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Moments of a Writer's Life, #70


The Moment I Realized Just How Great Adriana Trigiani Is: I was at Book Expo America in late Spring 2004 because Crossing the Line was due to be published in a month or so. Scheduled to do a signing in my publisher’s booth in an hour, I was part of a long line waiting to have Adriana Trigiani sign a book for me. I’d previously only had contact with the internationally best-selling author when I’d asked her to read my debut novel with a view toward giving it a blurb. Even though she was about five minutes away from giving birth, she said yes; and about one second before giving birth, she sent me the most amazing blurb, the essence of which was ‘If you have a uterus or have ever dreamed of having one, you will love this book.’ (The pre-birth estimates are a bit hyperbolic...but not by much; and really, those weren’t her words, but they could have been.) When I got to the front of the line, I stood my nametag on the table in front of her; the nice thing about my ridiculously long, ridiculously hard-to-spell-and-pronounce name is that it’s unique and therefore sometimes memorable. I don’t know what I was expecting – perhaps simply that she’d vaguely recognize the name and say, “Oh, hi” – but it certainly wasn’t what I got. Her eyes lit up as she rose from her chair and came around the counter, arms held out to envelope me in an enormous hug, like it was Old Home Week, like we were best friends rather than she being an international bestseller and me being...whatever I am. Then the questions started. She wanted to know why I was there, so I told her about my book. She wanted to know why I hadn’t sent it to her for a blurb, since she’d loved the first. I explained that I didn’t think double-dipping was a done thing. She said she didn’t care. Then she asked when my signing was and proceeded to shout to the line waiting behind me that they should go to my signing next. You might think the people waiting in line would be annoyed by this extended hold-up while she and I caught up, but if you think that, you’re wrong. Moving away after she’d finally signed a book for me and given me another hug, I watched from a distance as other people came through her line. And you know what? In a room filled with authors – some great but some of the stuck-up variety who act like they’re doing each reader a favor and all accompanied by publicists trying to hurry things along to go for the volume – she treated each person as good as she treated me. OK, maybe that’s more hyperbole, since I didn’t see anyone else get two hugs, but she did treat every single person graciously and warmly, like they mattered as individuals, like she was so glad they came. Over the course of my career and since that day, she’s done me a number of good turns and I can honestly say I have no idea why, since there’s nothing I could possibly do to pay her back in kind. I can only conclude that I’m just incredibly lucky, or maybe she really is just that good.