So on Wednesday I went back to high school. LOL Although, not really. I went to visit the book group to talk to them about writing, publishing and creativity in general.I honestly went thinking that it was going to be a small, intimate thing. Maybe 10 student….15 tops. Boy oh boy, was I in for a surprise. They had a whole room with chairs, snacks, drinks, lots and lots of chairs. Sigh. I could feel the panic attack coming. But luckily the librarian was very sweet and gave me a minute to compose myself.
Have I mentioned that I don’t do public speaking all that well? I mean…who puts an introverted author in front of a group of teenagers?! LOL But it went very well. The whole thing started at 10:15AM. There were three different groups of kids and they each got roughly 30 minutes to speak to me and ask me questions. I started talking about how I got started writing, and how I learned about the publishing industry. I was able to bring my old copy of the Writer’s Market book and left it at the library for the students to peruse at their leisure. I also left three different magazines The Writer, Writer’s Digest andWriting Basics.
The first group was the most chatty. There were at least 13-14 kids and they asked a lot of really good questions. Here are some of the really good questions and my answer.
1. Do I make a living as an author?
No, I’m a stay at home mom. I write for fun. But it’s one of those hobbies that if you’re lucky will pay off in the long run.
2. Did I go to college?
I did but I wasn’t paying attention to class. So I decided to focus all of my attention on writing because I didn’t want to waste my money and time pursuing something I wasn’t passionate about.
3. What’s a query letter? (Valid question because some kids know next to nothing about the publishing industry)
A query letter is like a letter of introduction to an agent or a publisher. You use that letter to tell them what your book is about and what you’ve published in the past.
4. I’m not a writer, but I want to become an illustrator someday. Are there jobs for artists?
Yes! You can be an illustrator. Pick up a copy of the Writer’s Market book, there are different versions of it and there is one called Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market.
5. Where do your characters come from? Do you use real people?
My characters come from completely random places. I rarely use real people though. I’ll occasionally use little snippets of conversations here and there if they’re really funny and I’ll put it in my book. But my characters are mostly made up.
6. Student: How did you do it?
Me: Do what?
Student: Get everything in the book to make sense? *She had just finished reading The Jackets*
I think about how life is. While you’re here in school living your life, there are a million other things happening at the exact same time…just in different places. Let’s say you’re here talking to me, but somewhere else your mom is at home doing…whatever. We’re all connected in one way or another and that’s what I tried to do with The Jackets. Does that make sense to you?
Student: Nodded and smiled. *she got it* 😉
7. Do you use any of your real life experiences in your book?
8. You mentioned you started writing in your journal. Do you use any of your journal entries in your book?
Yes. That was actually my first book Note to Self. I used my hot mess of a dating life and turned into a crappy book that is now out of print…you’re welcome. 🙂
Anyway those are some of the little nuggets I can remember at the moment. I’ll update it if I can remember anything else. I didn’t get a chance to take too many pictures (the librarian took some and I’ll post them here later), but here’s one I took with my cellphone.
Oh and I forgot to mention that the first group was approx. 14 students. Then the second group was 5-6 kids and the third and final group was a whopping 20-25 students. So yeah. It was awesome and scary in a good way. 🙂