Meeting Lisa Jewell
Blog Post for the week of 8/15-8/19
Lisa Jewell Meet & Greet
As most of you know, I am Lisa Jewell’s number 1 fan. She is the New York Times best-selling author of “Then She Was Gone,” “The Family Upstairs,” “The Night She Disappeared,” and countless other beautiful novels. Once I had read 7-8 of her books and knew that everything she wrote was pure gold, I followed her on all her social media accounts. Then, a few weeks ago, I came across a post on her story announcing meet & greet events all over the US. The closest one to me was at An Unlikely Story in Plainville, about an hour from Northeastern. I was nervous about the trip but bought the tickets immediately. She was the author I wrote about in my college essay. So how could I not snatch up the opportunity?
I started planning the trip two weeks before the event because I am not used to public transportation. I’ve also had a few horrible experiences with Uber. Initially, I planned on taking an Uber the whole way there and back. However, when I discussed my travel plans with classmates, they gasped at the expense. One of the upper-level students, Will, taught me how to use the MBTA and told me to take the Commuter Rail to Attleboro. From there, I could take an Uber to the store. I stumbled a few times during the journey (I forgot to buy a ticket before getting on the train and wasn’t sure which train to get on), but I arrived at the bookstore safe and on time.
I got to An Unlikely Story an hour early and secured a seat in the first row. While waiting for the event to begin, I had dinner at the bookstore cafe. An Unlikely Story surprised me because they had much more young adult, mystery, thriller, and romance novels than Barnes and Nobles. There was also a huge section for the Diary of A Wimpy Kid because Jeff Kinny owns the book store.
At 7 pm, I returned to my seat and waited for Lisa Jewell and the interviewer – Hank Phillipi Ryan – to come out on stage. They finally came out and dove right into questions about Lisa’s new book, “The Family Remains.” Lisa talked about how she incorporates control and manipulation into all her books. Apparently, she is a survivor of domestic abuse and got much of her inspiration from personal experience. The information hit me hard because 1. My mother is a DV survivor, and 2. I always knew she could not have crafted some of the horrid scenes she wrote without some similar experience.
Hank also asked Lisa about her writing process. Lisa shared that she always has trouble writing a bunch in one sitting. It was nice to know that she is a normal person who can’t help but scroll through social media during work. Lisa also said her ‘self-care’ routine after writing a gruesome scene includes a vodka tonic and Netflix, making the crowd laugh. My favorite part of the interview was how Lisa discussed the significance of a good ending. She said authors owe it to their readers to leave them with intense emotion and a feeling of satisfaction. She aces this in her writing. Every single one of her stories has a satisfying ending and leaves the reader with a new perspective on the world.
The last part of the event was photos and autographs. Since I was in the first row, I got to Lisa pretty quickly. I gave her my letter and my drawing of Ellie and Laurel from “Then She Was Gone.” My letter included personal messages about how her books helped me cope with my depression and anorexia. When I got to her table, I showed her the drawing and asked her to read the letter when she had time. She looked at the drawing and gasped, “This is amazing!” That one phrase made my day, no week, no entire year! She also said my name was lovely and thanked me for coming. I just thought, “Why are you thanking me?! I am in heaven.”
The next day, I posted the picture of us on my Instagram story and tagged her in it. Not only did she re-post my story, but she directly messaged me and thanked me for the letter. I was so happy I could cry. This event was the best experience I have had this year. So, if you are reading this, please, please, please, go check out her work. Even if you are not a thriller enthusiast, it will leave you wanting more.