Yesterday afternoon I had the pleasure of visiting the English Language School of Boston. They recently read my story collection Jake Hawking & the Bounty Hunters and invited me to come to the school, talk about my writing, answer some of their questions, and show off some swords. Not only was I their first American author they’ve met, but they were my first ever talk as an author — so firsts for everyone.
And it was an absolute blast.
When I got there, the class’s teacher, Lauren McCann, whom I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years, was dressed up as a pirate and leading the class in some shanties — Bully in the Alley, to be exact. I got set up and then it was go-time for me.
I had originally prepared to read some passages from the book for them all, but they had questions for me right from the start. The class had a lot of fantastic, thought provoking questions. Some of my favs:
Where do you get your ideas from? Movies. Books. Joking with friends. That zone just before falling asleep. Early morning showers.
How do you gain confidence in your writing? Keep writing. Find people who’ll be supportive. Work on your craft and write what you want to write.
Why did you write in pirate talk? I want the reader to feel like they’ve gone back in time and are hanging with Jake Hawking and Little Queen in the taverns and ships of 18th Century Caribbean.
You look a little bit like Jake Hawking. Was that on purpose? Folks would have to ask Peter Simeti, the cover artist for that answer; Hawking isn’t based on me (long hair & beards were trendy then), but there are probably bits of my personality that appear in Hawking’s character.
Do you want to write SciFi/Fantasy one day? Related: Do you want to write for video games at all? Yes and yes! Both would be awesome.
Why did you include a Spanish character? Spain was still a major player in the Caribbean during Hawking’s time and I wanted my stories to reflect as much cultural diversity as possible.
What do you think of yourself as a writer now? Some days I think my writing is amazing; other days it’s tough to not hit the delete button. 🙂
Why did you choose Little Queen to be your lead female character? My fav question of the bunch. Also way too involved to answer in a short witty blog one-liner, but basically I wanted to create a female character who didn’t fall to the usual stereotypes of being a damsel in distress, weak, and drop-dead gorgeous.
Of course, the first question I actually got was “How do you make a living off you’re writing” (Spoiler: I don’t). It almost brought me to tears before we got going… OK, not really, but it did make me chuckle. Perhaps one day I’ll be so fortunate.
It being an ESL class, the students admitted they got a little tripped up a little with the pirate speak –which is totally to be expected –but they said they enjoyed the stories. And they definitely enjoyed the swords. After the book Q&A, I showed off some of the sword collection and gave ’em a quick sword evolution crash course.
Then pics. Lots of pics were taken.
Also signed a few books, which is always a fun part of the job.
I’ll admit I was pretty nervous and excited about meeting the class, it being my first talk like that, but it went great. Lotta fun and a very enjoyable experience.
One of the students even drew me a quick sketch of Little Queen!
Thanks again to Lauren McCann and her intermediate ESL class at the English Language School for having me over. I had a great time.