In Which I Meet One of My Very Favorite Authors

Aug 22, 2012

It was the summer of 2006, and I had just finished a busy and stressful spring term at BYU. (A little redundant since I didn't have a semester that wasn't busy and's in my personality to make all productivity stressful.) I was looking for some blissful rest and relaxation.

One day I was talking to my dear friend, Rachel (who also happens to be Mike's cousin), and she couldn't stop raving about her new favorite book, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. The thought suddenly occurred to me, Hey, in my life before school, I used to like to read! And so I decided to pick it up. (And Rachel generously loaned me her copy, which I found out later was the ultimate bestowal of trust since she keeps her books in mint condition. She later got that copy signed and told me that she would never loan it out ever again.)

Reading The Goose Girl was the best experience I had had with books in a long time. I read it out loud to Mike, and I can remember literally squealing in anticipation when we got to the climax. (Mike, in case you were wondering, did NOT squeal...but he did laugh at me.)

And that is how I fell in love with Shannon Hale.

Now, six years later and having read practically everything written by her, you can imagine my excitement when I saw that she would be at The King's English with her brand-new book, Palace of Stone, the sequel to Princess Academy. I persuaded my good friend, Holli, to come with me, and it was, to wax a bit cheesy, everything I could have hoped for.

I have never heard Shannon Hale speak before, but I am an avid reader of her blog (and of course, her books), and so I was hoping she'd be as entertaining and personable in real life, and she was. Her editor spoke with her for part of the time, and they complemented each other very well. (And as a side note, as I listened to Shannon talk about writing, I didn't feel the desire to become a writer, but as I listened to Victoria, the editor, speak, I thought that maybe, in another life, I would have liked to do some editing.)

After they finished speaking (or rather, were told to stop speaking...I think they and the audience could have kept going for hours), Shannon signed copies of her books. Even standing in line was fun because I had a friend to talk to and new books to browse through. So yes, all in all, a very fun night out.

And in case you want a little more, these were some of my first impressions of Shannon Hale in real life: She is funny and witty with great comedic timing; she is mindful of her audience; she knows how to put a person at ease;  I would love to have her as a friend; she doesn't brush aside questions that she's probably had hundreds of times (i.e., questions about publishing and her writing process); she tries to make a personal connection with each person she meets (much to the frustration of The King's English employees who tried in vain to move along the signing line); her love of writing and telling stories is obvious and real; she is kind and sincere (I especially noticed the extra-special attention she paid to the 8-14-year-old crowd. They'll remember that forever.); she is humble and seems genuinely grateful for every one of her readers.

And as photographic proof of my star-struck evening:

A little blurry, but perfect just the same. 
(Now just imagine a King's English employee glaring at me from the side at this uncalled for holdup to the line.)


  1. I cannot believe there was a Shannon Hale book signing and you didn't tell me about it! i have every one of her books. Sniff. And I thought we were friends...

  2. Amy, the sheer fact that this blog exists proves you are already a writer. Writers write. Writers write no matter whether or where they get published or paid. So you can check that unwanted career option off the list.

  3. That is toooo cool. I've only read one of her books but I loved it.
    What an awesome experience.
    And thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. I also really enjoy Shannon Hale. I had read goose girl, enna burning and princess and academy when I got to go to a Reading Conference for Teachers. The school paid for the conference, but I paid out the money for the luncheon where I got to listen to Shannon Hale talk (read: entertain) all of us teachers. Couldn't agree more with your impressions and everything you said about her. She was HILARIOUS, lovable and so humble and kind. In the audience she recognized a girl from an acting class she took when they were at BYU together and they improved a spoof of the three little pigs. I was laughing so hard I was crying. One of the best experiences. Also got things signed. And it just made me love her books all the more. Now I've read nearly all of them (and own most of them as well). Glad you had such a great experience!

  5. So, I just realized I don't know how to spell "improv" short for improvise. haha. had to look it up. I didn't mean improve, but improv :)

  6. That is so great that you got to meet Shannon Hale! She's wonderful. I hope to meet her one day too. I seriously need to make a trip to Utah.

  7. I had a ton of fun too! Thanks for inviting me. It was a perfectly delightful evening.

  8. Amy! I am so happy for you and I'm glad that it was such a great experience. And, I'm glad that I loaned you Goose Girl all those years ago :)


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