Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Day I Met J.K. Rowling

I try to limit my Harry Potter posts here to once a week (that's hard, believe me) so as not to completely terrify you. If you couldn't guess from the title, this post is extra-special.

It was 2007. In July of that year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released (more about my adventures with that another time). In August of that year, I quit my day job at the time to try and get back to writing, something I'd stopped doing for about a year and a half. I took a children's book writing class and I started writing what would eventually (far, far in the distant future) become my debut book.

Sometime that summer, Scholastic announced that they were running a special 4-part event with J.K. Rowling. Three of those events would be for kids from randomly selected NYC public elementary schools. One event would be for everyone, but winners would also be randomly selected from a lottery. I applied, of course, and got a bunch of my friends to apply as well.

And then I forgot about it. Because, after all, I imagine Scholastic must have gotten tens of thousands of applications (if not more) and the chances of any name being drawn were, let's just say, completely slim.

Sometime in September, my boyfriend, Graig called me. "What are you doing October 19th?" he asked. What a weird question, I thought. But then again, that date sounded awfully familiar to me. October 19th...October 19th.

"Never mind!" he blurted out. "I know what you're doing! You're going to go see J.K. Rowling with me!"

I think I screamed. I might have blacked out. Anyway, let's just say I was excited. Mildly.

The event was wonderful. Jo read a chapter and then answered some terrific fan questions (it was at this event that she outed Dumbledore--AND I WAS THERE! The audience reaction and applause was an extraordinary thing to be a part of; it made me feel lighter than air).

And then, after an all-too-short hour and a half, J.K. was going to sign each and every one of our 2,000 books. They lined us up pretty efficiently and we all waited patiently to reach her table.

Graig asked me if I was going to say anything to her. Once you got up there, you had about 20 seconds before she moved on to the next person. As nervous and terrified as I was (my heart was definitely somewhere in my throat), I knew that I had to.

So when my turn came, I said in a horribly shaky voice, "I just wanted to tell you how inspiring you've been to me as a writer." She looked me in the eye, smiled, and said, "Thank you." Actually, she looked every single person in the eye as they came up to her. All 2,000 of them. And if I felt light and airy before, it was nothing compared to how I felt then. I was practically up and away on a Firebolt.

Here it is. One of my most prized possessions:
If I ever have a horcrux, this will be it.
 And, yup, that is Mary Grandpre's signature on it as well. But that is a post for another week!


  1. Perhaps my shining moment as a boyfriend.

  2. I don't know how you're going to top that one Graig :-)

  3. She is the reason I write, and read books… if it wasn’t for her I would be where I am today. I have read the Harry potter series at least 20 times. And I listen to the audio books every night—Jim Dale is the most amazing narrator that has ever lived. If you haven’t listened to the audio books; it’s a must, trust me!

    I am jealous, thx for sharing your experience with us.

  4. Awesome, Jeff! Jenny & Graig, I think you may be right.