Hayward High Visit and Heading Home

Giving a presentation at the Hayward High Library
Giving a presentation at the Hayward High Library

Yesterday I went to my old high school and had a school visit with about 120 students over the course of two periods. I kept comparing it to my last visit to Hayward High, which was in September 2012, before the book was out and my first ever school visit. I can tell that now I’ve grown a lot – I know what to expect, how to tailor my approach to different age groups, how to try and keep the audience engaged. Before my first visit in 2012 I was terrified. Now, I still get nervous before it starts, then once it gets going the nerves fade away and I’m pretty comfortable.

I showed them the presentation I’ve shown a couple of schools now (Gordonstoun and Keith Academy), which looks at my process of writing – through coming up with the initial idea, outlining, researching, drafting, sending to betas, editing, and eventual publication. It’s not very long, as I know it’s difficult to lecture at people for much longer than fifteen to twenty minutes, tops, before they get antsy. I forgot to do a reading in the first group, but during the second I read the first chapters of both Pantomime & Shadowplay, which are both very short. I then opened it up to the usual Q&A. This is my favourite part because the questions are always different from group to group. Teenagers seem to be more interested in me – moving to Scotland, how I met my husband, when I started writing, whereas at the CSUEB event they were more interested in the mechanics of writing (understandable, as a lot of them were creative writing students). There were a few teens there from the Hayward High creative writing group, and they came up after and asked me for tips on research.

It’s always so strange to be back at my high school. The memories of me being there are overlaid with the present. I was so different in high school – super quiet and shy, basically hiding in a classroom and reading every lunch time, or going on the computers at the library at lunch to chat with Craig before he went to sleep. I always end up ruminating about how much I’ve grown and yet how I’m still in many ways the same person. I do know that if little teenage me saw me present in the library like I did yesterday, I think she’d be very proud of what I’ve done and who I am, and that makes me feel very good.

Today is my last day in California. In about three hours, I’ll be heading back to the airport to begin the long trek home. Life will settle down again and I’ll be back in my usual routine of work and writing. Launch excitement will die down and that’s fine. It’s been such a great trip back, and I’ve spent a lot of time with my family and managed to see lots of friends. Between my various events I’ve signed around 110 copies of Pantomime and 90 copies of Shadowplay. I do miss California, much as I love Scotland. It is hard being an ex-pat, though. I can’t help but feel I’m missing so much by no longer being here.

I’ve gotten a fair few notes through my contact this week of people telling me how much they’ve enjoyed my work and asking about the third book in the Micah Grey series. Thanks so much for them – I do try to respond to every one, and I hope I’ll have more information for you soon.

23 thoughts on “Hayward High Visit and Heading Home

  1. Safe trip back home, and thank you for visiting my Senior Seminar class! (Professor D. B. G’s class at CSUEB.) It was wonderful meeting you and best of luck in your future writing endeavors. 🙂

  2. Thank you for coming to Hayward High it was really nice to have someone such inspirational like you . i really like the summarize of your book and i cant wait to read them they seem like great books. wish you the best with your dream.

  3. Thank you so much for visiting Hayward High School and sharing us your stories and also your experiences. It was really fun and interesting. It was nice meeting you! Best of Luck and have a great one! 🙂

  4. Thank you for coming to Hayward High School all the way from Scotland. It was very informative and have a safe trip back home.

  5. Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by to visit us at Hayward High! We really enjoyed your visit, and are really proud of you for being a Hayward High graduate who has made it this far. We hope to hear from you soon again. Best of luck!

  6. Thank you so much for coming back to Hayward High from the long flight from Scotland. It was very enjoyable. Hope to see you again when your books make it bigger than they already are 🙂

  7. Thanks for visiting Haward High School. Your presentation was very interesting I always wondered how long it would take a person to write a whole book and it sounds like a pretty long process! Goodluck & hope to see you soon with more books. 😀

  8. Thank you for coming back and sharing your experience and accomplishments. I enjoyed hearing about it. I’m in the process of reading Pantomime !

  9. Thank you for coming to visit us at Hayward High School. Your presentation was very informative as well as inspiring. Best of luck to you and I hope you keep on doing what you love!

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