Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Joy of Classroom Visits (no, really)

I've had the privilege of visiting several dozen high schools as a visiting author. Ironically, since I'm also I teacher, I have to take a personal day to go teach at other schools. I'd like to go over the questions I'm asked most often:


"Did you always want to be an author?"
Nope. I never wrote a thing until I was 25.

"What advice can you give to an aspiring author?"
Start now, write what interests you, get peer feedback, don't get frustrated, and above all, have fun.

"How do you get your ideas?"
Memories, random stuff that piques my interest, and coffee. Lots of coffee.

"How do you deal with writer's block?"
Time. If you can come up with a better solution, let me know for the love of God.

"Would you look at something I've written?"
Yes (but they often never send it to me).

"Are any of your characters based on real people?"
Just about all of them.

"What's the best part about being a writer?"
Hearing from readers.

"What's the hardest part?"
Hearing from critics.

"Do you have any say over the cover art?"

"What's your favorite book?"

Do you outline? (usually asked by a teacher during a lull)
No. Pure chaos. It amazes me what my characters end up doing.

LGBT (Almost Perfect)

"Why did you write a book about a transgender girl?"
I just wanted to write a boy meets girl story that hadn't been done a thousand times.

"Did you have to do a lot of research?"
God, yes. And after interviewing all those real life Sages (the main character), I knew I had to at least try to tell their story.

"Have you ever gotten in trouble for writing a book like that?"
I've only ever received one piece of hate mail. And I seriously doubt it was really from baseball great Don Mattingly.

About Me

"Has anyone ever told you that you look like Zach Galifianakis?"
Many times.

"Will you sign my arm?"
I don't sign body parts.

"Why did you insult John Green when you signed my book?"
Because he's more successful than me. Duh.

From Elementary Students

"Do you write books?"

"What's your favorite book you wrote?"
Playing With Matches

"Are you a writer?"

"Do you write books?"