Just five days after meeting fellow kid lit writer and Internet buddy Sam Riddleburger, last night I had the pleasure of meeting fellow kid lit writer and Internet buddy Jay Asher!
Sam, Jay and I are all represented by the same awesome literary agency. The only real difference between us is that both of them actually write and publish books, while I ... well, let's just say my work-in-progress is coming along slowly but surely.
Jay probably doesn't realize it, but he's played a major role in this blog. He left my first ever comment, singlehandedly caused the blog to receive a not-entirely-family-friendly rating and was my 5,000th visitor.
Jay is also a huge icon for me and the entire kid lit community because in January 2006, not long before he received The Offer for his now best-selling teen book, 13 Reasons Why, Jay wrote a dejected post on a kid lit message board in which he said: "Right now, I feel like throwing my hands up and walking away. ... part of me wants to at least say, 'For the next year, I'm not putting myself through this anymore. It's time to see what else I'm interested in.' ... I ... am ... just ... so ... frustrated!" These are sentiments most writers can identify with all too well, and knowing that someone who has met with such success once felt that way himself has been a great encouragement to me and many others.
So anyway, you can imagine how excited I was to hear that Jay was holding a book reading and signing at the Border's in Fairfax. He brought up one lucky volunteer from the audience to read the part of Hannah. (If you aren't familiar with 13 Reasons Why, you can check out my review of it here.)
After reading from the book, telling his inspirational publishing story and sharing some of the very moving emails he has received from teens affected by the book, Jay kindly signed my "Ask me about 13 Reasons Why" t-shirt, which I won in a contest on his old blog. Jay said he'd never signed a shirt before, so it's a one-of-a-kind! I could probably get a nice price for it on e-Bay, eh? Sorry ... not gonna happen.
OK, enough fan grrrl talk. Jay was as nice as could be and his book is fantastic ... so check it out!