Laughter erupted from the Indiana Memorial Union on Monday night as IU alumna and world-renowned author Meg Cabot flipped through a PowerPoint recounting her life to a crowd full of fans at the signing of her new book.
During the event, Cabot, author of “The Princess Diaries,” took pictures with her fans, answered questions from the crowd regarding her current and past work in a question-and-answer session, and ended with signing copies of her new novel “The Boy is Back,” which releases Tuesday.
“The idea for this new book came from the basement of a relative of mine,” Cabot said.
Cabot showed a picture of the cluttered basement and said they had to hire a person to help her family members get rid of some of their possessions. That hired person was the inspiration for one of her main characters with the same occupation.
The novel, intended for an older audience, is written completely through emails, journal entries, Amazon reviews and text messages. It tells the story of a man who hires his ex-girlfriend in order to help his family members get rid of their belongings.
Cabot told her audience that the death of her father was also the beginning of her career and her inspiration behind becoming an author.
“I realized we don’t have a lot of time in life,” Cabot said. “If there is something you really love doing, then you need to do it.”
The author, who was born in Bloomington, said her parents stressed the importance of education at a young age. Her father, a former professor of quantitative business analysis at IU, and her mother, a third grade teacher, inspired her writing in a variety of ways, Cabot said.
Casey Hennings, an IU sophomore and fan of Cabot’s work, said she was excited to see the author and her previous works make an appearance at IU.
“I have read books by Meg Cabot in the past, but seeing all of the amazing books that are on display, there are definitely books I want to see in the future,” Hennings said. “I think it’s an incredible opportunity on campus.”
Cabot said her time at IU taught her how to accept criticism and work with people with differing opinions. Cabot said anyone who wants to be an author should not give up on what they want to do.
“If I had just quit after my first rejection, I wouldn’t be standing up here,” Cabot said. “If you’re writing and you’re getting rejected, but you love what you do, what do you have to lose?”