This past weekend, one of my dreams came true.
I met the phenomenal author Laura Numeroff at the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown. And while this is a fantastic opportunity in itself, the experience filled my heart three times over: as a reader, as a writer, and as a published author.
You see, the If You Give A Mouse A Cookie series is one of our family favorites. I read those books to our boys until the pages began to separate from the bindings.
When I first wrote When A Dragon Moves In, I realized how much Laura’s words and “musicality” had inspired me. I even worried that people might think I’d tried to emulate her too closely. I asked critique group members, beta readers, and ultimately, my Flashlight Press editor, Shari Dash Greenspan. They all reassured me the stories were not the same.
Still, as most authors do, I held my breath before reading the review from Kirkus, one of the most renowned and respected professional review sources. IMAGINE my delight when they described my Dragon as “a sandy complement to If You Give A Mouse A Cookie“!
Of course, Laura’s line to have books signed wrapped around itself three times over. I watched from my own author table as she greeted every child and his/her family, so open and welcoming, and quickly realized she’s not only a brilliant author, but a sweet, warm and wonderful woman. After what seemed like hours of signing, she still had a smile for everyone (and somehow, working fingers for signing books!)
Finally, when the line became manageable, I stepped into it (thankfully, my fabulous hubby could stay at my table…and admittedly capture a picture or two while I fan-girly crushed.)
Because in one hand, I had a brand new copy of Mouse for her to sign. But in the other, I had a brand new copy of Dragon…for her. I told her how she inspired me, and how Kirkus’s “complement” comment was the biggest compliment of all! Even though she had to be exhausted, she insisted on reading through each page while we sat together, exclaiming over the story, the illustrations by the uber-talented Howard McWilliam, and the journey itself.
And you know what I learned? If you tell a brilliant author how much she’s inspired you…you might just get a hug.
It doesn’t get much sweeter than this.