Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday Words: Authors are People, Too

Authors gain an incredible power over us readers through their words, and I mean that in a good way. Those who are able to find agents, get published, have a fan base, etc. are able to do so for a reason - they're incredibly talented. Combine these impressive skills with that power and it's easy to think of them as super-human - authors are rockstars in my eyes and it's part of the reason I love going to bookstores, hearing them speak, getting an autograph. I feel lucky to get to be in the presence of someone that awesome.

But it is important to remember that though they may write about magic or technology or coming back from the dead, authors are people, too, mere mortals just like the rest of us. When Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler were writing The Future of Us, their goal was to get the first draft done before Jay's wife had a baby nine months later. When autographing 150,000 tip-in sheets for The Fault in our Stars, John Green actually had to start seeing a physical therapist due to the repetitive motion of doing the same thing so may times and it was doing damage to his wrist.

There are countless other examples of authors who have very big lives going on outside of the hours they spend creating new worlds and characters for us to enjoy. And you know what? It only makes me like and respect them more.

Yesterday, Stephanie Perkins announced via her blog that her third novel, Isla and the Happily Ever After, will be coming out in 2013 rather than the previously stated 2012 publication date. The reason? Her second book, which just came out this past September, left her completely drained in a lot of ways that she doesn't discuss publicly. It wasn't an easy choice, but writing her most recent novel had made her miserable, so much so that if Isla's progress followed a similar path, with doing so much in such a short amount of time, it would be her final book. Ever. After explaining her reasoning, she goes on to say that she feels like she's disappointing her readers with this decision.

Now let's rewind for just a second. Her debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss, came out in December 2010. Her second, Lola and the Boy Next Door, hit bookshelves in September 2011. That's two books out in less than a year, and she's afraid of disappointing readers like me? She couldn't be more wrong!

What people need to understand and remember is that authors are people too, and that writing novels, whether it is as a hobby or, if you're lucky enough, as your occupation, takes time. The creative process is different for everyone, but it's not like a Xerox machine. No matter how prolific a writer is, time to plan, dream, tinker, imagine, get lost in a thought, do research is crucial.

Stephanie's news only makes her that much more of a rockstar in my eyes. I would hate it if Isla were to be her final book because I love her stories. I love that she wants to give readers the absolute best story she can and that she's not too proud to admit she needs more time to make that happen. Add that to the fact that she's an amazingly nice person, a gifted writer, a Nerdfighter, and has a killer sense of style I desperately wish I could pull off, and there's no way on earth I could possibly be disappointed in her.

Besides, look at the bright side - now I already have something to look forward to in 2013. =)

Stephanie and me at Anderson's Bookshop
Naperville, IL

Comments welcome and as always, happy reading.

1 comment:

  1. Didn't know this about her. Wow it's a bit shocking but makes sense. I think because series are so popular right now, people think that books can be written quickly and it's not like that.

    Everytime I point out to people that didn't know about my career aspirations, that I want to be writer, they are always like "OMG, you need to finish a book already, maybe I can help you with my connections" or something of the like and it's a nice gesture in a way but I always end up looking at them like they are a bit crazy. Writing cannot be rushed. It's not easy and more so if your goal is to write a book that is of value, that is genuinely of high quality in content and a book that you want to put out there (because I see books as an extension to people) a labor of love that is very personal.

    But yea I rather Stephanie take time then burn herself out and never write again. She is too amazing of a writer to not give us another one of her amazing novels.