Friday, April 30, 2010

On the Edgars and being a fangirl

I'm just back from New York City and the glamorous Edgar Award banquet last evening. It was a sequin-studded evening and everyone looked fabulous. Even Lee Child in his Land's End suit. Laura Lippman, the incoming Mystery Writers of America president, and outgoing president Lee Child were the masters of ceremony, and Laura was also stunning in her evening gown and amazingly gracious when she introduced me on stage.

Yes, I was on stage to present the Edgar statue to Mary Downing Hahn, winner of this year's Best Children's Edgar Award for CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. I was the chair of the Best Children's committee last year, and our committee read close to 100 kids' books. They ranged from picture books to chapter books, and one of the finalists was a graphic novel called CREEPY CRAWLY CRIME. Mary was so shocked to have won, but in a good way. After a year dedicated to judging this award, it was really wonderful to meet her and tell her how much we all absolutely loved her book.

For someone who is a book geek, seeing writers like Michael Connelly, SJ Rozan, Lee, Laura, and so many others in one place at one time is just so much fun. Although I admit something here: Michael Connelly intimidates me so much that I can't talk to him. I get tongue-tied around him. I have no idea why, especially since he blurbed DEAD OF THE DAY for me and I actually interviewed him for Romantic Times Magazine a couple years back. On the phone, I was fine with him. But in person, I just don't know why I turn into such a fangirl that I can't even gush. (I did gush with Sara Paretsky at the Shamus Award dinner at Bouchercon in October, and I think she was scared of me after because she sort of avoided least it seemed like it.)

Is there anyone who makes you feel too intimidated to speak to, someone whose work you admire so much but can't even imagine having a conversation with that person like he's, well, a real person?


David Terrenoire said...

I can't magine anyone avoiding your company, Karen.

Karen Olson said...

You're such a sweetheart, David!

Neil said...

I tried to talk to Pelecanos a couple of times. One time he kinda brushed me off, so after that, I was all "Fuck all this being shy shit."

But Tom Franklin kind of did the same thing at AWP last year, so this year I just steered clear. Still wish I could have a decent conversation with the guy.

Oh, and congrats on the new blog. Gonna bookmark it

Kerri said...

I got a little verklempt when I met James Hetfield from Metallica, but I managed to compose myself after about 10 seconds and mutter something I think he understood. I think I would have trouble if I ever met Robert Fripp or Carl Hiaasen.

chestnut-red said...

In the past I've had plenty of those tongue-tied moments, and just because I've matured a little doesn't mean they're gone. This weekend at Malice, I was able to ask Mary Higgins Clark a question in a Q&A session and stumbled a little over my words...all the while hoping I didn't sound or appear stupid. But she was very gracious and answered my question while looking at me the whole time. What a classy lady! - Becky Hutchison

Anonymous said...

The Edgars sounds like heaven for bibliophiles! As for writers, I'm not sure if there is any particular one that would have me completely tongue-tied. But I could be wrong, as I never imagined that I would be able to formulate a coherent word (let alone a sentence, or more) should I ever come face-to-face with a certain Cuban-born singer--and then I ended up onstage with her! So I guess you never know, huh?