Whoa, did I catch a live author?

Author writing on laptop

It goes in here and ends up where in cyberspace? Who knows whose eyes may see it? Image courtesy of Dave, Morguefile.

In this blog, I’ve talked about many authors. I’ve mentioned Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Edgar Allan Poe, John Steinbeck, James Thurber and other literary illuminati. They all have one thing in common: They’ve croaked.

Yep, they’re all dead. Passed away, passed on, gone away to heaven, kicked the bucket, bought the farm, in the stars or any other way you want to put it.

Then there’s the other authors (the live ones) that I’ve discussed in my blog posts, such as David Baldacci, Molly Ringwald, Clive Cussler, Andrew McCarthy and Umberto Eco. I feel slightly strange writing a blog post about a living author and publishing it. Since the Internet reaches almost everywhere, it’s possible they might see it since it’s out there in public.

With the thousands of blog posts out there, I doubt that they’ll actually see mine and read it. But at the back of my mind, I’m still wondering…what happens if someone who does know that famous author happens upon the blog post and forwards them the link? What if they read a tweet of mine that refers to the blog post?

Journalists deal with this issue all the time, but it’s different for me since I come from another type of writing background. It feels a bit odd, that’s all I’m saying. Am I the only one who feels this way?

It’s probably a non-issue anyway. These authors must be accustomed to having their names mentioned all over the blogosphere, in newspapers, in tweets, on Facebook and in magazines. It comes along with being famous, after all.

I do watch what I say in my blog, so it’s not that their lawyers will be hunting me down for libel or anything like that. (All I have to offer the lawyers anyway is a can of Diet Pepsi and a couple of croutons. Okay, okay, so I exaggerate. But you get the idea. And I really must hasten to Wal-Mart soon.)

I did catch one live author, sort of, one day. I have a blogging friend, J.G. Burdette, who writes a fantastic and entertaining history blog called Map Of Time/A Trip Into The Past (we bonded over history, especially the Titanic). In a post where I asked readers to describe which authors they would take to a desert island, J.G. mentioned that she’d bring one of her favorite young adult authors (Karen Schwabach). Karen saw the comment and responded to it. I think it’s safe to say that both J.G. and I got a kick out of that. (Note to J.G. — you got me curious, so I read Karen’s The Storm Before Atlanta. Great story!)

Blog readers, your thoughts?


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25 responses to “Whoa, did I catch a live author?

  1. Not a bad thought to ponder since those incidents do occur. You just never know who’s reading your timeline — as I once again experienced today.

  2. I wrote reviews for Amazon from the gitgo and reached #11 on the list of reviewers by the end of the 1990s. I am now in the classic category, whatever that means, but because I stopped writing reviews before Amazon created the classic list, I sunk to the fifties (I think). I stopped writing reviews after requests from live authors for a review overwhelmed me. I still get the odd request for a review, but tell them I haven’t written a review in 10 years.

  3. Servetus

    I blog about someone who’s alive. Whether or not he’s aware of it, he’s never been in touch. I didn’t expect him to be, and I am grateful that he’s been silent. OTOH my blogging buddy Didion got a really kind comment once from an actor (of much less notoriety) whom she blogged about and really enjoyed it. I suppose it depends a bit on what you said, and how you feel about the subject.

  4. It’s always fun when you end up interacting with an author (that is, if the interaction is friendly!). I think one of the highlights of my blogging/tweeting “career” was when I tweeted for #fridayreads that I was reading Alex George’s “A Good American” and loving it, and Alex George tweeted me back that I’d made his day! We had a short Twitter conversation after that and I felt SO cool. However, once an author responded to one of my blog posts in which I mentioned reading a fictionalized account of the Great Wyrley Outrage (the book “Arthur and George” by Julian Barnes) saying that Barnes’ book was inaccurate and I should read his instead. Well, Barnes’ book was FICTION and I really enjoyed it, so I was a bit irritated by the other author’s tone and salesmanship. Either way, though, I think it’s exciting to catch an author’s attention!

  5. I complained on my blog yesterday about a lame-o book my book group read in October. LAME-O. But I didn’t name the book or the author for the reasons you described!~ What if she saw my comment. Silly. What are the odds of that?

  6. It is cool that you had an author respond to your post. Even if it was a response to a reply by J.G. Burdette. Someone found my blog today by searching for J. G. Burdette. I have learned a lot about history by reading posts on Map of Time. A good person to be associated with :-).

  7. The only living author I ever treaded on was David Sideris when I posted a college paper re-write of “Nuit of the Living Dead” (titled; “The Death and Life of Squeaky Pomme Fritz”) from the perspective of the mouse. I actually tried to email him a copy but couldn’t find a direct or reasonably direct email for him.

  8. I’m not expecting Zizek to respond to my scathing critique of having to learn literary theory this semester…..and even if he did it would still be incomprehensible to me. 🙂

  9. Val

    Well, as authors both living and dead are/were real and generally ordinary people, and as we mention other ordinary people in our posts from time to time, why not? And if you have trackbacks/pingbacks turned on for your posts and/or your posts end up in Google search, yep, eventually they might find your post.

    I’m almost certainly going to be mentioning other artists on my Facebook Page (the public one, for my fans) soon – and they will be living ones as, much as I enjoy the writings of those who are no longer with us, I prefer to connect and communicate with and give tributes to the living!

  10. I hadn’t thought of it until an author left a comment on a post I’d done reviewing her book. It was a positive review (I only post what I like) but I still got nervous afterwards because it reminded me that anyone could see my blog. I never think that anyone really reads it lol so it was a bit of a shock and yet very cool.

  11. J. G. Burdette

    Yep, definitely got a big kick out of a bona fide author replying to the comment! 😀 Yes “The Storm Before Atlanta” was a great story.

    One day I accidentally stumbled across author Kathleen Ernst’s blog and she later stopped by my blog and left a comment. Like you said “These authors must be accustomed to having their names mentioned all over the blogosphere”, still it’s nice when some of them take the time to visit, like Karen did with your blog. Here’s to hoping more authors visit your blog (without their lawyers in tow, of course 😉 ).

  12. Besides myself, I don’t really blog about writers, but I would imagine it’s pretty cool to get some kind of response from one. I’m still waiting for a response from myself.

  13. Howdy:

    Well let me start by saying that I do read your blog. As a matter of fact, I even bookmarked it to have it handy. I like your depth of content and your light humor.

    Sorry, but never heard of David Baldacci, Molly Ringwald, Clive Cussler, Andrew McCarthy or Umberto Eco. Pardon my ignorance. Promise to google them and find out why is it that you mentioned them.

    Enjoy the day,

  14. I’m a journalist and I still have this feeling! I get almost shy if I see someone reading or commenting on an article I’ve written. Somehow with my blog, I actually feel less timid about mentioning people because it’s usually positive feedback in an informal forum. But no matter where it is, it’s a strange feeling to know someone might see their name in print because you wrote it.


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