Well... There's a lot of that kind of thing that goes on at the SD Festival of Books. Seriously. During the two mass book signing times, there are people mobbing the tables to get to some of the authors. Authors with picture books (or even young adult books) are swamped by parents and children. Authors with huge fan bases are swamped by enough fans that volunteers have to do crowd control. Pretty much every author who was there had at least one or two overly excited fans. Which - I'm not going to lie - is kind of cool to see.
I went to the Festival with two authors in mind that I wanted to meet. One is a Native American author named Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, who went to college with my dad. We've had one of her books on our shelf for as long as I can remember, and I had Mom and Dad bring it with them the last time they came up here, so that I could take it with me and get it autographed. I was really happy to have the chance to meet her, and she was gracious and charming and pretty much exactly who I expected her to be.
I introduced myself to her on Friday afternoon, but didn't have the book with me. On Saturday, I not only was able to have her sign the book, but I also got to sit in on one of her presentations (about a book called Standing Bear of the Ponca, which she read from, making me wish that I could listen to her read pretty much anything) - and I got this picture with her:
|Seriously - I've heard about her forever. It's about time I met her!|
Before the festival, before I even signed up to be a volunteer, I saw that a woman named Sonia Manzano was going to be giving a talk on "Turning Reality into Fiction," which is something I'm interested in. I thought I'd want to go to her talk, so I flipped through the website to read up on the author. I was... well... "giddy" is probably the best word, really, when I realized that author Sonia Manzano is a multi-Emmy-award winning writer for Sesame Street, who also just happens to play the role of "Maria" on that show. (So... Yeah... I've been a fan of hers since I was about 3 or 4 years old. I just never knew her real name.)
I bought her latest book (The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano - a Young Adult novel) on Friday night and read it before I met her on Saturday, so that I'd be sure to have a common knowledge base for her talk. (There were some technical issues before her talk, but she was kind of "oh, well, if there's anything you can do..." about them - which, I admit, made me feel a little like I was disappointing a favorite aunt.) Then I saw her speak - she's an incredibly funny and engaging storyteller - and, later, had her autograph my copy of her book. Oh... And I also got this picture:
|An amazing storyteller - yes, I got Fanboy-ish about meeting her.|
In the middle of all of this, I was wandering around the exhibitors' hall, and was looking at all of the books the Barnes&Noble folks had for sale. I found a bunch of books by one of the authors I was going to be introducing, and was debating between them when the guy behind the counter started talking about one of them (Montana 1948). It turns out that it was one of his favorite books, and that he had just gotten his copy signed by the author earlier in the weekend. He told me that he felt he might have gotten a little overzealous when getting it signed, being a bit more Fanboy than he'd intended.
During the next book signing period - when I had gotten my copy of that book (which I bought at Barnes&Noble guy's recommendation) signed by the author, I mentioned that B&N guy had worried that he'd geeked out getting his copy signed. The author (Larry Watson), said that he hadn't noticed anyone getting too overzealous.
The next time I saw B&N guy, I told him that Larry hadn't really noticed - and I also explained my own Fanboy tendencies around the two authors I had geeked out about. I'm really hoping that Sonia and Virginia didn't really notice me Fanboying, either. Or at least that they'll be equally kind enough to deny it if they're asked.
Seriously, though, if you want to geek out around a bunch of authors, the South Dakota Festival of Books is a great place to do it. It's a fairly small event and - even so - there were 60+ authors there, all within "get an autograph and totally geek out" range.