Books Magazine

Meeting a "Real Live Author"

By Carolinearnoldtravel @CarolineSArnold
When I was growing up, I never had the chance to meet a “real live author” and it never occurred to me that writing or illustrating books for children was something that I could do for a living.  I hope that some of the children I meet when I do author visits to schools might be inspired to consider writing or illustrating as a career.
   I enjoy school visits because they put me in touch with my audience.  Now that my own children are grown, it is good for me to meet kids, to hear how they talk, find out what interests them, and get a sense of how they are using books like mine. In my presentation, I try to show them that what I do when I write my books is exactly what they do when they are writing a story or report in school.  Just like they do, I start with an idea, then I do research, and then I write, and rewrite, and rewrite, the story.  Recently, at a school visit, one boy asked me what was my favorite part about writing.  My answer was, when I’m done!  Writing is hard work.  A lot of people think that because I’m a professional writer that writing is easy, I do it really fast, and it comes out perfect the first time.  I wish it did.  Writing isn’t easy, I don’t do it fast, and it never comes out perfect the first time.  But when I’m finally done, and every word is just right, it is a terrific feeling.  Then I know the story is ready to go to my publisher, and hopefully, to be made into a book.
   When I visit schools, the kids are always enthusiastic and full of questions at the end of my presentation.  My favorite question came from a boy who wanted to know if I had the chance to meet one extinct animal in real life, what would it be?  I’m still considering the answer.  I’ve written about quite a few extinct animals–dinosaurs, pterosaurs, mammoths, giant sharks, and more, but I’m not sure I’d really like to see a real one up close.  Perhaps a small, feathered dinosaur might be fun.

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