Connect with J.W. LYNNE on

That time I met John Green!

Reading John Green’s books has made me a better writer, possibly even a better person. And so, when I found out that he would be participating in a Conversation (Q and A session) at the 2014 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, I hoped that I would get the chance to meet him.

About a week beforehand, as soon as tickets to John Green’s Q and A session became available, I sat at my computer, refreshing the ticket order form over and over until I got tickets. Minutes later, I realized how lucky I had been when I saw that the tickets were all sold out.
 At the festival, I waited in line for over an hour because I wanted to score one of the best seats (close to the stage), as I was hoping to have the chance to ask a question during the Q and A. The time flew by thanks to conversation with the John Green fans waiting with me.
All my efforts felt worth it once I was sitting in a packed auditorium full of excited energy, listening to John talk about his work, his characters, and his thoughts about the world in general. I’d seen John on YouTube, but there is something about seeing someone in person that I feel is very revealing about their personality. John seemed honest and humble.
John shared that he often injects his real-life experiences into his books, for example, like Miles “Pudge” Halter in Looking for Alaska, John went to boarding school, and a friend of his died unexpectedly while he was there. The line, “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia,” in Looking for Alaska was something that his future wife said to him on a date.

John commented on the yet-to-be-released new movie, The Fault in Our Stars, based on his book by the same name (This is the first of (probably) many movies based on John Green's novels. It will be released in the United States on June 6, 2014). John said that he has seen the completed film and “I really think it’s good.” He added that, toward the end of the movie, the screenwriter made a significant departure from the book. He admitted that, when he read the script, he wondered why he "hadn’t thought of that.”

When it was my turn to ask a question, I bravely stepped up to the microphone. My heart pounded ferociously in my chest. It was my chance to meet John Green, and it was about to happen in front of hundreds of people.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hi,” I said. And then I asked this question…

Then he moved on to the next questioner, and I went back to my seat where the reality of our very brief meeting finally sank in. I wish I’d told John how much he’d inspired me. I wish I’d said thank you. And so, John, if you’re reading this, thank you for inspiring me! And I hope you get that special time with your brother, Hank!
I met John Green (Author of Looking for Alaska (2005), An Abundance of Katherines (2006), Paper Towns (2008), Will Grayson, Will Grayson (2010),The Fault in Our Stars (2012), and Turtles All the Way Down (2017)) on April 12th, 2014, at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

 (note: Green's novels are listed above in order of publishing, with publication year in parentheses.)