Pick-Up Lines for Authors

I have a new passion: going to hear authors speak and then greeting them with a line that is potentially embarrassing–usually for me, sometimes for them. Call it an unplanned pick-up line of sorts.

Two weeks ago, I posted about hearing Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the author of the heart-wrenching memoir I Shall Not Hate, speak. While he was signing my book, I greeted him in Arabic. Now the Arabic greeting is (or seems) much longer then the hi-how-are-you-I’m-fine one in English. The trouble is, now that I’ve been out of the Middle East for over a decade, I don’t remember all of it. Somewhere in my conversation with the Gaza doctor, I lost the plot. So I said, “Sorry, I’ve exhausted my Arabic.” He was gracious, even more so when I thanked him in his native language.

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of hearing Canadian bestselling authors, Elizabeth Hay and Miriam Toews, read from their latest works. Toews is from my home province of Manitoba, so when the readings were done, I walked down to the stage and said, “I used to haul grain to Altona” (a town near where she grew up). It was a good icebreaker and we proceeded to chat until an organizer escorted her to the book signing mid-sentence.

On Saturday, I had the good fortune of meeting and having lunch with Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans, a Canadian political satire which has won two prestigious awards: The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and the Canada Reads contest. When I was introduced to him, I said, “I read your book. I love the s*x scene, the one that you describe in parliamentary language. It was absolutely hilarious!” He too was a gentleman.


Now it’s your turn:

What author would you love to meet, and what memorable line might you open the conversation with? In other words, what would your author pick-up line be?

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About Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom)

Leanne Shirtliffe (a.k.a. Ironic Mom) is a humor writer who lives by the motto, "If you can't laugh at yourself, laugh at your kids." She is the author of DON'T LICK THE MINIVAN: Things I Never Thought I'd Say To My Kids, the picture book THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE (May 2014), and MOMMYFESTO: We Solemnly Swear...Because We Have Kids (Nov 2014).
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13 Responses to Pick-Up Lines for Authors

  1. limr says:

    Oh. I adore Hemingway and would love to have met him, though it’s probably a good thing I can’t because I know I would get completely flustered and tongue-tied as soon as I tried to get any kind of words of any kind out of my mouth. Most likely, I’d start blushing and say “Hi!” far too loudly, and then run away.

    If I were smoother, however, I could use the same technique you used with Dr.Abuelaish if I were ever to meet J.K. Rowlings. She used to teach EFL in Portugal, as did I, and that would be my hook: “Hey, no wonder you named the bad guy Salazar!” or something like that. I’m sure I would come up with something brilliant and perfect 5 minutes after I left the area.

  2. limr says:

    See…even writing about him made me write “any kinds of words of any kind”! I’d be a total dork around him!

  3. M. Howalt says:

    That’s hilarious!
    I haven’t met any famous writers (except one at a conference, but I hadn’t read anything by him at the time, which was a bit awkward), but I’d most likely end up going, “I probably can’t say anything you haven’t heard before, but I really enjoyed your books.”
    If I met Bret Easton Ellis, I’d like to say, “Aren’t you going to make a sequel to Glamorama? Perferably with gay sex in it, because you’ve sort of been avoiding that so far and gone for straight, lesbian and threesomes with both genders …”

    A friend of mine had this conversation with the lead singer of his favourite band:
    Lead singer: “I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming!”
    My friend: “I like coming!”

  4. I met Colum McCann in December at a Selected Shorts thing. I was trying to tell him how I loved Let the Great World Spin and how I didn’t want to read anything after that like all summer, and then I started crying in the middle of speaking, but thankfully one of his wonderkid students interrupted us. I would like a do-over but I still can’t think of anything clever.

  5. Marianne says:

    I haven’t met many authors. The ones I meet, I generally ask what they did with their kids – to see if there is a secret besides get up early and get to bed late.

  6. Janet says:

    I met Margaret Freeking Atwood. I wanted to tell her how much Cat’s Eye affected me when I was 18, how beautiful both her poetry and prose are, how I love that she mixes political and environmental truths into her amazing plots, how she made me want to be a better writer. I got to the front of the line, handed her my stack of books to sign and said, “I follow you on Twitter.” Fortunately, she laughed and actually chatted with me for a minute about her tweets during the Olympics. Still, I wish I had said so much more.

  7. REscarcega says:

    I’ve never been much for wanting to meet celebs in any field. I just see them as regular folk who happen to have a given gift. I’ll give them the accolades they deserve but I’ve never had an interest to converse.

    If I ever met my favorite author – John Krakauer, I’d say it in song… “Ahem… me me me me me… Ahem… (nothing).” See? Can’t think of a thing. :-/

  8. Pingback: Swooning, Devil Author, Twitter Parties, and James Rollins | Leanne Shirtliffe ~ Ironic Mom

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