When a Writer You Admire is a Jerk

A few years ago, my novel writing class had a high-profile guest speaker talk to us: the award-winning author of a YA book we had been assigned to read about a week prior.

I was pretty jazzed about it considering how much I’d enjoyed the story. I’ve had predominately good experiences with meeting published authors in the past and have always learned quite a bit from talking with them, so I thought this would be a positive encounter.

My first impression of her was not a bad one. She glided into the room on a cloud of confidence, cool oozing from every pore. She made us laugh, told us a bit about her writing process, and then she opened the floor for questions.

I was the first to raise my hand. She called on me and I asked her how much of the book was based on her own life.

I knew she was an army brat from the bio on the back cover of her novel, but I was curious as to how much of her MC’s life mirrored hers. I had a hunch there were quite a few parallels since most authors derive minute details from their own experiences, but I didn’t want to assume that everything was a perfect representation of her youth.

“Oh,” she replied, “that’s a tourist question. That’s not a good question at all.”

Me:

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Her:

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It’s always disappointing when you discover someone you admire is a jerk.

However, it can be a beneficial lesson to learn. It’s a reminder that, in spite of all that someone may have accomplished, they are still a human being, capable of fallibility. Some foibles are more significant than others, but we all have them. Even the most gifted of us. Especially the most gifted of us.

I’m happy this woman could teach me this lesson. So… very… happy.

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In fact, I’m so happy that I’ve been inspired to write the ultimate novel that will earn me critical praise as well as sacks and sacks of money. I will then use those sacks of money to create a giant pyre and burn all her books in a ceremonial fire.

Beware, jerk writer, I will be avenged through the power of literature!

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12 thoughts on “When a Writer You Admire is a Jerk

  1. That sucks, but it doesn’t surprise me. Most people let fame get to their heads, so it happens. Even some popular writers online become jerks. It’s insane how some people let popularity change them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is. And it’s such a bummer when it happens. Especially when you identify with and admire the characters they create and the struggles they go through. But I guess if you’re told often enough you’re a genius, the more likely you are to believe it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It seems your question may have caught her by surprise and she potentially didn’t have enough time to formulate a good enough answer that could support her facade of ‘oozing cool’ and confidence. As a result her ego decided to dismiss and deflate your perfectly good question to ‘save face’.

    I’m glad you could gain some benefit from this experience though. If anything it could be considered an avid lesson in how not to act when you find yourself in a similar position.

    Happy burning, haha!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I remember one poet–let’s leave him nameless–who I thought was a jerk but whose poetry seemed to come from a better, more humane person that he seemed (to me, of course) to be. All I can think is that both elements were true parts of him. And that I was better off reading him than knowing him.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for the recent blog follow.πŸ˜€ This is a great post, I’m definitely not the most eloquent when writing my opinions or discussion posts, I recently wrote a post on author harassment and one before on blogger bashing, let’s just say I’m quite blunt along with being sarcastic when voicing my opinion and that ending to this post was pure awesome, cool to read a post that tells it how it is and doesn’t try to be nice, much respect!πŸ˜€πŸ‘Š

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved this post. I am gobsmacked by the author’s response. Did her crown slip when she made the snark? Or did her eyes turn black to reveal the evil monster lurking inside? LOL. Wow, sounds like she made a rookie mistake.
    Annie

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly no lol. And everyone in the classroom continued to smooch the ground she walks on. One thing that’s interesting though is that sometime during her talk, she admitted that a lot of her work WAS autobiographical. Immediately after this admission, the teacher and I exchanged knowing glances. Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      Like

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