I just had what could only be classified as one of the coolest nights ever.
I met Jen Lancaster.
Who is only one of my most favorite authors in the whole world.
My friend Keri recommended Jen’s writing to me, back when Keri was living in Yuma and I’d just moved into the new house with Paul. I remember very clearly that Keri was so excited about the author, she actually grabbed the book right there and read me a passage over the phone. I was in stitches, I almost toppled off the bed and onto the floor, I was laughing so freaking hard. Awesome bestie that she is, Keri sent me her books by Jen as soon as she finished them. I devoured them and bought my own copies. I was hooked. I was a Jen Lancaster junkie (a Jenkie? who’s to say?).
Keri and I lost touch last year when I moved to Washington and she moved back to California. I miss her terribly and I keep hoping that one day she’ll get a Facebook account, or try my cell phone number, or email me. I know she had a lot going on in her life at that point and probably still does. I haven’t heard from her since September. She must have gotten a new cell phone number because the one I have for her isn’t hers anymore.
When I found out that Jen Lancaster was coming to Seattle as part of her book tour, I immediately put in for the afternoon off work and knew that I had had HAD to go to the event. I wish I could share it with Keri.
I got to the event, which was held at a bookstore in Lake Forest Park. I saw where Jen would sign books and thought, oh I’ll just hang out here, then I can get in line right away. It was only about fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time when I figured out how this thing actually worked. Fans were to gather in an auditorium-like space near a little food court, where Jen would read a passage from her latest book and then take questions. After that was the signing, and groups would be called. If you bought a book there, you got a ticket with A, B, C, or D group, depending on how early you bought. Only after those people went would those who brought their own books be allowed a turn.
I had brought my book, having bought it from Target and enjoyed the thirty percent off. However, I didn’t want to wait until very last. I’m terrible at waiting. It makes me fidgety and cranky. I also didn’t want to spend twenty-seven bucks after tax for a book I already owned. So, genius that I am, I purchased a third copy of Jen’s first book, “Bitter is the New Black”, because I decided it would be cool to have a signed copy of her original memoir. This earned me a D ticket, which wasn’t great but was better than dead last.
The reading and Q&A were awesome. People asked really great questions, from how Jen’s dog Maisy was doing (she was diagnosed with doggy cancer) to if her grandmother was really as scary as the grandmother in the latest novel.
When I got my turn to meet her, Jen seemed a lot like, well, a normal person. We chatted about our animals and our love of pit bulls as she dutifully signed my books and posed for a picture with me, a picture that is now my profile picture on Facebook, thankyouverymuch. I acted calm, cool, collected….until the very end when I lost my brains and blurted, “I’m glad I didn’t totally geek out!”
“No, you’re cool,” she assured me.
I sputtered some other very cool things (NOT) as I collected my books and camera and waved good-bye. She is super awesome. We could totally be BFFs. Well, okay maybe not. But it was still beyond awesome to meet someone whose work I idolize, realize that she’s totally down to earth and kickass, and that she seemed to geniunely take an interest in the people that wanted to talk with her.
I’m only sad that I can’t call Keri and rave about it. Some day, I hope she walks back into my life, and I can tell her all about it.