"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, May 22, 2014

"How does writing books make you feel?"

Next week, my fourth grade students will visit via Skype with Chris Rylander, author of The Fourth Stall series as well as the newly-published, Code Name Zero.

Last year's fourth graders visited with Chris Rylander and if the circulation statistics are any indicator, the visit inspired many new readers. About a third of this year's fourth grade students have read The Fourth Stall series. I think this is an access issue - given that they have been circulating in the fifth grade so much!  

I asked the fourth graders to think about questions for Chris before the visit. 

"What persuaded you to become an author?"

"What inspired you to become a writer?"

These two questions get asked every time we have an author visit. I think it seems like an easy question to ask, but I also wonder if there isn't some desire to understand how people choose the careers they do and how one gets from the sometimes tedious and hard writing of elementary school to creating something published and on the shelf of a library. I also think there is a subtle, but important, distinction between these two questions - one might be inspired to become an author, but also need to be persuaded to make that leap.  Food for thought.

Here are a few that were submitted yesterday.

Questions about the Fourth Stall
"What gave you the idea to name your book The Fourth Stall?"

"Are you going to make another Fourth Stall Book?"

"Where did you get the idea for Mac's office to be in the fourth stall of the bathroom?"

"Did someone in your childhood inspire you to make the character Staples?"

"How did you decide for Staples personality to change?"

"How did you come up with the idea of Staples' sister being the bad guy?"

"How did you get the idea for Mac and Vince?"

"Where did you get the idea for Vince's Grandma's weird phrases?"

Questions about writing
"How does writing books make you feel?"

"From where do you come up with characters for your books? Is it based on life experience?"

"How many times do you read your books before you send them to the publisher?"

"Did your middle school experience influence this book?"

"What are you working on right now?"

"Is writing books your favorite activity?"

"What age were you when you wanted to be a writer?"

"How do you get inspiration for your books, do you go out and look at new things to find ideas for your stories?  Also do you use personal memories for your books?"

Questions about Code Name Zero
"Why did you decide to use human teeth to torture Olek?"

"How did you come up with the idea for Code Name Zero?"

"Are you going to write another book after Code Name Zero explaining how Mr. Jenson (AKA Agent Nineteen) has 48 hours to live?"

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