Fan Girl

August 18, 2019 was a red letter day for me - and okay, for a few hundred others. That day, my husband and I traveled to Ashford Castle in Cong, Co Mayo and listened to my hero, the inspirational and amazing story teller, Nora Roberts - or as she is known in Romancelandia,
'La Nora'. She spoke for about an hour about her process, her working day, her concepts and ideas and answered thoroughly all the questions put to her by the the interviewer, Kate Kerrigan. People came from all over - to my left, fans from Scotland, behind me, fans from Holland. Along each row were accents from all over Ireland as well as the UK and the US. Ms Roberts also generously answered a barrage of queries from the audience about all things writerly. It was a thrill - such a thrill for this huge fan. I began reading her back in the late 80's when I moved to the United States and out of loneliness and homesickness, I joined the public library for comfort reads. And so it was that a small quaint village in upstate New York fostered my love of romance and in particular, Romantic Suspense. I devoured all the library had to offer by the new to me Nora Roberts and even back then, dreamed of writing stories that gripped and held the readers the way hers always did. And still do.

When the Q&A was over, she was still available to the audience. She sat at a table with one of her sons and proceeded to sign the mountain of books that were then presented to her by the seemingly endless queue wrapped around the large reception room. Her daughter in law and grandson were in evidence, as was her husband Bruce. They chatted with various groups of the audience making the entire afternoon feel like a family affair and all that implied - easy, comfortable, and relaxed.

She had a few words for everyone, making each individual feel special and welcome and appreciated. What a legend. What a queen. As we waited for my turn my stomach did the jitters, highjinks and turnovers - I was about to meet the person who inspired me to write - I had my publishing contract by then and my first book was due out within the next few months. I had two completed novels under my belt and was researching the third. As a five book series about an Irish family of siblings and their lives and loves, I felt, in my own quiet way, I was following my hero's footsteps.

She was as generous with her comments as I now expected, having watcher her patiently chat and have a photo taken with fan after fan after fan. My husband who has been long-suffering with my fangirling of Nora Roberts was charmed and impressed - by her professionalism as well as her kindness and natural, if shy personality. My day, my year, was made. I exchanged a few words - gone from my memory due to over excitement on the day - had my photo taken with my idol and left the swanky castle on a high.

Though not before having a casual chat with her daughter in law and her charming little boy, as you do, in the lobby of a very high end hotel in the West of Ireland.