First off, I could use a hundred adjectives to describe how cool it is to meet THE Jamie Ford but as I was thinking about it afterwards, one word in particular came to mind - gracious.
Allow me to explain. As I entered the library and headed towards the right conference room, Jamie saw me and immediately called me over to say hi. He was cooler than words, and even though I might have been squealing like a starstruck teenager inside, he made me comfortable enough that I think I managed to maintain some kind of intelligent conversation. He then jumped at the chance to sign my copy of his book before I could even ask. Before I knew it, we were chatting along like two colleagues.
Yes, I know it's a huge stretch of the word considering I'm the aspiring writer and he's the bestselling author of a book in who knows how many languages at this point (not to mention it being optioned as a potential movie maybe).
So even though it's a stretch, it was awesome nonetheless. After we headed into the workshop, Jamie launched into a presentation on how to get our writing past the slush pile and into the zone where agents are requesting partials (see Jamie, I bet you thought I wasn't paying attention). And I have to say that what Jamie put out there was spot on and made perfect sense. We went through an exercise by reading poorly written first pages that Jamie had pulled out randomly from a critique site, and it was incredibly useful.
Oh, and guess what Shaun? I plugged your book The Deathday Letter as a recent favorite book I really liked, mostly because it has stuck in my mind as a perfect example of good characterization. So a whole room of aspiring and published writers got to at least become aware of your book (if they weren't already, that is).
The two hours of the workshop went by quicker than I realized, and then it was time to go. I could have sat there all afternoon and gleaned knowledge from Jamie (assuming he had nothing better to do and my wife could forget that it was our anniversary LOL). I had brought my camera to get a picture with Jamie, but after the workshop there were a bunch of people huddled around and I didn't want to push my way through.
There was another author (Clare Austen) at the workshop, and she and I ended up chatting for a while outside anyway. Then just as I was getting into my car, here comes Jamie out of the library. Wouldn't you know, he waves at me as he's walking towards the parking lot. I managed to stumble out with a "would you mind", and he was overly gracious once more. The person walking with him took the camera and quickly snapped a couple photos for me.
No comments on my lumberjack shirt. Yes, I realize my wardrobe could really use an update. And Jamie's shirt is actually a bright red, though the sun (or camera) turned it more of a bright pink.
Getting a picture was more than I was actually counting on, so thank you Jamie very much. For taking the time mostly, but more than that, for being an inspiration in so many ways. And for making it a memorable day.
To quote your own words:
"Wishing you more sweet than bitter"
It doesn't get any sweeter than this.