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My Favorite Author Isn’t Who I Expected

My Favorite Author Isn’t Who I Expected

When a bookworm meets her literary idol, she discovers inspiration in the most unexpected way.

For Emily, meeting author Isabelle Dubois was a dream come true. But when the woman behind her favorite swashbuckling heroes turns out to be timid and frail, Emily’s world turns upside down. Could it be that our idols are less important than the dreams they ignite within us?

Emily clutched the battered copy of “Moonlight Sonata” to her chest, her heart pounding like a drum solo. Today wasn’t just a book signing; it was the fulfilment of a lifelong dream. Isabelle Dubois, author of lush historical romances and Emily’s literary idol, would be there in the flesh.

The bookstore buzzed with anticipation. Emily snagged a spot near the front, picturing herself asking Isabelle an insightful question, something that would showcase her devotion and earn a knowing smile in return.

Finally, Isabelle Dubois took the stage. She was…tiny. Frail, even. Her voice, instead of the rich, vibrant tone Emily imagined, was soft and hesitant. This was the woman who painted such passionate heroes?

“Thank you all for coming,” Isabelle began, her face flushing slightly under the spotlights. “It’s always…overwhelming, these events.”

Emily’s disappointment twisted into a pang of sympathy. Her idol was clearly uncomfortable.

The Q&A session began. Instead of gushing over Isabelle’s work, other fans launched into long-winded speeches about how her books changed their lives. Isabelle listened patiently, but Emily saw the strain in her smile. When the moderator finally pointed to her, Emily took a deep breath.

“Ms. Dubois,” she began, “I’ve often wondered, where do you draw inspiration for characters so full of strength and passion, when you yourself seem…” Emily swallowed, suddenly unsure, “…so gentle?”

The room stilled. Isabelle blinked, then a genuine smile bloomed. “Ah, finally, a question about the work, not the woman. You see, dear, my characters live a life I never could. They are the boldness I admire, the adventures I crave from the safety of my armchair. Writing isn’t about being who you are, but imagining who you could become.”

…Writing isn’t about being who you are, but imagining who you could become.”

Isabelle paused, her gaze drifting as if searching for the right words. “Take my most famous heroine, Lady Eleanor. Brash, defiant, with a sharp wit and a thirst for adventure. People often ask, ‘Is she based on you?’ I always laugh. No, dear me, no. Eleanor was born from a winter night years ago. I was trapped by a snowstorm in a lonely country inn, the wind howling like a beast at the windows. That night, I wasn’t a meek spinster, I was Eleanor, facing down imaginary highwaymen with a fireplace poker!”

A ripple of laughter swept through the audience.

“Eleanor was the woman I wished I had the courage to be. But here’s the secret,” Isabelle leaned in, her voice softening, “By giving her that courage, I found a little for myself. With each swashbuckling duel she fought, each witty retort she penned, I became bolder in my own quiet life. My heroes and heroines, they aren’t just characters, they’re stepping stones. They show us a path towards the person we want to be.”

Emily felt a rush of warmth. Not just admiration for Isabelle, but a spark of recognition. Wasn’t that why she’d been so drawn to Isabelle’s books? They offered a glimpse of a bolder, more adventurous Emily.

“So you see,” Isabelle continued, a twinkle in her eye, “While I may not leap from balconies or match wits with dastardly dukes, I live those adventures through my characters. And perhaps,” she smiled directly at Emily, “you do too.”

That night, Emily left with more than a signed book. She left with a newfound sense of possibility. Her idols weren’t meant to be worshipped, but to be admired, to be learned from. And just like Isabelle found strength in her fictional creations, Emily felt a surge of determination. Perhaps her own adventures wouldn’t involve sword fights or grand balls, but they would be hers, written page by page in the story of her own life.

The room erupted in applause, but Emily was pondering Isabelle’s words. For years, she’d put Isabelle on a pedestal, assuming her favorite author possessed all the qualities her characters did. She’d felt inadequate by comparison.

The signing line moved slowly. When it was Emily’s turn, Isabelle looked up, surprise flickering in her eyes.

“You were the girl with the insightful question,” she said.

“I didn’t mean to sound rude,” Emily blurted out.

Isabelle’s smile was warm. “Not rude, just honest. And your question made me remember why I do this.” She signed Emily’s book, then added a line Emily would cherish forever: To the girl who understands.

Driving home, Emily wasn’t just excited about the autographed book. She was buzzing with a new realization. Perhaps our idols were less important than what they inspired within us. Maybe courage wasn’t the absence of fear, but the willingness to create it on the page… and within yourself.

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