All writers have them. Those authors we admire and strive to emulate. Lots of the usual suspects are on my list: Deborah Wiles, Karen Cushman, Deborah Hopkinson, Kate DiCamillo, Karen Hesse, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Richard Peck.
This past summer I had the opportunity to attend the national SCBWI Conference in Los Angeles. Richard Peck gave one of the keynote speeches, and I was enthralled. He has a wonderfully deep voice, the kind that is perfectly suited to a storyteller. As I listened to him weave his magic, I whispered to my friend, "I'd listen to this man read the phone book." Yes, he really is that good.
Last night an email popped up notifying me about my critique session for the Florida SCBWI Conference in Miami. Richard Peck is my assigned critiquer! I have a date with Richard Peck. Granted, it's only fifteen minutes, but it's destined to be one of those special memories that I dust off when rejection letters fill my mailbox.
Forget winning a date with Tad Hamilton. I'll take Richard Peck any day!