HAVERTOWN— Not one, not two, but six young adult (YA) authors joined Haverford High School students on Friday, October 26 to discuss their writing processes and their most recent publications. Students from a variety of English literature classrooms heard excerpts from the authors’ new books and asked questions of the visiting writers.
Haverford High School English Teacher, Jennifer Ward, said, “We are so thankful to have had this opportunity to hear from six published authors. It is wonderful exposure, great perspective, and, hopefully, motivation for Haverford High students.” Ward continued, “This program would not have been possible without the efforts of Ms. Hebert at Children’s Book World in Ardmore and the librarians at Haverford Township’s Library.”
Students took the opportunity to ask the authors a number of questions, including one on inspiration. Anne Greenwood Brown author of a fantastical new novel about fresh water mermaids in Lake Superior titled Lies Beneath responded with the advice, “ask the question ‘what if?’” Tiffany Schmidt, author of Send Me A Sign, agreed with Ms. Brown’s advice and added, “Be open to the world around you.” Ms. Schmidt encouraged young writers in the audience to listen and find ideas for writing in the most unlikely of places. Anne Nesbet, author of Cabinets of Earth said that we should take Ms. Schmidt’s book title – Send Me A Sign– as advice, too. Nesbet explained, “The world is full of ideas that sometime just come to you at unlikely times and unlikely places. You just have to know to be listening for those ideas.”
Panelists responded to a question about when they knew they wanted to write. K.M. Walton, a former Springfield English teacher, explained that it was when she was writing with her students that she caught the bug to publish her work. Walton’s advice to young writers was to be persistent. She said, “If it is what you love, continue to work at your writing, revising your craft.” It took Walton a few tries before her novel Cracked was published, but she said that it was a story she knew she had to write.
There is no right way to write a book. The authors described their varied writing processes. Elisa Ludwig, author of Pretty Crooked, spoke about framing her stories with elaborate outlines before ever writing a word. E.C. Myers, author of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin, thinks of writing in terms of scenes, often visualizing the key scenes of his book before he writes them out.
The Haverford High School English Department was honored by the author’s commitment of time and anticipates that their students will write many books.