What question have you always wanted to ask an author?

As a bookseller and a librarian I’ve met lots of authors over the years.  Some I’ve never heard of, others I know of but haven’t read any of their books.  When I know they’re coming I try to read at least one of their books so that I can understand what they’re talking about and at least look like I’m a huge fan. 

These authors are always particularly grateful that you know who they are because they inevitably don’t get many fans lining up to get their books signed.  One author such as this (I won’t name names) who I met a couple of years ago at The Children’s Bookshop had so few visitors that he actually fell asleep in his comfortable chair in the shop window and I had to nudge him to wake him up when a young fan wanted her book signed. 

Then there are some of my favourite authors who I can’t wait to meet and almost count down the days until their visit.   I gobble up as much as I can of what they’ve written and find out what I can about them from interviews so that if I found myself having a conversation with them I’d know what to talk about.

When I go to the Somerset Writer’s Festival from 17-19 March I will be able to meet some of my favourite children’s and young adults writers including Patrick Ness, Markus Zusak and Derek Landy.  I’m trying to think of some profound and interesting questions to ask them when I get to meet them, as this may be my only chance.  My only problem is that when I’ve made my way through the line to get my book signed and am standing in front of them I get a bit star struck and have no idea what to say.

I’d like to know what question or questions you would ask your favourite authors if you had the chance to talk with them face-to-face?

4 thoughts on “What question have you always wanted to ask an author?

  1. rachaelccl 3 March 2010 / 7:45 pm

    My mum and I met Joanne Harris at a book signing when she was in Christchurch promoting Lollipop Shoes. Mum asked if she had ever written poetry, as her prose has such a lyrical style. It turns out she has tried, but didn’t write anything decent (well, according to her!). It was still fun to meet her, and she was warm and friendly despite the massively long queue and awkward Q&A session.

  2. onederccl 4 March 2010 / 7:18 pm

    Ooooh! Do you get to interview Markus Zusak? I love his books. If I had the opportunity to meet him though, I would probably hover in a corner mutely and smile at him in a way that is likely to give him the creeps. Ah the curse of the socially awkward librarian.

    • zackids 5 March 2010 / 9:44 am

      I know exactly what you mean Oneder. I’m usually like that too but I’m going to try and be brave this time. I don’t get to interview Markus Zusak but I’m going to his sessions. I am interviewing Patrick Ness and Derek Landy so that will be exciting!

      • kauri girl 5 March 2010 / 12:28 pm

        Ooh, what about asking Derek Landy what his “pirate name” would be if he woke up one day and discovered he was now a pirate?

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