Q&A With Bedford Junior High School

Have I ever told you that teaching is one of my all-time favorite things I’ve ever done? Now, don’t get me wrong. Teaching middle school and high school is not all candy canes and lollipops. There was a whole lot of “Hey, I really don’t wanna wake up at 5:15 and haul my butt to a classroom with bleary-eyed teenagers while we review the underpinnings of benevolence in Romeo and Juliet.”

There was some of that.

But mostly, there was a lot of love. I loved the subjects I taught - English, Reading and of course, Creative Writing. (I once taught sex education to 7th graders, which is an entirely different spectrum of teaching, and we won’t go into that.) But though I loved the subjects I was lucky enough to teach, I mostly loved the kids. I just really enjoyed talking to teenagers on a daily basis and hearing whatever brilliant or annoying or smart-mouthed or incredibly wise things they had to say.

So, when I get the chance to do a Q&A with a group of kids over Skype? I’m all in with both feet.

Bedford Junior High teachers Connie Matlow and Lauren DePorre coach a group of writing students, and assistant principal Heather Johnson asked me if I’d be willing to chat with them. I maintained my composure as I’m prone to do.

Actual proposal:

Ms. Johnson: “Would you be interested in doing a Q&A session with a group of student writers?”

Me: “I WOULD LOVE TO ARE YOU SERIOUS WHEN CAN WE GET THIS SET UP OMG”

Her: “Perfect. I’ll let Connie and Lauren know you’re availa…”

Me: “YES I AM AVAILABLE THIS IS GOING TO BE AMAZING WOOOOO”

Her: “So, does May 30th work?”

Me: “YISSSSSSSSSSS”

Her:

Me: *ahem* "Yes, yes it does.”

We Skyped one late, sunny morning in May, and the kids asked brilliant questions: “What sorts of tropes should I avoid when I write fantasy?” “How long did it take you to actually write GRAVEMAIDENS?” and “What’s the most difficult thing you’ve experienced in the process of publishing a book?” among others. I waded into a bit of my writing process and chatted about having a growth mindset and not just persistence.

The bottom line? I’m pretty sure it benefited me more than the kids, and I’m down to do it again whenever. I miss the kids I used to teach every day. This group reminded me of the passion young people can bring to an event, and I strongly suspect we’re going to get some great stories out of that classroom.

Bedford

Hey Bedford parents! If you’re interested in grabbing a copy of GRAVEMAIDENS, my YA fantasy (the kids heard all about it), you can preorder a signed, personalized copy, here!