Well, several actually :*D But my Top 5 would definitely include Barbara Kingsolver...
Author of The Bean Trees, The Poisonwood Bible, Prodigal Summer - and many more books. I have a collection of all of her books, most of them first editions. Her latest is Flight Behavior, and she came to Nashville tonight on her book tour for a reading/book signing at the Nashville Public Library! *Swooning like a young girl at a Beatles concert* The Library worked with Parnassus Books - owned by another renowned author, Ann Patchett - to bring Kingsolver to Nashville.
THIS is Barbara Kingsolver SIGNING MY BOOK!!!! Tonight!!! Right in front of me!!! In person!!! (okay, I think you get the picture :*)
When our book club found out she was coming we determined to get tickets! The tickets were free, but there were only a limited number of advance tickets available. After those were gone, hopeful attendees had to stand in line the night of the event to get the remaining tickets. So I sat at the ready at my computer on the morning they were to be made available at 7:45am. There I sat with my cup of tea and my finger on the mouse, ready to swoop in and get those tickets!
I kept clicking the Refresh button and seeing the same message, "Tickets will be available November 12 at 7:45am." Until finally I clicked and it said, "Click here for advance tickets..." Hallelujah!!! In no time at all I had 5 of the tickets, but they would not let me order more than that. Since it was still pretty early in the morning, I waited an hour and then called my friend to get her to order the additional 5 - they were already sold out!!!! In the end, only Joanne and I went, so it turned out okay - for us anyway :*)
When we got to the Library, we passed by a huge line of people who didn't get the advance tickets and were waiting, hoping to get in. With our magic advance tickets, we zoomed right by and then we were quickly allowed into the smallish auditorium where Barbara would speak. We found out later that those without advance tickets had to sit in another room and watch her on a big screen TV! Boy was I glad I got those tickets!!!
I talked Joanne into taking a picture of me sitting in the front row, waiting for Barbara to come on stage.
Can you tell I'm excited??? Like a little girl excited for the first day of school excited???
The picture is a little blurry because of the lighting, and also because I had to zoom in and then crop it so you couldn't see my huge butt in that chair LOL!!!
First thing, Ann Patchett came on stage and told us a funny story about Barbara and "her friend Liz Gilbert," the author of Eat, Pray Love. Then a representative of the Library spoke for a few minutes before giving the floor to the Mayor of Nashville, Karl Dean, who then introduced Barbara.
Barbara is very personable and amusing, she definitely kept us interested and engaged. She began by telling us a little about herself, then she read from her book for about 15 minutes. It is beautifully written - of course! After that, she opened the floor up for questions.
We learned that she began her adult life as a biology major, studying science and writing scientific articles. When she became pregnant with her first child, she says she suffered insomnia so badly that she decided to put those nighttime hours to work by starting the novel she had always wanted to write. So she pushed her desk into a closet so the light wouldn't keep her husband awake and wrote The Bean Trees in the closet!
Unfortunately, I took notes on my phone and forgot to hit the button to save them so they're gone! But I do remember that she said she believes stories are necessary to us, like nutrients we need as much as food. She talked about her rules for writing fiction....
1st Rule - The beginning must make a promise that the rest of the book must keep.
The beginning should have the end inside of it, like the germ of a seed waiting to reveal a plant.
The themes of a book should thread all the way through the book from the beginning to the end and back to the beginning, like threads in a fabric, tying it all together.
You should be sure the reader clearly knows what you are talking about -
and be sure that YOU know what you are talking about! (She laughed at herself there!)
So, my dear friends I am off now to dream of my fun night, and I'm taking my book with me to Gatlinburg where I'll spend the next few days goofing off with my mom and a couple of our besties. I'm sure a couple of quilt shops will call my name - look out Stash Enhancement Report!!!
I know - it's a tough life, but someone's got to live it, and it might as well be me! =^..^=
Hugs & Blessings,