Ever wonder about the first time you did something and it mattered? Like it really made a difference to you and the people around you?
So not too long ago, August 2018 actually, New York Times Bestselling Author, Kristan Higgins, stopped over in Atlanta on a whirlwind book tour for the launch of ‘Good Luck With That’. I’ve heard Kristan talk at a RWA National Conference before so there was no question about making it to the event.
I had to go.
But there was a problem. A HUGE problem.
I hadn’t read a book written by Kristan before even though she’s written 18 novels and her books were on my to-read list for…forever. I felt as guilty as hell for not having done so. Now don’t get me wrong… it’s not that I don’t read. I’m always reading – as a writer you just do. And you’re always reading—should be reading—other people’s works. Not your own. But how can you attend an author event without having read the author’s books? It’s like going to the beach without your swim suit!
Full of guilt, panic and worry with just a few days to go, I couldn’t quick-read her book—any of her books. Fiction takes time to read and digest. Great fiction (like Kristan’s) must be absorbed and inhaled. I didn’t have the time and I didn’t want to do injustice to her work. So I thought logically about the whole thing, took a deep breath and tried a logical approach. When I’d first heard Kristan talk I’d never read any of her books then. And yet, her words struck a chord in my heart. She must have written many many more books since, but the woman, Kristan, the author…she must surely be the same. More books under her belt. More famous. More renowned. But her talk, no doubt, would still resonate with me.
I went with an open mind.
Well, I made it to the event on time. Then panic. What if she asked a question? What if everyone raised a hand to answer or participate in the talk except me? What if… Now we writers love to play the ‘what if’ game… it helps propel our imagination and stories. But this ‘what if’ game was not going so well.
After a fabulous intro by New York Times Bestselling Author, Karen White, Kristan took center stage and talked about issues of weight loss, the battle of the bulge and how many Americans are affected by obesity. She talked about what being overweight does to your perception of yourself, other people’s opinions about you and how it affects you as a person. She didn’t just talk about her book. She talked about real issues. Hard core issues that affects everyone from all walks of life. About friendships that stand the test of time. About health, happiness, and more.
I listened. The more I listened, the more I connected with Kristan as if I already knew what all her previous books were about. As if I knew the depth and emotion of her works.
Then I bought a copy of ‘Good Luck With That’, danced with glee as she signed my copy and pinched myself as I chatted with her one-on-one. *Yes, I pinched myself!* I could listen to her all day. I hadn’t even read her book (or any of her books—remember!) and felt as if I already knew her.
Neck-deep in ‘Good Luck With That’ I will only disclose it’s a story of 3 (childhood) friends and their love of food, family, fat-that-doesn’t-go-away and friendship as adult women that serves as the foundation for a deeper truth at the heart of the book. I stopped at one point to re-read a scene because it was so gut-wrenching. I turned pages because I couldn’t believe something so perfect fell apart. And I’m continuing to read because I simply can’t stop.
What makes the read even more special are the firsts. First book (for me) by this fabulous author. First time meeting an author and then picking up her book (usually it’s the other way round). First time reading a story that focuses on how fixated and biased society is on perfection. First time I’m blogging on a book I haven’t finished reading…because I just have to.
What is a *first* you remember that really mattered?