My two favorite things about RT happen to be people.

I’ve been reflecting on my week at RT, and I feel like I learned a lot about myself and my peers. I made a lot of new friends, caught up with a lot of old friends and even put myself out there more than I usually do. Because believe it or not, I’m pretty damn shy around people I don’t know.
Writers have this weird life where we are forced to hide away in our caves and interact with imaginary people. So when we finally get to spend a week with our peers, being around others who understand our crazy jobs creates a wonderful sense of camaraderie. Not much can beat that.
I’d like to talk about my two favorite things about RT. Or actually, two favorite people. These two women kind of blew me away this weekend.
One of them goes without saying. The magnificent EL James. As you’ve probably seen from the pictures, this was her third year to show up to RT. This year, she wasn’t scheduled to sign, but in the middle of her hectic schedule of being the author of Fifty Shades, doing interviews, taking care of movie business and traveling more than a migrating bird, she stopped by Dallas, Tx for no other reason than to say hi to her readers and friends. I’m not gonna lie, I was overwhelmed for her. I’ve seen authors show up to signings with security to whisk them away from the crowds so they could avoid the publicity, yet the most popular author of the last several years shows up alone with a huge smile on her face and a gracious attitude, taking pictures with fans in the lobby for hours. More than once.
I can’t speak for her questionable table manners, but I absolutely look up to her and the way she has stayed so humble and grounded amongst the chaos and massive success.
Another author I want to give a shout out to is the lovely Anna Todd, who has hundreds of thousands of the most loyal readers of any author I have ever met. I had the pleasure of having dinner with Anna several weeks ago when I was in Austin. If anyone knows me, they know I’m not an emotional person, but listening to Anna talk about how she puts her readers before ALL of the things left legitimate tears in my eyes. I was trying hard not to be obvious, so I think I got up and went to the bathroom at that point so she and Vilma wouldn’t make fun of me. But I honestly hope Anna writes a book about her journey someday, because it’s amazing and inspiring, and the fact that she’s so young goes to show that wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age.
After that dinner, Anna went on a tour where she signed thousands of books on an almost daily basis for a month straight. She ended that tour at RT, but not many people knew this because she always had a smile on her face and she never complained. If anyone was near Anna during the signing Saturday, they would have noticed she didn’t sit behind her table. She stood in front of it to be closer to her readers, even though she had to be exhausted and tired and jet-lagged.
She’s very grateful, and even though she’s younger than me and I’d like to pretend she looks up to me, it’s actually the other way around.
Without a doubt, witnessing these two highly successful women at RT being so gracious and welcoming was definitely the highlight of the week. That and the hotel had Diet Pepsi machines on every floor.

annaerika