Local authors share advice with students

Sophie Downey, A&E Editor

South’s aspiring writers listened to and engaged with five authors of teen fiction on Tuesday, November 6th. The authors visited South during sixth hour, where they talked and answered questions in the media center.

The visiting authors were Janet Gurtler, author of Who I Kissed, Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan, Geoff Herbach, author of Stupid Fast, and sisters and co-authors Lisa and Laura Roecker, who wrote the Liar Society series.

They began by describing their books, the themes of which ranged from mystery, to female football players, to death by peanut allergy, to growth spurts. They then moved on to explain why they write what they write.

“We write what we would’ve wanted to read as teens,” said Lisa Roecker. Both sisters have always been fans of mystery novels.

Kenneally and Gurtler agreed. “There wasn’t really any good stuff to read when we were teens,” said Kenneally.

For Herbach, a college professor of creative writing, he stressed the importance of reading as a teen, giving examples of students who do worst in his class because they don’t read.

“[When I was a teen] was when I stopped reading,” he said.

Both of Herbach’s books are aimed mostly at boys, something that is becoming rare in teen fiction.

“I write books I hope dudes will read,” he said.

The audience was invited to ask questions, and the authors shared their experiences of finding ideas, working past writer’s block, editing manuscripts, and even celebrating after having books published.

“I had no idea how hard it would be to get a book published,” said Laura Roeckner.

They encouraged the writers in the audience to just keep writing, and said that getting published is possible for all of them.

“Anyone can [write a book],” said Laura Roeckner. “We have friends who are sixteen and have written and published books.”

“Everything takes a long time-just be patient,” said Kenneally.