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Fri Apr 13, 2012, 11:28 PM

Who are the nicest and most obnoxious authors you've met ?

Andy Rooney was a total a-- hole.
Lawrence Block was at a book signing in Madison, Wi. He came across as a really nice guy and was in no hurry to leave; shook hands, autographed books and mingled for half an hour.. it was pretty cool. He said that he wished he had sold the book, "Enough Rope", by the pound..

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Reply Who are the nicest and most obnoxious authors you've met ? (Original post)
russspeakeasy Apr 2012 OP
BlueIris Apr 2012 #1
northoftheborder Apr 2012 #2
dmallind Sep 2012 #28
northoftheborder Sep 2012 #29
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2012 #3
russspeakeasy Apr 2012 #4
Lydia Leftcoast Apr 2012 #5
XemaSab Sep 2012 #34
fadedrose Apr 2012 #6
mainer Apr 2012 #7
ChazInAz Aug 2012 #8
russspeakeasy Aug 2012 #9
LWolf Aug 2012 #10
russspeakeasy Aug 2012 #11
LWolf Aug 2012 #12
classof56 Aug 2012 #17
LWolf Aug 2012 #18
classof56 Aug 2012 #19
LWolf Aug 2012 #20
SheilaT Aug 2012 #13
Moe Shinola Aug 2012 #14
mainer Aug 2012 #15
russspeakeasy Aug 2012 #16
MorningGlow Aug 2012 #21
russspeakeasy Aug 2012 #22
Paladin Aug 2012 #23
russspeakeasy Aug 2012 #24
Paladin Aug 2012 #25
SheilaT Aug 2012 #26
russspeakeasy Aug 2012 #27
MountainLaurel Sep 2012 #30
russspeakeasy Sep 2012 #31
Bibliophile Sep 2012 #32
Tindalos Sep 2012 #33
RFKHumphreyObama Sep 2012 #35
russspeakeasy Sep 2012 #36

Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 02:25 AM

1. Nicest: Robert Pinsky, Yusef Komunkayaa, Dorianne Laux

and my beloved Jean Hegland. I've also met Ken Kesey and he was very nice. (He flirted with me.)

Only two I didn't like: Joan Didion, and Tony Kushner. Both very snobby, and I think Didion was, um, heavily medicated the night I met her.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 06:20 PM

2. I met Michael Moore at a book signing.

He was very pleasant and friendly, sort of shy, actually; I could tell from his eyes that he is highly intelligent. His frumpy look is part of his shtick, I guess!

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #2)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 11:54 AM

28. Sorry - can't pass this up

It seems to imply you think intelligence normally correlates with fastidious attention to a wardrobe and appearance deemed impressive by others. I'd say the opposite is more likely true. The more intelligent you are, the less likely you are to value the esteem of people who care how you dress or follow other fashions. Apologies if you were simply making two unconnected statements - one about his apparent intelligence and one about his casual approach to dress.

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Response to dmallind (Reply #28)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 01:31 PM

29. NOT meaning to correlate intelligence with wardrobe!!! Just commenting.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 09:37 PM

3. I used to live near a mystery bookstore, and all the mystery writers

(Earl Emerson J.A. Jance, Aaron Elkin, James Lee Burke, Anne Perry, Barbara Neely, Phillip Margolin, Faye Kellerman, and a few others I can't recall just now. Oh I also meet William Kent Krueger in Minneapolis) were very friendly and approachable, with one exception: Ruth Rendell. She came off as very brusque and snobbish as she signed books.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 11:19 PM

4. What a great place to live...

Do you remember how James Lee Burke presented himself?

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Response to russspeakeasy (Reply #4)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 01:19 AM

5. He's a terrific reader of his own work

I forget which book he was reading from, but it was hilarious.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #3)

Fri Sep 14, 2012, 04:33 PM

34. Ruth Rendell is one of my favorites

probably because of the deep streak of nastiness and misanthropy that winds through her work.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sun Apr 15, 2012, 10:46 AM

6. I never met an author, period

Or a movie star for that matter, except for 5 minutes of Jimmy Wakely, a popular cowboy actor who came to a theatre in town.

When I was a kid, Don Cornell (a singer) appeared at a 5 & 10 in our town. Nobody asked him, but he autographed my history book (5th grade) and sister had a fit when she saw it.

No authors tho. Sorry.

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Response to fadedrose (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 16, 2012, 06:43 PM

7. You never know. Authors are pretty anonymous

You may have met one, but didn't know it.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:16 PM

8. I've known a few.

Mostly science-fiction. Fritz Leiber was my all-time favorite. When I first met him, his wife Jonquil had just died, and he was not in the best of shape. He was witty and a gentleman, happy to give support to a beginning writer. We corresponded for many years until that dread day in the Nineties when my last letter was not answered and the phone at Geary Street was not picked up. I still miss him.
Harlan Ellison is a very different person. Some find him abrasive and difficult. Personally, I admire his work and his personal integrity. He's a good person who doesn't care about winning popularity contests. We need more people like him!
James Lee Burke is a soft-spoken, eloquent gentleman. I got the impression that he'd be a good person to have as a neighbor.

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Response to ChazInAz (Reply #8)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:35 PM

9. I don't know the other authors (my loss), but I can imagine you

are right about James Lee Burke.
Does he still do book signings ?

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 02:19 PM

10. I've never met an author who was obnoxious.

I'm sure there are a bunch, but I guess I've either been lucky or discerning about who I show up to meet.

Some of the nicest:

Patricia Polacco; Eve Bunting; Byrd Baylor; Ursula Le Guin; Ted Taylor; Will Hobbs; these are some of the first in a long list that come to mind.

Also, a published DUer that I got to spend some time with.

Most I wouldn't say were "nice" or "obnoxious;" I spent maybe 30 seconds with them and moved on.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #10)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 02:26 PM

11. I agree with you on the discerning part. But I have been fooled.

I didn't spend any one on one time with him, but the way he answered questions, made Andy Rooney come accross as a real ass.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Reply #11)

Fri Aug 3, 2012, 03:22 PM

12. That's too bad.

He was always my favorite part of 60 minutes, when I used to watch it.

That's the same way I decided I really liked LeGuin; she's the only one on my list that I didn't eat a meal with, or set up and run a workshop with, or some other more time-consuming interaction.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #10)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 05:32 PM

17. Ursula Le Guin is a treasure. I'm on my way right now to her author presentation nearby.

If anyone has watched the AETV series Longmire, based on Craig Johnson's books, I highly recommend him as one of the most down-to-earth and talented authors around. Have attended several of his book signings and he connects with the audience in a most amazing fashion. Also, Portland author Cheryl Strayed's book Wild has been on the NYT best seller list and is Oprah's newest Book Club selection. Can't say enough about her presentations. Like Craig, she is friendly, down-to-earth, interacts well with her audience and converses with each one for whom she signs a book. I consider myself fortunate that two of these authors, Le Guin and Strayed, are fellow Oregonians, and Johnson finds his way here on his tours at least once a year. If you haven't watched Longmire, do so soon. It's a hit!

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Response to classof56 (Reply #17)

Tue Aug 7, 2012, 02:56 PM

18. I just watched an episode of "Longmire" about an hour ago!

I didn't hear that LeGuin was in town again. Then again, I've spent most of the summer holed up at home.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #18)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 03:17 PM

19. Hi back atcha!

Haven't seen your posts lately, so nice to know you're still on the board. Paulina Springs Books sponsors author presentations regularly, and Ursula's are always well attended, as are Craig Johnson's. Glad you're liking Longmire! I'm delighted they're picking it up for another season. Have you attended any of Craig's book signings? He's such a kick! Maybe our paths will cross when he's here again--usually in the summer. I get his "Post-Its" e-mail newsletters to keep up on his schedule. He has a lotta fans in these parts.

Take care and enjoy the sunshine!

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Response to classof56 (Reply #19)

Sat Aug 11, 2012, 08:43 PM

20. I was in P.S. books last month.

Haven't been to a book signing there, though. I ought to pay more attention.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sat Aug 4, 2012, 01:24 AM

13. I've met a fair number of authors, and they've always been quite nice.

Most I've met at events where they are reading and signing, and if they can do that they're generally pretty decent. I once had an editor tell me that I could not imagine how unfit to be seen in public some writers are, and they are the ones who do not go out in public.

Ones I've met that I've liked a lot: Rob Sawyer, and I sort of count him as a friend; Bob Wilson; Robin Wayne Bailey (ditto on the sort of a friend); Pat Cadigan; James Gunn; Brad Denton. Fred Pohl, Kevin Anderson, S. M. Stirling. These are all s-f writers, which is my favorite field.

I used to live in the Kansas City area and would go to book things sponsored by Rainy Day Books. Let's see, through them I've met Calvin Trillin (who I also met separately through another civic group and he's a true sweetheart), Erik Larsen, Phillipa Gregory, Allison Pearson, Martha Beck, and lots of others.

Sometimes I go to writers conferences, and the writers who show up there have always been, in my experience, nice and gracious. I suppose if you simply connect to a writer in some other way, he or she might be a jerk.

Oh. Once when I was working at National Airport in Washington DC I waited on Norman Mailer. He didn't impress me, but then again, he was simply trying to catch a flight somewhere.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 03:34 AM

14. The only famous author I ever met is Poppy Brite

and she was a cool as cool could be. We talked for about 10 minutes outside of a grocery store in New Orleans. I went right to the library and checked out Lost Souls.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 02:46 PM

15. Most obnoxious authors known within the industry:

Jeffrey Archer (from the UK) and Betty Friedan.

Countless number of horrible anecdotes told about both authors.

If authors are truly obnoxious or unpresentable, their publishers usually don't send them out on tour.

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Response to mainer (Reply #15)

Sun Aug 5, 2012, 02:55 PM

16. I think that some of the authors are so obnoxious that they

bully their publishers into it. (When they left my office, they were sober) !!

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sun Aug 12, 2012, 09:08 PM

21. Douglas Adams, hands down

Met him at a reading/talk he did fairly early in his fame. What a sweetheart. Funny, nice, accommodating, and deeply desirous of a crowd to go drinking with him. Alas, I was underage at the time. And there was a blizzard raging that night, so I don't think he was successful in gathering a posse.

I second Michael Moore for nicest too--I was at a press conference a few days after he won his Oscar; he brought it with him and invited everyone (who wanted to) to pick it up. It IS very heavy, just like the startled recipients always say.

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Response to MorningGlow (Reply #21)

Sun Aug 12, 2012, 09:29 PM

22. Cool ! Good for you.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Mon Aug 20, 2012, 09:58 PM

23. James Lee Burke And Lee Child Were Real Gentlemen.

Haven't had any bad author experiences, for which I'm thankful.

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Response to Paladin (Reply #23)

Tue Aug 21, 2012, 09:06 AM

24. Two of my favorites....

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Response to russspeakeasy (Reply #24)

Wed Aug 22, 2012, 10:09 AM

25. Alafair Burke Is Nice, As Well.

Yes, James Lee Burke actually has a daughter named Alafair (just like in his novels), she's an attorney and novelist (just like in his novels), and she's sharp and charming (just like in his novels).

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Tue Aug 28, 2012, 10:33 PM

26. I just came back from Bubonicon 44

a science fiction convention. And among the several authors I met Steven Gould and Connie Willis stand out as friendly and nice. Connie especially.

Plus, I love every single thing I have ever read by either one of them.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #26)

Tue Aug 28, 2012, 11:35 PM

27. There is something about meeting an author. You never

read him/her the same again ...

Good for you...

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 05:02 PM

30. Some authors who were lovely

Barbara Ehrenreich -- I took a 1970s era work of hers to a signing, and she was surprised that I could find a copy.

Karen Abbott -- passionate about her topic and funny

Neil Gaiman -- witty and hilarious. Used the word fuck in a church and brought the house down.

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Response to MountainLaurel (Reply #30)

Tue Sep 4, 2012, 08:16 PM

31. You are a fortunate person...

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Thu Sep 6, 2012, 01:31 AM

32. Crap, that was disappointing :(

Sorry, I've just lost a lot of respect for Neil Gaiman. Especially if it wasn't his church/religion, if he was a guest... I'm no Bible-thumper but that's ridiculously disrespectful, I don't care whose house of worship he's a guest at.

Far, far less than noteworthy were Amy Tan & Olympia Dukakis -- ugh, they can keep each other company somewhere else.

Hillary Clinton was AWESOME in person, and I'm not just saying that b/c I'm preaching to the choir here.



Nicholas Evans (The Horse Whisperer, The Loop, etc.) was also fabulous; engaging speaker, genuinely pleasant, friendly, accessible.

Dave Barry was another joy, just as funny in person!! Ridley Pearson seemed sweet, quieter, great combination

Isaac Asimov was another huge priviledge, many years ago. Down-to-earth (no pun), seemed kind as well as brilliant. Wish he was still around.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Sat Sep 8, 2012, 06:15 PM

33. Danika Dinsmore (The Ruins of Noe)

Admittedly, I haven't met many authors for comparison, but she was very nice. I won a copy of her book and when it couldn't be delivered by mail (I'd entered the address wrong), she hand delivered it to me. Very sweet person.

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Response to russspeakeasy (Original post)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 08:51 AM

35. Nicest -Nina Bawden, John Dean, Andrew Wilkie

Nina Bawden was a British children's author probably not well known in the US but she wrote books for children over several decades. She visited my school in the late 1980s and was just a really nice, sweet, kind woman and I'll never forget the warm smile she gave me as she signed an autograph woman. Her books were good as well. Tragically, she died just last month

John Dean was the former Nixon White House aide jailed for Watergate who then turned into an author. I met him at after he gave a talk while visiting Australia. Very friendly and warm.

Andrew Wilkie won't be known to American audiences predominantly but he is a former intelligence officer who resigned and turned whistleblower in response to Australia's involvement in the Iraq War. He subsequently became a politician. I met him at a book signing and he was very amiable and, despite the fact that he was in a hurry and had a lot of books to get through, he answered my questions in depth and was very nice

In terms of being obnoxious, I wouldn't classify Roald Dahl in that category but he was very eccentric and his behavior was slightly off-putting when he visited our school in the late 1980s. He initially refused to give a talk to the junior school students at our school and only wanted to have an audience with the senior students at our school (thankfully our headmistress talked him out of that or I would never have seen him). Then when he spoke to our school assembly, he was very witty and entertaining but he was also slightly impatient with us and got annoyed when we laughed either too loudly or too long at one of his jokes. And, traditionally authors who came and visited our school allowed children to come up to them and have their books signed. But Roald Dahl declined to allow us to do that (although he did sign his books in our school library)

At the time I thought he was a bit obnoxious. With the benefit of hindsight and maturity, I'm inclined to be a lot more generous to him. He was about 70 at the time and it was just two years before his death. I can imagine that interacting with a bunch of young and over-hyped kids might not be the most pleasant of experiences. And, whatever my grievances with him, it was still a remarkable privilege and a pleasure to be able to see such a great author in person and that to me outweighs anything negative about my impressions of him


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Response to RFKHumphreyObama (Reply #35)

Wed Sep 19, 2012, 09:33 AM

36. Wow, good for you. I watched Mr. Dean being interviewed

on PBS and the impression I got was the same as yours.

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