They met the author face to face

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 20, 2007

COURTLAND-Carnegie Hall recently became a world of wizardry for 2,000 contest winners and guests-including two residents of Courtland.

Pat Hartman and her daughter, Mercer, 10, entered a competition sponsored by Scholastic Books. They were among 1,000 winners nationwide.

The duo received the opportunity to meet the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling, at the concert hall in New York City. Each winner also was to receive an autographed copy of the last of the author’s seven books in this series, &uot;Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows.&uot;

Pat said, &uot;Mercer has read every Harry Potter book and had already planned to go as a wizard for Halloween. Her entire room is Harry Potter.&uot;

No photography was allowed inside Carnegie Hall, so Pat had to take pictures of Mercer in her wizard costume outside the building, where the 2,000 ticket holders gathered for early entry.

&uot;Most of them were dressed in Harry Potter costumes,&uot; said Pat. &uot;We were on our way to dinner and saw everyone lined up already.

&uot;We thought we were going to miss something, so we didn’t even eat anything except snacks.&uot;

The wait to get in proved to be a piece of cake compared to the wait to get an autographed book.

&uot;She signed them by (seating) sections,&uot; Pat said. &uot;We waited 2 1/2 hours.&uot;

Pat noted she was impressed, however, that the author physically signed every single copy on the spot that evening.

Mercer said, &uot;It was really fun, but the wait was boring. She signed 2,000 books and we were close to the last.

&uot;She (Rowling) sounds nice. She said I looked very pretty.&uot;

Pat added some detail to that scenario that she said would probably embarrass Mercer, but the circumstances were certainly understandable.

&uot;She had already planned what she was going to say to J.K. Rowling,&uot; Pat said. &uot;She was going to tell her how the last book came out on her birthday. There was a set of twins in the book who were mischievous and she wanted to tell her that she was a twin, too, but she didn’t act that way.

&uot;She had fell asleep while we were waiting, and when she got up there, (J.K.) said oh you look so beautiful tonight.

&uot;All Mercer could say was, ‘Thank you.’ She was so tired.&uot;

Pat said the author read from the book, had a question-and-answer period and was very personable with the crowd. She is proud of her daughter for reading all of the books, especially during a time when computers and games are so popular. That point was brought up during the author’s introduction, with kudos to her for getting the youth back to reading.

While the Big Apple was fun to visit, Mercer was ready to head back home.

She said, &uot;There was so much air pollution. It smelled bad.&uot;

The 10-year-old is disappointed that there will be no more Harry Potter books, saying, &uot;I’d hope she’d have 20.&uot;

But already earning 144 Accelerated Reader points since the beginning of the school year at Southampton Academy, the lack of Potter books hasn’t dampened her passion for reading.

&uot;Right now, I’m reading ‘101 Ways to Bug Your Teacher,’&uot; she said.