Nora Roberts, Julia Quinn, RWA, WWC . . . and Some Good Ol’ Fashioned Jealousy

Hey everyone!
So I feel like I am on vacation. Even though I am on a college study abroad trip. Maybe this feeling of freedom is because:
  1. I am done with my ten-page paper. Officially.
  2. I have been going to the library regularly and checking out fun books!
  3. I am done with my homestay!
Don’t get me wrong, my homestay parents were nice—we just weren’t the best of fits. And it feels so much better to rely on myself! If I want to stay out at night drinking tequila in a pub . . . that is my call. Okay, so I don’t usually want to spend my time (and money) that way. It’s still an option.
Just like curling up in the library giggling over romance novels is an option.
Speaking of which, it’s almost time for the RWA conference! For those of you who don’t know what this acronym stands for . . . shame on you!
The Romance Writers of America Conference is one of the few places where you can be walking along, checking out all fun looking books on display when BOOM!
Nora Roberts.
And then when you turn around, ostensibly so you can mouth, No way. That’s Nora Freaking Roberts! Oh. My. God. I’m geeking out! without her noticing, who do you see?
Yeah, Julia Quinn.
And, okay, I have never been to the RWA conference so I cannot say that I’ve actually had this experience. Sadly, I won’t be going this year either. I am going to be too busy finishing my work in progress in my hometown to make it. But I am going to try to read every book up for a RITA this year.
It’s actually probably for the best that I am not going this year. Not just because I would spend way too much money on books and would then want to drive into writing a romance novel of my own. See, I have a feeling I would try to talk to Julia Quinn. Which sounds great in theory because she seems so nice in all of her interviews, except um . . . she went to Harvard. And then she decided, hey, I could be a doctor! even though she had majored in Art History. But being Julia Quinn (aka crazy smart and talented) she got into Yale Med School. Did I mention that she was writing romance novels during this time?
Yeah.
I think I might get an inferiority complex if I stand too close to her.
There are some people like ahem, Julia Quinn, who are so intelligent and successful that it’s impossible not to be a bit in awe of them. Especially as I consider the classes I am registering for next semester. I’m planning on taking Fundamentals of Movement (a theatre course), Great Ideas in Physics (supposedly an easy math course) and Art of Japanese Tea Ceremony. I am not kidding—that is actually offered at my school. And, okay, I am also taking a senior seminar course on Henry James with Rachel Cole, the hardest English professor at Lewis & Clark.
But Julia Quinn could do all of that in her sleep. And write two bestselling novels on the side. Not that I’m jealous or anything.
Oh, wait. Yes, I am!
Unfortunately, my silent reaction to most bits of exciting news is: but why couldn’t I do that?
I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m a spoiled brat. I’m genuinely happy when others succeed—most of the time. It’s just . . . come on! One of my Australian friends told me that her cousin was sitting in first-class when her plane hit some turbulence. Since she’s a nervous flier she was freaking out and just happened to be next to a super attractive doctor who happened to be super sweet and he happened to hold her hand. Then he happened to check up on her the next day.
You know where this story is going, right?
And as we sipped our Starbucks I couldn’t help wondering, why does stuff like that never randomly happen to me? I fly on airplanes! I’m . . . relatively charming!
But here’s the truth: I would not have been freaking out on the plane. I would have been grinning and trying to decide whether plane crashes were too hackneyed and cliché now thanks to Lost. Plus I would not be assigned a seat next to a super hot doctor. I end up next to jewel smugglers who show me pictures of what they looked like a few months ago when someone was paid to beat them up. This sounds super cool but actually . . . kinda creepy.
But I would take a jewel smuggler any day over someone who just sits there in stony silence. Awkward.
But I have a point here!
Okay so the plane example isn’t ideal because it’s not like the cousin accomplished anything besides potentially meeting her soul-mate (according to my friend). I get really jealous when other people are successful in ways that I covet.
Like Emma Watson.
I know that it is ridiculous for me to resent her for getting the role of Hermione Granger especially since 1. It’s not like I auditioned, 2. As an American without a British accent there’s no way in hell I would have been chosen, and 3. She plays the role really well.
But I wanted it. With every fiber or my elementary school heart, I wanted that role.
And that spark of jealousy, well it can make me a bit competitive at times.
So when I read that Meg Cabot wrote a book in 8 DAYS, I thought, challenge accepted!


Luckily, I have a very supportive mother who provides excellent wake-up calls. I believe her words were, “good luck, honey! On your best days you only write how many pages? 12? Okay . . . well, no pressure.”
You might be wondering why I am blogging about this. But the truth is that even though I have a book deal and an agent and a really fantastic life . . . I still compare myself with others all the time. Most of the time I wonder why I can’t be as productive as (blank) who never does marathon romance novel reading events.
But sometimes at school I get this weird feeling that I have to undermine my success. Especially since writing an autobiography is usually seen as an act of vanity. To be fair, they do require the assumption that someone will find your life interesting enough to read it. Plus, it’s hard not to sound narcissistic when it really is all about you! Autobiographies tend to make life complicated when you don’t want other English majors saying: why does the talent-less hack have the book deal? Why isn’t it me!
Not that they say it . . . to my face.
So I’m stuck between the land of Braggertyville and Modestlandia. And while nobody likes the people from Braggertyville (you know the type, the ones who still tell you their SAT scores) it’s just so tempting. Plus Modestlandia can get rather bland.
But then I think about going to the RWA and being surrounded by writers I view with the same reverence some tween girls attach to Justin Bieber and . . . I feel so out of my league.
What does one actually say to Julia Quinn (if one can get her mouth to work properly, of course)?
Um . . . I think you’re amazing! In a non-stalkery way, of course! Not that I would be opposed to stalking you. I bet you’re quite stalkable. It’s just that I don’t do that. Unless it’s on Facebook. But that doesn’t count, right?
Please, please, never let me ever say anything like this in real life!
I find jealousy interesting because everybody feels it but most people can’t admit it. And if you reach a certain level of success you are expected to never be jealous again.
But it totally doesn’t work that way!
I am in awe of people who know how to cook. People who go to the supermarkets and don’t end up with a serious case of visual overload, standing in the produce aisle, staring sightlessly at the yams and pondering the many ways it could be botched. I envy people who are able to follow instructions on the back of packages without feeling the need to revolt. 
The practicalities of life . . . yeah, I’m not so good with them.
And, okay, I’m sure I could handle myself just fine at the RWA conference. But I’m fine with meeting Julia Quinn next year. Hopefully, by then I won’t be quite as intimidated by her success.
The crazy thing is that soon I will be the intimidating one at a conference. Super agent Laurie McLean and I will be on two panels at the Willamette Writers Conference this year in August.
I just got the confirmation email.
 Bagging the Elusive YA – with Laurie McLean    Friday 10:30 – 12    

Win Big at Willamette – panel with Laurie McLean and Grace Ledding            Saturday 8:30-10

So hopefully everyone will be able to make it.
A long, meandering post but that’s what happens when I finish writing a ten-page research paper!
~Marni
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