I'm always happy to speak locally, and I got a chance to do that earlier this week at Atascadero High School. While I've travelled all over the country to speak, and even outside the U.S. a couple times, this was absolutely one of my favorite visits.
No, it wasn't because I got to sign two foreheads. Although, that was cool (usually, I only get asked to sign one forehead per school...if that!). The reason I loved this visit was mostly because the students in Ms. Hogan's Honors English classes had all read Thirteen Reasons Why.
I spoke to three of her classes, with each period lasting about 90 minutes. I wasn't required to stay the entire time, but because the classes had all discussed my book before the visit, they all had more than enough questions to keep me there.
And that's what made it fun! Their questions were extremely insightful, wanting to know my feelings about certain things that happened in the book and my thought process behind certain scenes.
When I speak to professional writers I rarely get this level of questioning, which gave me an opportunity to explore some new aspects of putting together a story.
Then I spoke in the school library...after eating a yummy salad provided by the district librarian, Ms. Bell, who also organized this visit. Before I spoke, though, we saw a great anti-bullying student video and heard from a Peer Helper at the school. (By the way, this school has a Wellness Center. Does the high school in your community have a place like this? Because it should!)
Thanks for being a great audience, Atascadero. Thank you for your great questions. And the stories some of you shared privately will stick with me forever.