLE ATHEIST edited by Christopher Hitchens

THE MORAL LANDSCAPE by Sam Harris – yep, atheist conference. This was possibly the first time the “Four Horsemen” had appeared all together. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

THE SELFISH GENE by Richard Dawkins, one of his first books, and the source of the term “meme”.

Compared to one of my blogger friends, who reviews books at, is a signed book fanatic and also gets ARCs up the wazoo, my pile is slightly pathetic. But I think there are some fun stories about meeting and/or knowing authors there.

What are YOUR author meeting stories?

10 thoughts on “Friends, Authors, and Acquaintances

  1. I’ve only gone to two book signings where I met the authors and got my books signed. One was with Carrie Ryan, the other was with a group of authors including Veronica Roth. She signed my copy of DIVERGENT saying “Be brave”. It was nice 🙂

  2. Great post, must do something similar. I too have met Margaret Atwood, twice. I also planned to say something memorable, but only mumbled something mundane. Oh well, I have 2 of her books, signed, and told my daughter they are the only thing of any worth she will be getting when I am gone. (She is happy with that) The most gracious authors I have met, who signed copies of their books for me, are Jane Goodall and Alexander McCall Smith.

    1. I’ve never met Jane Goodall, but I would love too. She’s a genuine goddess. Christopher Hitchens was lovely, really a great guy, a genuine tortured knight, defender of reason and dignity. One day a bad boy YA character I write will come off very similar to him.

      1. Jane was amazing, she wrote in my book, “Darlene, follow your heart.” It meant so much to me. It’s great you have a modal for a future character!

  3. Wow, I love your Margaret Atwood story. Funny. Cat’s Eye is one of my favorites by her. I sort of met Tom Robbins at a writing conference this summer. He licked his finger and handed me a copy of his 10 writing tips for teens. I thanked him and said I had a teenage son, then I ran away ‘cuz it was all too much for me. He was really funny at the conference and nice to a guy that raised his hand and asked Tom if he would read the manuscript he had in his backpack.

  4. Dennett is interesting reading as is Dawkins. I’ve read a lot of theoretical physics. Also, I would love to attend a McKee conference!!!
    Which authors have I met? Lots, as I live in NYC and go to readings. I love and adore Dale Peck (What We Lost, Sprout, Body Surfing), who is an amazing writer, and also was my thesis advisor. I’ve taken a class with Abigail Thomas (A Three Dog Life). I also took an MFA class with Steven Wright (not the comedian). His books: Meditation in Green, The Amalgamation Polka. I would sit and drink in his winding, impassioned rants, and it would fuel me up for days of writing.

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