Let’s Talk with Terry Odell

Authors are Readers, Too
Terry Odell

Most of the time, writers sit in rooms all by themselves working on their manuscripts. Or working on a blog post, or some marketing chore, or checking in with social media. It’s usually a solitary work environment. Solitary, not lonely, though, because we have our characters and they’re usually making themselves heard, be it accepting or rejecting the situations we try to put them in.

But every now and then, it’s good to get out among like-minded people. People who understand the “voices in the head” existence we live. Recently, I did just that, traveling from my mountain in Colorado to the beaches of Honolulu, Hawaii for the Left Coast Crime conference. Why? After all, there are conferences closer to home, and far less expensive ones. But for me, the draw was the invited guests: Faye Kellerman, Jonathan Kellerman, Dana Stabenow, and Laurie R. King. I admire the four of them a great deal, and the chance to see/meet them all in one place had me plunking down the cost of the conference, an airplane ticket, and resort hotel prices.

I wasn’t disappointed. All of the four were friendly, engaging, and when they shared their writing processes, it was extremely heartening to find that they all, despite their humongous successes, share the same fears and doubts with each new book. If anything, it gets harder, not easier, because each book needs to be better than the last. They all confess to straying down “wrong” pathways, even if they’re following an outline, and they cut and rewrite just like us “regular” authors.

The Kellermans hosted a breakfast and made a point of visiting every table, chatting with the attendees and answering questions. And I confess, it took a lot of nerve to ask a question—I was a total fangirl, and I was afraid I’d sound like an idiot (and maybe I did to them, but if so, they never let it show.)

So, do you have a favorite author? One you’d like to meet? Ask a question? Who would it be? What would you ask? Or would you stare at them, in awe of their greatness, and not be able to say anything?

And, since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, rather than make this post any longer, I hope you’re enjoying these pictures from around the hotel.

Enter to win a tote bag from the Hawaiian Village Resort — perfect way to carry lots of books! (Sorry, US residents only, please–it’s a legal thing.) And because you’re visiting Booklover’s Bench, if you leave a comment on this post, I’ll give you an extra entry!

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Comments

  1. I would love to meet Stephen King

  2. Barbara K says:

    This bag looks nice. Know it will hold lots of books

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing some writer friends at Malice next weekend. I am eager to hear other author’s experiences re career choices, being a hybrid author, technical issues like formatting, marketing ideas, and such. At RWA National this year, I’m going just to listen and absorb the wisdom of other seasoned authors.

  4. tinawhittle says:

    I would love to meet Anne Lamott or Barbara Kingsolver, two of my favorite writers and people on the planet. I wish I could have joined y’all in Hawaii — that guest list did look great.

  5. Terri Rinko says:

    Wonderful read! Thank you for providing such info!

  6. I met a couple of my favorite authors at conferences, as well. Getting to know the face behind the story usually makes me enjoy the books that much more, and it also helps to see firsthand that we’re all in the same boat. Even the “big names” struggle!

    • I agree — even though I remind myself that these authors are meeting hundreds of fans and probably won’t remember “me”, it does make reading their books more personal.

  7. sallycootie says:

    I love to learn what my favorite authors like to read and see their comments. I was lucky enough to attend Bouchercon 2014. Yes, that was me, the total fan girl. I met my idols J. A. Jance, Sue Grafton, and Sara Paretsky, and they, along with every other author I met, were so gracious. I must also mention Connie diMarco/Connie Archer – she was beyond gracious and wonderful to meet.

  8. I love hanging out with other writers and hearing how they do things. Sometimes it gives me insight into my I do things, other times it helps me make another step toward doing things more efficiently, professionally, or just about any other positive -ly word. I love the tote, Terry!

  9. Happy to know that even though writers have a different view of the world they still have doubts like the rest of us.

  10. jmjackson054 says:

    It was great to see you there and share a panel — and I agree with your assessment that the four guests were all interesting. I’d like to share a beer with John McPhee, perhaps my favorite nonfiction author.

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