Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hello to Stirling Senior P.S.

A place for good books - the Kansas City Library. Click on the photo to make it big and see the details. (This picture has nothing to do with this post but isn't it a neat looking building?)
It is Tuesday March 30th and I just had a great experience talking with students at Stirling Senior P.S. and their teacher Mrs. Yearwood. It was my first time using SKYPE for a presentation and it worked really well. (at least from my side it worked well) For a few minutes I read from Leaving Fletchville and also told about the new story I am writing about teenagers Adrian and Kayla sneaking into the mine to find Adrian's father. They had excellent questions for me about writing and how to get a book published. I was impressed by the quality of the questions and the insights some of these students had, especially when they asked if I 'like' some of my characters more than others, and which characters resemble me or people I know. Excellent questions! There are definitely characters writers like to create more than others; in my case it is creating the quiet hero type, a modest person who does what is right to do at the right time. Another very good question was about how a book title is chosen; an editor will choose a title which will help the book sell. My choice for Leaving Fletchville was originally "Can You Keep a Secret?" - and it's called a working title because everyone knows it'll probably get changed, but you need to identify the book when you write a contract. (The contract is a legal agreement between the publisher and the writer; the writer promises to deliver the full manuscript, work with an editor to edit it within a period of time and not sell it to some other publisher, the publisher promises to publish the manuscript within a year or two, and print a set number of copies and give the writer a percentage of the purchase cost of the book.) My editor pointed out that "Can You Keep A Secret?" was a lousy title choice because there are about twenty books with the same title already out there. The same goes with the cover design. I was never asked what I wanted on the cover because it really is no business of mine - I'm not an artist or cover designer. It was always a surprise to me to see the cover for the first time. My first book, Canadian Disasters (from 1985) showed a fire which was not a disaster and had nothing to do with the book, but it was catchy and colourful. The last Canadian Disaster book (2006) shows some American firefighters somewhere even though the stories are all from Canada... no big deal.
BTW Hello Katie
Also BTW I promised Mrs Yearwood to include an email address but I see it isn't here. Contact me at MisterS@accglobal.net Thanks again for a great visit!

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