Janice Williams Loves Austin And sometimes I write about it.

April 3, 2011

Sarah Bird’s Stalker

Filed under: Austin,Reading,Writing — Janice @ 9:57 pm

I have often referred to myself as Sarah Bird’s stalker. But I thought about not going to her public reading of her new book yesterday and decided, no, I’m a good fan. An author should like someone like me being at their public readings.

And, if I were a stalker, I would have some idea of what part of Austin she lives in and I don’t have a clue. I would expect it is one of the cooler older neighborhoods that has big trees and lots of ferns and ivy growing under those trees. The neighborhoods where people take walks and often drop by their neighbors for a glass of wine after work.

I don’t know if I’ve written about my Sarah Bird love before or not. If you don’t know who she is, she is my favorite author. Period. No question about it, no others come close. She’s the only author I can say I’ve read everything they’ve written (though I’m really lying when I say it about her because I haven’t read the romances she wrote under another name). My friend Beth told me about Sarah Bird in about 1988. I can pinpoint it to that era because I was traveling for a living. I think Beth had recommended The Boyfriend School and said I should read it. This, of course, was before the age of Amazon and easy access to any book in the world. I was traveling with my job then and I went into a fabulous bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and found Alamo House by Sarah Bird. It was her first novel so it was a good place to start.

Alamo House was fabulous and is still a favorite because of the Austin setting. I got The Boyfriend School at the library and loved it even more. Again, Austin setting (though this was long before I lived here and really knew how true to the city it was). Next up, The Mommy Club came out and that was the first I bought brand new. And that was when, I guess, the stalking began. I drove to Arlington, I think, for a book signing and bought it and my own copy of The Boyfriend School.

Then I met Mark and soon he knew how much I loved Sarah Bird. On HIS birthday he went to a book signing and got me a personalized copy of Virgin of the Rodeo when I couldn’t be there because I had to be at work.

I hope you appreciate how much I’m condensing this story.

We moved to Austin and I had the THRILL of my life when Sarah Bird emailed me at the radio station one day. I have my friend Ann to thank for that because Ann had somehow been in touch with Sarah about a book and Sarah had lost her email, but Ann had mentioned how I had started her reading Sarah Bird books…. so she emailed me. What a high!

So then I bought her book The Flamenco Academy at a book signing and got to introduce myself in person to her… for the first time with her sort of knowing who I was now.

Somehow the Yokota Officer’s Club came out and I didn’t get an autographed copy of it (I don’t think — I’ll have to check!). It is an amazing book and different, really, from all the others. Funny, but much more serious at the same time. j

If I already didn’t have a huge girl crush on Sarah, she really won me over when I ran into her at the Austin Chronicle Music Awards a few months after I was laid off. I went over and reintroduced myself and told her I had been laid off. Her response? “The bastards!” I loved that.

Next was How Perfect Is That that came out 2 years ago. Again, I don’t think I got an autographed copy because that seems silly now that we are friends.

And now I am eagerly awaiting The Gap Year that comes out July 5.

I went to a writer’s festival yesterday sponsored by the Texas Observer and heard Sarah read from it. I almost didn’t go to the festival because I was busy and had so many things that I needed to do. But my wise mother said, “How many people get to go hear their favorite author read? You should go.” She was right and I did.

I didn’t stay to say hi to Sarah this time. I let others who might just be beginning their life of reading her books have a shot at her. I did buy a hardback copy of The Boyfriend School to add to my shelf of Sarah books. It won’t replace the paperback I’ve had for 20 years, but just add a copy that I might be willing to loan. I don’t have a hardback of Alamo House since those are few and far between, but my dog-eared, much read and loved copy of Alamo House is still treasured.


  1. I have signed firsts of all Sarah’s early books, including a true first of Alamo House (btw–did you know the mass-market edition of that book has a completely different ending from the hardback?). I started buying her stuff when I worked at Congress Avenue Books, ‘cos (of course) we had signings for her and I’d get them then. I think I even have, laid into one of them, a hand-made Christmas card she sent to the store’s then-manager.

    Comment by Marchbanks — April 4, 2011 @ 9:07 pm

  2. Love, love, love Sarah Bird. I so remember reading The Boyfriend School (that you recommended). I was so drawn into it. Very few books take me so deeply into the story that I have to reorient myself to reality once I stop reading. Sarah’s books do that for me. (yes, I’m jealous you know her. We’re BFBFF (best FB friends forever). Does that count?

    Comment by Mackie — April 6, 2011 @ 11:10 pm

  3. I’ve known and loved Sarah since our boys were in middle school. She’s is a beautiful human being AND a fabulous writer. I’m sorry I missed her book reading last week. Oh, well, there’s always the next signing, right?

    Comment by Paula — April 11, 2011 @ 8:34 pm

  4. I’m sorry I missed her book reading last week. Oh, well, there’s always the next signing, right? I’ve known and loved Sarah since our boys were in middle school. She’s is a beautiful human being AND a fabulous writer.

    Comment by Paula — April 11, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

  5. I too am a fan. But oddly enough, due to the movie version of The Boyfriend School that came on cable one day when I was half-watching tv/half doing something else. A while later, I was at a book store idly perusing the shelves, and saw a paperback with the notation that it had inspired the movie “Don’t Tell Her It’s Me.” Hey! That’s the movie I saw and liked! Bought the book, and even though it wads different in many ways from the movie (aren’t they all?) I was hooked. Immediately went out snagging books. Most out of print, but Virgins of the Rodeo had just been issued. I hooked several acquaintances who in turn hooked their friends into the “Cult of Sarah.”

    Despite the fact that the movie was scoffed at, I still love it, as it introduced me to Sarah and her quirky characters. Who I totally relate to.

    Comment by Judy Kriehn — June 16, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

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