I have been fortunate to volunteer in my granddaughter, Olivia’s classroom since she started school. Every year, every teacher has been amazing and has allowed me to put some of my teaching experience to use. Now that Olivia is in fourth grade, her teacher has scheduled writer’s workshop during my weekly time in class just so I can help.
Last week, just before I showed up, I had uploaded my Us, Now and Then cover and blurb to both Amazon and Smashwords and set the release date for April 1. I was practically fizzing with excitement when I whispered the news to my granddaughter. The news spread. In fact, the teacher took the opportunity to have the kids interview a “real author.”
Here are some of the questions they asked and my responses.
- What’s your book about? Second chances and about never being too old to change, to learn, to do something new. And about learning that we are enough.
- Where did you get the idea? From something that happened to a friend of mine a long time ago.
- Is the book true? Is it about you and your friend? No. It’s fiction. My friend and I were both nice girls from nice families, who went to the same school and the same church. I had to make my characters different. “Aahhh,” the teacher added. “Not enough conflict.”
- Can we read it? Not right now, but maybe when you’re older.
- What is the setting? When does it happen and how old is the main character? The story happens mostly in Carson City, Nevada between 1956-2003, the main characters are six when it begins and in their 50s when it ends. There are other locations, but most of the action takes place in Northern Nevada along the Eastern Sierra.
- What’s the problem? The main character doesn’t believe she’s enough and makes some regrettable choices early in her life. She doesn’t figure things out until she’s much older.
- How long did it take to write? I wrote seventy thousand words during National Novel Writing Month in 2008 and have been rewriting it ever since. So, this project is older than most of you. Sadly, after reading my first draft, my writers’ group, said things like, “Good writing, but where’s the story?” Here, the teacher reminded kids about what she called the “story mountain,” and rising action. They nodded knowingly.
This is when our chat stopped and students got to work crafting the first drafts of their original fairy tales. From the questions they asked, I believe they have begun to understand the elements of story and are on their way to their own happily ever after, perhaps as “real authors” themselves someday.