I got to meet the very lovely and bubbly New York Times Bestselling Author slash Hug Machine Stephanie Perkins a couple of weeks ago during the National Book Store-sponsored signing events here in the country.
Like many of the authors who visited before her, Stephanie seemed surprised but very happy to see how many readers and fans she has here. That rock star reception in two cities is definite proof that many people love her books.
What’s so memorable about Stephanie is how she talks to each and every person in line, even if it’s just to ask how they are doing if they are too shy to talk first, or to compliment someone, or to answer a question. And the HUGS! There’s just something about Stephanie that makes you want to hug her. I wasn’t planning to, but after we took a photo, I just had the sudden urge to. I’m not sure how many people she hugged that day in the Manila signing because there were more than 600 people in line. But HUGS for everyone!
She had quite a lengthy and enlightening discussion with NBS’s Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla and Town and Country magazine’s Ms. Yvette Fernandez before the signing, but what remains most significant to me is her advice for writers:
To all of the writers out there, the number one piece of advice I have for you is to learn how to read like a writer. And what I mean is that when you’re reading a book, take it a little bit slower and be a little more conscious and self-aware. When you’re reading something and you have a reaction— it doesn’t matter what the reaction is. If it’s something funny, or makes you swoon, or scares you, or makes you angry, stop and go back and see how the author made that happen. Good books and bad books can be equally effective. When you’re reading and you go, ugh, terrible! Stop and think why and what you’re not enjoying about it.
I always tell my readers who want to be authors that the people I read in school growing up–like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens–they didn’t take writing classes. They learned how to write by reading. I encourage you to keep reading, keep reading, keep reading.
Most writers just tell people to read but not why and how, and Stephanie’s advice explains a lot and is, I think, a great practical advice that I will definitely take to heart. Not that I have a novel in the works…I only wish I did. XD
p.s. Thank you, National Book Store! :)