Monday, March 15, 2010
Author Appreciation Week - Ellen Hopkins
YA debut author Heidi Kling thought up Author Appreciation Week last Friday. She's always coming up with new stuff like this and her boundless energy and enthusiasm always astound me.
At first, I wasn't going to participate because there were so many authors whose work I really like that it would be hard to narrow it down. Then I thought about the authors who had personally had a hand in my fledgling career and decided that I had to do it. The people I'm going to talk about this week (in no particular order) have all played a key role in shaping me as a writer.
First up is award-winning writer Ellen Hopkins.
I got to meet Ellen at the Asilomar writer's conference in 2009. Asilomar is awesome.
It is set right on the beach in Northern California and is a weekend conference/retreat that always has great writers, editors and agents. The best part is that every building has a living room with a fireplace where people gather at the end of the day, warm up and talk.
The first night that year, I found myself building a fire with Ellen (who is much better at it than I am) as we all sat around talking about the business of writing.
Now Ellen is a big, superstar writer. I am not. She didn't know anything about me, but I was in awe of her. As the night wore on, she was incredibly generous with advice about writing, about promotion (she is the queen of promotion) and was really honest about how her career began. It was really inspiring to have someone who was so successful in her career reassure me that things were going according to plan as far as my book went.
The next day, Ellen gave a seminar about promotion. It included really specific things you can do to promote your book before it comes out, as it debuts and several months after. It is the one handout of all of the conferences I've attended that is dog-eared from looking at it so much.
Any time on this journey where I doubt what I'm doing or how my career is going, I think back to that rainy night at the beach in Monterey and go over what Ellen said. She came from humble beginnings and even though she's a household name in the YA world, Ellen will always take time to give a new writer encouragement. And that is why she is an author that I really appreciate.