Do we all remember the first time we met our agents in person? You've been talking on the phone and emailing for ages and now there is no procrastinating it. You need to meet in person. The getting ready, the preparing how you're going to greet them, the whole "I hope they're just as cool in real life thing"... so much like going on that first date with a long-distance significant other.
My first date with Ms. Sha-Shana Crichton went something like this:
She was in Seattle for the Northwest Pacific Writing Association Conference in 2004. Though I was a member, I couldn't attend that year due to a work crisis. I live about 20 minutes away from the airport hotel where it was being held. At this point, she had represented me for around three months and we were working on a new project to shop around.
We'd already spoken on the phone and sent email and decided we would meet at the airport hotel on the Saturday night at 7, after her appointments were complete.
I nervously slipped into my favorite Express black wrap-dress and pink sparkly sandals. I checked the directions to the hotel three times, forced myself to wait till 6:30. Then I started my drive. I had all these visions of what she would be like. On the phone, she had the most awesome Jamaican accent and was all business.
I arrived at the hotel right on schedule and called her on her cell-phone. No answer. Oh damn.
I tried again after 5 minutes. She answered breathlesslessly. "I'm so sorry, my last appointment is going over. Could you give me 15 minutes?"
Hell yea I would!
I sat down in the lounge and watched as the very faboulous Katie McAllister practically ran from the hotel after being mobbed by vampire teenager loving fans. I watched groups of nervous writers chattering as they went over the agent requests they'd gotten.
Then Sha-Shana arrived like a vision. She wore a sleeveless blue dress and a green pashmina and greeted me with a fierce hug. "Let's get out of here!"
I had not planned for this.
I lead her to my car and we stated driving. And driving. We discussed her flight, the past two days, the overall feel of the conference. And we kept driving because I couldnt think of a single place to go for dinner near the airport. :)
Finally we arrived at Dennys. We talked about the book for around 20 minutes as we waited for my sandwich and her salad to arrive. As soon as our food arrived, all work talk stopped. We discussed Indian culture, Jamaican culture, what it means to be a parent, life, weight-loss, men, just every topic you could think of. We spent over an hour sitting there in that cramped booth, untouched coconut cream pie in front of me and just go to know each other. It was fantastic. She was fun, creative, fun-loving, and extremely extremely cool.
I loved her.
And then i drove her back to the hotel and made her promise to come back the following year :)
So that was my first date with Ms. Sha-Shana. Since then we've attended the Golden Hearts dinner in Reno together, taken a nap on the couches in Atlanta, and will be meeting again this weekend in Seattle for the Emerald City. She is more than an agent: she's a good friend and I feel very lucky to have her in my life.