Seeing Terry Pratchett
Posted by Laurel Wanrow
It’s the fall of 2007 and my daughter learns–probably the night before–that Terry Pratchett will be speaking at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
Can we go?
I’d read a few of his books, but had no idea 1) she liked him so much and 2) there was a book festival with speakers on the National Mall. (I’ve come a long way since then.) She asked. We went.
As popular as he was, I insisted we go to the tent early and get a seat. To her embarrassment, I also made us move up several rows at a break between authors. Hey, we were here to see this guy talk, we were going to see him. And I planned to take pictures using a camera with no telephoto.
Lots of them.
I don’t know if I took notes, as I’ve now done on each other trip I’ve made to the National Book Festival, but I have photos, as you see.
I was very impressed he wore a shirt with a turtle on it, not knowing this was a Discworld theme. I did turtle rehabilitation, so anyone who likes turtles, I like.
The tent was indeed crowded. My daughter stood in line to ask a question, but I don’t believe she made it to the front.
A question someone else asked was, “How long do you spend on developing each of your characters? They’re so memorable.”
Not that long, Terry answered (I won’t quote him, because this is the gist of the answer.) I give each a trait or two that readers know from real life. Then that type of person is so familiar to you and you feel you already know my character.
We had brought my daughter’s books. The line for signing was horrendous. Hours long, I believe, because I only have photos of one other author. I asked my daughter to come up with a question. She couldn’t. Or didn’t.
So I did. “Will you be writing more about Susan and Lobsang?”
What? (I think I flummoxed him.)
“Are they going to have a romance?”
I suppose so. Who else is there for her to be with?
Since 2007, I have read most of the Discworld novels. We own the books, few movies, posters and various other fan-stuff. Today, I’m very teary-eyed.
Rest in Peace, Sir Terry Pratchett.