Last week I had the pleasure of visiting one of the largest high schools just outside of Washington D.C., and it was a total blast. I spent the day hanging out in my dear friend Ilse's classroom and got to chat with lots of 9th graders about writing.
It was a bit nerve-wracking at first, but the students were terrific. I started off my talk in each class by asking questions.
"Because I write for teens," I said, "I need to know the language. What's the latest terminology? I need to know the latest buzzwords, the newest lingo, the urban words of the day. I already know what a roller (pronounced "rollah," natch) is. What else is new?" That got a laugh. And then they pelted me with jargon, some of which I'm proud to say I already knew, but most of it was new to me.
I also asked what they were reading, and got some great feedback there too. We talked about my book, WAKE, a little, and they had some terrific suggestions for me. They asked great questions, like, "How do write a book that is going to be part of a series?" And "How do you get through writing the boring parts of the books?"
Of course I answered, "My books don't have any boring parts." *grin*
One of the best parts of the trip was having tons of bling to give out to the school. Many, MANY thanks to my amazing publisher, Simon Pulse, for donating EIGHT CARTONS of books for the school's summer reading program!! Holy moley, I was blown away by their generosity, as was the teacher and the head of the English Department.
And big thank yous go to my YA author buddies who provided me with signed copies of their books to hand out, as well as buttons, bookmarks, and pencils. You guys made my visit really special. Here's the list of the great folks who helped out -- click on their names to learn about their books:
Antonio Pagliarulo -- CELEBUTANTES - ON THE AVENUE (just released!)
Heather Brewer -- EIGHTH GRADE BITES (comes out in August!)
Caridad Ferrer -- ADIOS TO MY OLD LIFE (her new book IT'S NOT ABOUT THE ACCENT comes out August 21)
Renee Rosen -- EVERY CROOKED POT (on bookshelves in 3 weeks!!)
Richard Lewis -- THE KILLING SEA (he even sent a postcard from Bali to go with the book!)
And Ilse, you're a bun. Thanks for inviting me!