I was very blessed to be asked to be the featured author at our 8th grade author visit this year! I have never done one of these before, but I have seen other authors visit our school, so at least I had an inkling of what to do–though, since the students know me already, I also decided to turn it into a teaching moment and make it more about the writing process than simply a plug for my book.
Some people are more comfortable speaking in front of people they know, but for me, it’s the opposite. It’s as if the bar is already set, and if I don’t meet or exceed their expectations, then I have failed them.
I expected some kids to be inattentive and to laugh, or make goofy comments, because they would certainly see my quirky side, or just not appreciate this type of thing to begin with–after all, not everybody enjoys writing or listening to a band director talk about writing.
But they surprised me–it was silent. They were all attentive.
One teacher confessed to me later that a girl leaned over and asked her if I ever slept.
I had students come up and congratulate me, telling me what a great job I did. It felt weird, since it’s usually me telling them what a great job they did on things.
There was even a reception and book signing! Some kids made me a t-shirt that depicted Aria and Enzo in paintbrushes. There was a huge banner welcoming me with a drawn cover of my book with some of the students’ favorite quotes all around it.
They made me feel famous for that afternoon.
And they were talking about it the following day, too.
But the best thing of all? I had students–some I had, some I didn’t–come up to tell me that I had inspired them to go home and write. I may not be a best-selling author, but to hear them say that is worth more to me than any accolade I could ever receive.