So Meg was here in Pittsburgh on the 15th of July, where she did a talk, Q&A session, and signing at a local Barnes & Noble. I might have arrived, oh, over two hours early, but that's OKAY, it gave me time to almost finish the new book right there, Size 12 and Ready to Rock. You had to buy a copy to gain entry to the event, so I did. There were some other people around talking about her books, and I wanted to join in, but that would have been awkward. I also found someone who was carrying around The Fault in Our Stars, so I immediately asked if she was a nerdfighter. She had no idea what I was talking about, but I promised her it was a great book, and told her to have tissues handy. But anyways, wrong author! It was so bizarre seeing her in person for the first time, but in a really cool way. The talk and Q&A were the same old stuff that's plastered all over her website, so that was kind of annoying /
Just a few tidbits, though...
- Her first story was called 'Benny the Puppy', written at age 7.
- She grew up with a library within walking distance. Yay, libraries!
- Writing was kind of a therapeutic way of dealing with life for her.
- In college, she was told at a party by a guy not to major in Creative Writing, as it would suck the love of writing out of her.
- She later met that guy again, "thought he was kinda hot, so I married him."
- He later said "I was drunk!" re: the earlier party incident.
- Meg's dad died really suddenly, which kind of brought about this awareness that life is short, and the worst thing that can happen is not trying. The day after the funeral, she sent out copies of her books (which were subsequently rejected, but!)
- Her mom started dating her teacher, which was the inspiration for Mr. Gianini and subsequently led to 16 books, but Disney turned it into a movie about a girl who finds out she's a princess, which is not what it's about at its core.
- Talked about her other books, celiac disease, clothes shopping, and more.
Q&A (I'm not even bothering with the typical questions on writing/publication, that's what Google is for):
- Q: Did you use real-life rejection letters you got to help come up with the rejection letters Mia got?
- A: Yes!
- Q: Any more 1-800?
- A: She always keeps it open, but the story was wrapped up pretty well. There IS going to be a new Mediator book, though! (!!!!!!!!)
- Q: Will we see any more of the Boy series?
- A: Yes! Meg's working on another one in that series, as well as another book in the Heather Wells series.
- Q: Which of your characters do you have a crush on?
- A: All, but Cooper has a lot of traits of her husband. Her husband does not read her books anymore, on Meg's request.
- Q: Does the "Disney-fication" bother you?
- A: She loves the movies, she's glad they make people pick up her books, but she hasn't seen movie two and recognizes that they are set in two separate universes as their own entities (hers is the right one). She recounted the story of getting a letter from a prison chaplain about the movies being shown to inmates, so they do make a difference. She's mostly concerned about getting people to read (for instance, Allie Finkle was written as a response for younger children who wanted to read her books, but weren't quite ready for her YA yet.)
- Q: Do you still read a lot?
- A: Yes. Libraries! Star Wars fanfic! She really likes the Betsy-Tacey books, Anne McCafferty, A Little Princess, A Wrinkle in Time, mentioned a mystery novel, Witness the Night.
Then we moved on to the signing part. By coincidence, I was the first person to get my book signed! I quickly tried mentioning that I was a huge fan, was a part of MCBC when that was still a thing, I don't know if Meg really heard or anything, she was kind of in a rush, but I got my book signed and I got a picture taken with her, and I left totally shaking because ~feelings~. To be completely honest, I think this event would have meant a lot more to middle-school-me, when Meg's books really were helping me navigate the world in a more direct way, and I was such a hardcore part of the fandom, but it still feels like my childhood self got to experience something incredible that day anyways.