When I discovered that Skype was not a tool that we could count on, I was worried that it might be the end of our virtual visits with authors. Skype itself was not the problem but the district filtering. Sometimes it worked, and it worked best if we were on the receiving end of the call. However, I could not count on it. We are now using FaceTime for our virtual author visits. This works great on our end with an iPad and is sufficient if the author also has an Apple product. When I was planning our visit with Irish author Patricia Forde, we were not sure if FaceTime would work. Since I discovered that it uses data not phone minutes; it did not cost anything to make the connection. I made a test call with Patricia a few weeks ahead of time, and I knew after talking to her that the kids were in for a treat.
We always start our visits the same way with the author telling us about the book and their writing process. Patricia explained that until she was ten she lived in a very rural area with one school that had no running water or heat. They lit open fires in the classroom to keep warm. There were three classes in one room, and she adored her teachers. When she moved to a city and attended a convent school with a most imposing and stern nun, she began to feel differently about school. She did always have a strong imagination and loved stories. Her mother was very encouraging. It was inevitable that she would grow up to be a writer.
She has written for television and written picture books, but the book we discussed is The List written for middle grade. She loves the characters in her books to take journeys. When she came up with the idea for The List, it took three years on and off to get it finished. There were many rejections along the way, and she even had to find a new agent as hers had retired. She explained that if you want to be a writer then you need to write. The first thing you get down on paper may not be the best but even writing down a bad idea is a start because most of writing is really revision. She also talked about the importance of reading. She shared a number of her favorite books. She also suggested that you write what you love. Her love is fantasy and building worlds that are different from our own.
|BRiMS is scheduled during the students' lunch period|
We want to thank Patricia and Source Books for making this visit possible. It was loads of fun. Find more pictures from the event on the library website.