Okay, I realize that title is a little vague, so let me explain. Tuesday marked the release of I Don't Want to Kill You, the last book in a fantastic psycological thriller series (with just a hint of paranormal to it) by Dan Wells. He did a signing at a local book store on Tuesday and I was able to arrange my schedule so I got off work in time to make it. It was the first time I'd ever been to a book signing and the first time I'd ever met a published fiction author. Suffice it to say, I was SUPER excited and it was all I could do not to gush and be all fanboy-ish (I never understood why people do that until Tuesday when I almost did the same thing).
Now a little about Dan and why he's one of my role models. Last summer, my friend Shallee McArthur (visit her blog, Life, the Universe, and Writing, it's FANTASTIC!) introduced me to a podcast called WritingExcuses. It's hosted by Brandon Sanderson, the author of several fantasy series (Mistborn, Elantris, Warbreaker, etc.) and author of the newer Wheel of Time books; Howard Taylar, author and artist of the SF webcomic Schlock Mercenary; and Dan. The podcast is geared specifically towards new and aspiring writers and discusses all sorts of topics (the basic categories are generally writing improvement, getting published, and writing as a business) and gives all kinds of good advice (the most profitable one for me, thus far, was the episode about "killing your darlings." I'll blog about that later).
From the beginning, I identified with Dan more than the others because 1) when they started the podcast, Brandon was already a big-name author, 2) Howard wrote a web comic (which I love but can't relate to from a writer's standpoint), and 3) Dan had just found a publisher for his first book, I Am Not a Serial Killer (he's since rounded out the series with two more books and now has another standalone novel on the way and contract for a new series. Go Dan!). Having recently finished my first novel and having no idea how to start finding a publisher, I wanted Dan's advice more than the others' (not that I discounted it, they are both great writers).
Anyways, to summarize: I got to meet a role model and he signed my copies of his books. I didn't go all fanboyish (with some coaching from my wife). And my wife and I got to poke around a really cool book store for an hour or so. Life is good!
So, have any of you ever been able to meet one of your writing role models? Who are they? Why do you admire them? If you've met them, what was your experience like?