Between Two Lockers: We get the dish from YA authors on their books, lives and secret crushes. See More...
Smarty Pants: Submissions from the most clever people on the planet: our readers! See More...

Office Hours

Our favorite YA author "buddy cops" Leila Sales and Rebecca Serle reminisce about the times they met famous writers... and now they want to meet YOU!

Office Hours

Leila and Rebecca are back with stories of their awesome (and awkward) encounters with authors they adore. And if you live in NYC, you now have a chance to meet them at their first ever Office Hours! Pro-tip: Bring them champ cans.

Hey FYAers! We’re holding Office Hours from noon to 2pm at Newsbar, near Union Square, on Sunday, November 4th. If you’re in New York City, come out and join us!

What are Office Hours, you may ask? They are a thing we just made up. We’re going to be hanging out at one of our favorite coffee shops for a couple hours, and we want you to stop by, say hi, and chat with us about YA lit, writing, revising, dance parties, whatever. Details here.

Below are stories about some of the times when we’ve met authors. We hope you’ll come out on the 4th and meet us!

LOCATION: ALA Anaheim
HOW OLD REBECCA WAS AT THE TIME: 26
WHOM SHE MET: Deb Caletti, author of The Story Of Us
WHAT HAPPENED:

Rebecca was on a panel that Deb Caletti was hosting. She recalls basically nothing from this interaction besides a brief window of time in which she 1) told Deb Caletti’s editor that she may vomit, and 2) used the panel as a way to further fangirl out. They sat together at the reception after, though, and Rebecca discovered that not only is Deb Caletti a brilliant novelist, she’s also an incredibly lovely person.

LOCATION: Brookline Booksmith
HOW OLD LEILA WAS AT THE TIME: 15
WHOM SHE MET: Dave Barry, author of The Bridge to Never Land and Lunatics
WHAT HAPPENED:

After Dave Barry’s reading, Leila stood in line for an hour, waiting for him to sign her copy of Big Trouble. Leila spent that whole hour mentally rehearsing what she was going to say when she finally got her moment to speak to him. She was going to say, “Dave, I used to pass the salt in Cambridge, too.” This was a clever reference to a line on page 82 of Dave Barry’s Only Travel Guide You’ll Ever Need, a book which had been published eight years prior.

When Leila reached the front of the line, Dave Barry said something like, “Hi.” Leila gaped silently for a couple seconds and tried to remember what she was supposed to say. Something like, “Dave, your work has made me realize that what I want to do with my life is be a humor writer, and I am going to spend the rest of my years striving to have a career similar to yours”? Then she remembered. “Dave,” she said aloud, “I used to pass the salt in Cambridge, too.”

Dave Barry stared at her blankly. He had no fucking clue what she was talking about.

He signed her book anyway. “Leila—Stay out of trouble. Dave Barry.”

It is still one of her most cherished possessions.

LOCATION: The gym
HOW OLD REBECCA WAS AT THE TIME: 21
WHOM SHE MET: Nicola Kraus, author of The Nanny Diaries and Over You
WHAT HAPPENED:

Rebecca was sweating her way through a class titled something like “Are You Ready for Torture?” when she spotted another regular a few rows up. They smiled at each other, the way they always did. Somehow, this woman consistently seemed far more ready for torture than Rebecca.

After class the woman came up to Rebecca and complimented her on a recent haircut. Note: Rebecca had just gone through a rather devastating break-up and therefore the haircut was neither cute, nor flattering—just way too short. Rebecca was touched by her willingness to lie, however, and the two have been friends ever since.

LOCATION: some book conference
HOW OLD LEILA WAS AT THE TIME: 24
WHOM SHE MET: Zilpha Keatly Snyder, author of The Headless Cupid and William’s Midsummer Dreams
WHAT HAPPENED:

Leila shook Zilpha Keatly Snyder’s hand and said to her, very calmly and with mature conviction, “Thank you so much for your work. If I hadn’t read Libby On Wednesdays, I honestly don’t know how I would have survived middle school.” Then Lela started to cry silently, and she kept crying until her friend Emily took her away.

LOCATION: The American Library Association Annual Conference
HOW OLD LEILA WAS AT THE TIME: 23
WHOM SHE MET: Judy Blume, author of Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever; the Fudge series; and a zillion other books
WHAT HAPPENED:

Leila was standing outside of the Penguin Young Readers Group cocktail party. Her job was to greet guests as they arrived, and to give the authors roses to pin to their lapels.

Judy Blume arrived with her companion. “Hello,” she said. “I’m Judy Blume.”

“Yes,” Leila said, because her brain has stopped working and she couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“I think I’m supposed to get one of those flowers,” Judy Blume suggested after about two minutes of Leila doing nothing except staring.

“She’s an author,” Judy Blume’s companion informed Leila.

Leila gave Judy Blume a flower. It was amazing.

LOCATION: A Bar on the Lower East Side
HOW OLD LEILA AND REBECCA WERE AT THE TIME: 25 (Leila) and 24 (Rebecca)
WHOM THEY MET: Each other! (aw)
WHAT HAPPENED:

Rebecca and Leila were both at a publishing party on a summer day. In what we can only call a “power move,” Leila’s agent sent Rebecca across the bar to fetch Leila. He thought the two would hit it off.

Indeed, they liked each other’s hair, but both thought the other one was at least five years older, and far more accomplished. Rebecca had glossy business cards that really awed Leila, and Rebecca was impressed by the fact that Leila was a legitimately employed book editor. They talked, but it was not particularly epic.

Four months later, in a show of goodwill (desperation), Leila invited Rebecca to be a judge with her at a young writers’ competition. The two bonded over food allergies, party dresses, love of chocolate and, of course, books.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Tell us about a time when you met an author in the comments section!