OK, I'm sometimes slow on the uptake. While I've been a fan of J. A. Jance for years, I only happened on her personal website over the holidays. Shortly thereafter, I was immersed in the Great Lady’s own blog, smiling at her invitation to “Keep in Touch”!
Well, what the heck! I composed a brief message and hit “send.” Whoa! …Less than an hour later, here’s a response! And not just a “thank you for visiting” rubber-stamp template….. but a warm 3 paragraphs, first bemoaning Seattle’s weather, then saying, “As to your question? No one has offered to turn ANY of my books into movies. And, until I'm done with writing them at some ripe old age, I'd just as soon they didn't. For all the reasons you mention.”
That does it; I want to go meet her! The on-line itinerary has her slated to appear in Scottsdale on the 5th. (Uh-oh, I just can’t miss watching my Longhorns whoop Ohio State.) But wait a minute, she’s appearing in Tempe on Tuesday!
OK, this calls for a Plan: While my workplace is near spitting distance from that venue, I’ve become terminally allergic to navigating after dark. So, I make plans to leave work mid-afternoon, drive 35 miles west, walk the dogs, gather hubby-the-chauffeur, then rewind another 40-miles east.
Umm, we’ve never attended a book signing, but I’m pretty sure this means we have to purchase something? (Being a voracious readers, were it not for the Litchfield Park public library, we’d be like Tennessee Ernie Ford, owing OUR souls to the Company Store, aka Barnes n’ Noble!)
Then... what if she’s not a very nice person? (Ya, I’ve encountered a few celebrity “pains” in my days.)
Well, I’m delighted to say that in spite of the small turn-out, the lady is Real. (And I’m real big on “Real.”) Down to earth, seemingly laid-back, Jance invites photo ops, answers questions, and most importantly, listens – really listens -- with this straight-on gaze, leaving one to believe they’re the only person in the room; that she has all the time in the world.
When it’s time for the requisite speech, Jance casually turns to her oversize purse, and retrieves the cutest little mauve-colored taser. (No, it’s not merely a prop; but that’s another story.) Having just read her latest book, I struggle to suppress a giggle. She cautions me with a wink, “let’s not spoil it for the others.” Funny? OMG, we had tears in our eyes at her self-depreciating humor.
Uh, I just realized this sounds awfully gushing. But it’s darn rare that at this time in my life someone truly impresses me. And while I’m normally loathe to recommend books and movies (isn’t that sooo subjective?) if anyone’s in the mood for an honestly enjoyable read, check her out!
Meanwhile, I might investigate hosting a taser party of my own.