"Excuse me," I waited for a lull in the conversation before interrupting an author as he looked out the large window. Below patrons and cosplayers, vendors and celebrities milled about like ants looking for food or swords or signed photographs or whatever things they wanted to buy or do during the three day event.
"I have a couple of questions about "Insert Book Title Here." He left his friends, shook my hand, and said, "Sure, let's go sit down."
We did, and a half hour later, I got up, thanked him for his time, and assumed by role as an ant on the convention floor.
But, the time we spent talking, that made all the difference.
The man that I interrupted is a well-known author, a very well-known author. As far as book sales and name recognition, he's probably in the top five Utah authors of all time. And here I was, my book sales total in the tens, asking him if I could pose a few questions.
I didn't expect to have a one-on-one interview with him, which is what ultimately happened.
Part of becoming a better writer comes from reading, or it should. I have been reading this man's book which is part of a series and as I read, questions that a writer would want to know kept coming to my brain. Did that really happen? Do those people or that place really exist? I know non-writers ask the same questions, but as I'm formulating characters and events for my story, I look to those who have successfully done it for direction.
He told me of the inspiration that spawn the book and the series, which I found as fascinating as the books themselves. I'm sure a non-fiction telling of his experiences would sell, too. He told me of how those--like myself--had approached him to relate personal stories they had while reading his words. He also shared some of the readers's experiences. It verified the reasons people create art. They do it for others, but also for themselves.
I seriously doubt, under normal circumstances, that I would ever have been able to sit down with this man and have the conversation we had Saturday afternoon in the Green Room at the 2016 Salt Lake Comic Con FanX event. We're both busy with family, work, responsibilities. But, that's what makes these events special. It makes them personal, bring people physically together in spaces where we share stories, ask questions, express feelings, and even confess a little bit. After spending a half hour with this author, I better understand not only his words, but the reason they exist. "I wanted to make a difference," he said. "Otherwise, it's just noise, and there's a lot of noise out there."
The Green Room has always been a place to step away from the madness of an event like this. For us, just two writers talking, it became something more. At least it did for me.