Today my daughter Madison went to the conference with me — she wanted to see R.L. Stine. But first we attended an informative and amusing panel with Lee Child, Michael Palmer and Alex Kava called Thriller Writers Who Write Thrilling Stuff or something like that. I don’t remember. But all the authors were great. Lee said that he already knew the title of his final Jack Reacher story. "It will be called ‘Die Lonely’ and Reacher will be dismembered," he said. "There will be no chance for resurrection for him and I’ll retire." (That’s a quote from memory, so forgive me if it’s not exact).
After that I met the lovely and gracious Tess Gerritsen, who signed a book for me, and then it was off to the R.L Stine luncheon. We ran into Stine outside the ballroom and he was kind enough to sign all of Maddie’s books and chat with her a bit about writing. M. Diane Vogt took a picture of Maddie and Stine together, which was a real thrill for my daughter. Afterwards, though, Maddie was upset that she forgot to ask him the question that she’d been waiting a year to ask. I told her it was okay, I’m sure there would be a question-and-answer session after his presentation.
Sure enough, there was. Maddie nudged me and told me to raise my hand for her. But as soon as the guy brought the microphone over, Maddie froze. "You ask for me, Daddy," and she thrust the book in my hand.
So I did. It’s the story of a mermaid who is captured by bad guys and held captive in an aquarium. There’s a part that didn’t make sense to Maddie, so I read it aloud. The mermaid is so sad, the hero can see tears running down her cheeks. Maddie’s question was: "How can he see tears if she is underwater?"
The audience laughed and Stine did, too. His reply was that the mermaid has to come up for air some time — that must have been one of those times. Of course, Maddie whispers to me "She wasn’t coming up for air, tell him!" I didn’t. The moderator asked Stine if he wanted to take any more questions and, laughing, he said that last question was enough.
Several people afterwards thanked Maddie for asking her good question. But a few others walked past me, shaking their heads in disapproval. I don’t think Stine was embarrassed by the question. He’s a guy who clearly enjoys a good laugh. If he wasn’t, I might have hesitated before passing along her query. But it was a question she really wanted to ask and it was a fair one. I wanted her to learn that it’s okay to ask questions when you don’t understand something.
I know that Thrillfest has thrilled my daughter so, for me, the convention is a big success.