Tag Archives: meeting famous people

Losing My Anonymity…

This past weekend I drove down to Madison to catch a reading/signing by Tad Williams. While we’ve e-mailed back and forth a little, I’ve never actually met him. And despite the fact that he’s a seasoned pro and I’m a wet-behind the ears newbie, we’re the literary equivalent of cousins: we both have the same editor and agent.

Because of this, I’ve heard a lot of stories about Tad over the last year or so, many of which have ended with comments like, “You’d really like Tad. The two of you are a lot alike.”

So part of the reason I was coming down was to see the guy I’d heard so much about. Another large chunk was pure fannishness. I read Memory Sorrow and Thorn years ago. The size of his books and the scope of his story gave me hope that my own huge fantasy novels might actually be publishable some day.

Lastly, I was there to do reconnaissance. I’ve got readings and signings of my own coming up when my book hits the shelves in a couple weeks. I wanted to see how a pro handles it.

Because I was driving down from Stevens Point, I ended up getting in a little late. So I just sat on the floor off in the back corner of the room beside a cart full of folding chairs. Believe it or not, this is actually my happy place. I like being in the back corner of classrooms and restaurants because sitting with people behind me makes me profoundly uneasy. I’m a lurker by nature.

I watch Tad do his thing. He’s got a great stage presence. He finishes his reading and starts into his Q & A. This is even better. He’s quick on his feet, funny and clever. The group loves him.

Then somebody says, “Assume we’ve already read all of your books and we’re looking for something new to read. What do you recommend?”

Tad says, “Well, it seems a little odd to mention it because he’s here right now, and I might be accused of log-rolling, but I recently read a great debut fantasy by Patrick Rothfuss. That’s spelled R-O-T-H-F-U-S-S. It’s called….” he paused and cupped his hand to his ear dramatically.

I was caught flat-footed, but can know enough to take a cue when it’s handed to me. “The Name of the Wind,” I said from where I sat tucked away in the corner of the room. A few people turned to look, but most of them couldn’t see me as I was sitting on the floor, partially tucked behind the cart of folding chairs. I wondered what they thought of the voice coming from nowhere to supply the title of the book. Was it an unseen employee? A high tech customer service device? Some helpful totemistic bookstore spirit?

Tad went back to answering questions, and I sat feeling odd and unsettled. Part of this was that I was flattered he thought enough of the book to mention it. But what really threw me off my stride was the fact that he recognized me. I’m not used to being recognized. I’m pretty comfortable in my anonymity.

After the Q&A, a youngish guy walked up to me and said, “You’re Patrick Rothfuss, aren’t you?” I admitted I was, and we had a pleasant round of what I fondly think of as ‘geek talk.’ We chatted about what books we like, what games we play, what comics are worth reading. It was nice. I like geek talk.

Still, it’s odd having someone come up to me and know me just because they heard about my book.

It’s not a bad thing, just a new thing. It’s going to take some getting used to.

Posted in being awesome, geeking out, meeting famous people | By Pat16 Responses
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