Last week I began to tell my story about how I went on an adventure (all the way out in NJ) to meet one of my favorite authors. We left off at the book signing. This is what happened next.
After Brad Parks did his reading, told his jokes, sang his songs, the actual signing began. I was planning on hanging out for a bit, so I just hung back while everyone else got their books signed. He took pictures (so mad that I didn’t think of that), told stories, answered more questions, and signed books. Once the line had died down, I went up to him and he asked if we were going for that beer. I’m fairly certain there was a grin on my face from ear to ear. I played it off very cool of course, and told him I would be up for that. (Right…)
I sat down next to the table he was signing at while he finished up his ‘author-duties’ and shook the last couple of hands, plus signed some copies to be left at the bookstore. Then, Brad Parks asked the woman who owned the shop where we could get a drink around here. Turns out that there were two places in the entire town with a license to serve alcohol, so we went to the place that wasn’t T.G.I. Fridays. I do not remember the name of the place but it was nice.
We pulled up two stools at the bar, and ordered some drinks. Sadly, they did not have Blue Moon on tap (or anything on tap) and so I broke my ‘no tonic’ rule (again with the lent) and ordered a vodka tonic. Brad had a beer. And we got to talking.
A lot of what we discussed had nothing to do with the fact that I am an aspiring writing while he is a published author and therefore should have *some* connections that I could use to my advantage. Instead, we talked about his family and we talked about The Boyfriend. I told him all about my cats and my dog because I’m that person. I learned that there is no cat named ‘Deadline’ (the cat’s name in the Carter Ross series) but there is a cat named ‘Scoop’. Apparently his cats didn’t get along well with his son when he was little so they now live with his parents. He now has a beta fish. I informed him – dipping into the font of useless knowledge that I have – that if he held a mirror up to the bowl the fish would spread his fins and prepare to attack. I also told him that baby elephants suck on their trunks like human babies suck on their thumbs, once again with the useless knowledge. I then told him that penguins have an organ above their eyes that convert seawater to freshwater. His reaction? “They can save the humans!” There is no denying that Brad is a funny guy.
On relationships: Brad told me that he doesn’t care what anyone tells you, sex is a great foundation for a relationship. Apparently, if Gwyneth Paltrow or Rihanna came up to him propositioning sex, he would say no thanks, I’d rather be with my wife. Admirable, if a bit strange. I also learned that Brad met his wife when he was nineteen and didn’t get married until he was thirty. So The Boyfriend and I aren’t all that different in that respect. Although I do plan on tying the knot before I’m thirty, fingers crossed and all. We will see.
On writing: We did discuss writing a bit. He told me to stop making fucking excuses and sit down and write! He cursed a lot, but it was funny. I was informed that I have to sit down, write a book, and then throw it away because it isn’t going to be published. According to the wise Brad Parks, no one has their first novel published. Because of this insider info, I have decided to pause my one novel because I really like the character and write a whole new book (9,000 words and counting…), which is going pretty well. Sometimes, you just need a stranger to give you that kick in the ass to get you started.
On authors: I learned some very interesting inside details about some authors that I admire whom Brad has met. I learned that (unsurprisingly) Ken Follett is a boss. He sounds like a really cool person to meet and hopefully, some day, I will! I learned that a certain author who loves alliterations is a real dick. He apparently got his panties in a twist over the lack of his particular rum not being present at the party he had to (gasp) share a limo to. I learned that Charlaine Harris is a total sweetheart that spends her money on books now that she has it. (I very much enjoyed Brad’s southern accent as he impersonated her). We discussed various authors and I got a few names out of him of new people that I have to read now. There really is something about meeting someone who shares that same affinity for reading that makes time fly.
And that is where we ran into some issues…time did fly and The Boyfriend expected me home around 9 or 10. At 10, he asked jokingly if he had invited me up to his hotel room yet. I am a very sarcastic person, I know – shocking, and so I responded in a sarcastic manner. You know what doesn’t come off over texts? Sarcasm. So when I said, ‘yeah, that’s what happened’ well… The Boyfriend didn’t take too kindly to that. I thought it was kind of funny that he would suggest that because (no offense Brad) but the guy I was hanging out with and enjoying discussing everything is not exactly my type. He’s closer to Dad’s age then he is to mine and he reminds me a lot of Dad. I love my Dad and all, but I’m not planning on having an affair with someone who reminds me of him. All that, on top of the fact that I love The Boyfriend very much and would never do anything to hurt him made the whole suggestion a little ridiculous to me.
Finding the text about the hotel room amusing, I shared it with Brad. At this point, I was about to burst so I ran to the bathroom. Leaving my phone with Brad. The Boyfriend called twice and Brad ignored it. Not sure it would have been better if he had answered…either way, The Boyfriend was getting a little pissed. He had asked what the plan was. Brad thought he ought to respond to this message. His text? “She’s coming back to my place and we’re going to make like it’s discovery channel. What do you think is the plan?” This did not go over well AT ALL, as I’m sure anyone can imagine. So The Boyfriend got in his car and drove all the way to Jersey.
Side note: During the book signing, Brad mentioned that he would love a stalker so he could get better publicity. “Just ignore the restraining order when I have a new book coming out”. I told him later that he came close to getting that publicity he wanted. Of course, it had the possible side effect of The Boyfriend kicking his ass and possibly being thrown in jail.
I guess it worked out for the best that Brad and I parted ways (and yes, I did drive the wrong way out of the parking lot) soon after that. We actually stayed at the restaurant until it closed. It was a lot of fun. At the point, I had almost no battery left. This was a big problem because I had no idea how to get home. In a way, it was a good thing that The Boyfriend got all jealous and drove to ‘rescue’ me from the preying author because otherwise, I might still be wandering around Jersey, lost. I called The Boyfriend to let him know I was on my way home and he told me he was almost to me. I was shocked because he really isn’t the jealous type at all but at the same time I was kind of impressed. Sometimes I find it hard to believe that people like me – lack of self-esteem – and so his valiant efforts to save me from another man were overall well received. My phone died and I stopped at a bar to use the phone. The Boyfriend came and found me and I followed him home. He wasn’t in the best mood, but I had a great time. Maybe next time I will make sure to keep my phone on my person and call… Either way, it made for a great story and meeting Brad Parks made me realize just how much I want to be a writer. The secret to which is of course, to sit down and fucking write. Thanks for the tip Brad.