Saturday, March 16, 2013

Aimee Agresti's Awesome Presentation


On Tuesday, March 12th, Aimee Agresti visited PFTSTA. She is the author of two novels in the Gilded Wings series. The first book in the series is Illuminate, and the second is Infatuate, which was published this month. I scheduled the 7th and 8th graders to attend her talk because the high school students had been treated to several authors early in February. 


I did not know much about Aimee or her books. I didn't even get one of the books into my hands until the day before her visit. Any worry that I may have had about her evaporated as soon as she started talking to the students. She was well prepared. She had a power point to illustrate everything that she talked about. The kids were mesmerized. Okay, maybe it was because she use to work for Us Magazine and had interviewed some pretty heavy hitters. One of her favorite interview subjects was George Clooney. Yet, she kept the students attention throughout and when it was all over, they gathered around her to talk and purchase books to be signed. 


Aimee always knew that she wanted to be a writer, but she began her professional career writing non-fiction. When she moved to Washington D. C., she decided it was time to try her hand at fiction. She first thought about her favorite books. As a fan of the Picture of Dorian Gray, she sets up her characters to decide whether selling their soul to the devil is worth it. She also approached writing fiction just like the non-fiction pieces she used to write by deciding the who, what, when and where as part of her pre-writing activity as well as constructing a detailed outline. Her first book began life at 600 pages, but with the help of early readers like her sister, she was able to edit it down to a manageable read. 



Aimee had a set of rules for writing that she shared with the students. She said that it was important to write daily, and when she was traveling without a computer, she even wrote in long hand so she could keep working on her book. You need to take your time and not rush. Accept that some days are good and others are bad. Stay offline, away from email, twitter and facebook, so you can concentrate. Lastly, it is really important to remember to always have fun. She spoke for about 30 minutes, and then there was another 15 minutes of questions. The students asked her very thoughtful questions. Until we got to the end of the event, and one of the boys asked if anyone dies in her books. Aimee wasn't going to let lose a spoiler, so she gave a non-answer to satisfy all.

I was so impressed at how she was able to hook the kids. She also shared her email at the end of her talk. One of the older students whom she met after the presentation, emailed her and received the most wonderful response from Aimee. She was so genuine and so interested in what the students had to say. I loved that. Thank you Aimee for bringing so much to me and my students. I know that they will remember your visit for many years to come.

To see more pictures of this event visit the library website here. We want to give a big shout out of thanks to Octavia Books and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Books for bringing Aimee to us.

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