That’s what a girl said to me once at a book signing I did years ago in Bryant Park. My son, who was 10 at the time, and therefore still interested in going to his mom’s book signings, thought that was hilarious. But I knew what she meant. If you’ve never met an author, it can be easy to think that books are their own creations. That they somehow just spring up out of nowhere.
Truth is, that’s a compliment. She might have meant that my characters seemed so real to her that she felt they had written their own story. Sometimes it actually feels that they are. But of course that only comes when I’ve been writing the characters a long time. New characters are as much strangers to me as the people I may meet in a store or at the gym. (And yes, I’m one of those people who makes up backstories in my head for just about everyone I meet.)
But I want kids to know that there’s a real Nancy Krulik. And more importantly, I want them to know that they can write stories too. Because we all have stories to tell. We just have to have someone tell us it’s okay, and even fun, to let them out.
So why am I telling you this now? Probably because I have a school visit coming up this week, and I’m planning out all the fun things we’re going to do when I get there. I love making school visits. The kids are so excited to have a guest (hey, they’re not in class, so I’m already a hero right?) and often they have good questions that make me think. So it’s a lot of give and take right there.
Oh, and everytime I go to a school, I come home exhausted. And with a new respect for teachers. Because encouraging kids is a hard job. I really don’t know how they do it every day.