James Dashner (not only are they friends, they share the same editor), Carrie Ryan, Me, Natalie Whipple
Like I said, I adore going to author signings. I love meeting them, learning about their journeys--well, just learning from them period. Carrie was so inspiring. (Plus she is an absolutely amazing author. Her way with words is absolutely breathtaking. Who else could make a book about zombies into something so beautiful?)
She has an amazing story, but I won't give you all the details here. One of the biggest points she made that stuck with me is to make a plan, and stick with it. She made a ten year plan: she told herself she was going to write a book a year, and revise it, and submit it (be it to agents or editors) every year for ten years. Her goal was to be a full time author by year ten. She reached her goal around year six or seven. (hopefully I got the details right, I'm going off memory.) She (and I) firmly believe in the power of writing goals down, and doing what it takes to make them reality. If you haven't yet, go make some short and long term goals, and write them down. Then do what it takes to make it happen.
Beyond being smart and inspiring, she really lived up to Kiersten White's claim that she's funny. We were laughing the whole time. If you have the chance to see her, I highly recommend it.
Also, she may burn a book and then give it away.
Huh? Yeah, she used I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells to block the projector while she was talking, and when she picked it back up she'd burned the cover a little bit. I ended up winning it (woohoo!) and Dan was there, so he personalized it for me. Here's what he wrote:
"Sara - this book was personally burned by Carrie Ryan. Dan Wells."
I love book signings.