Author shares book-writing secrets with middle school students

Special to The Pee Dee Post

For North Carolina author Alan Gratz multiple school visits where he can “travel once and see lots of students” is something he loves. He’s loving his week in Richmond County in part by visiting Rockingham, Hamlet and Rohanen middle schools.

Submitted photo

Submitted photo

Having previously taught eighth grade English, Gratz is no stranger to middle schoolers. He spoke with them about six of his books, including Samurai Shortstop, which many read as part of their Social Studies unit.

Gratz’s books are researched-based. So, in addition to walking them through the outlining process, he too shared secrets about how he came up with his storyline ideas.

“When I was their age I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t meet an author until I was in college,” Gratz explained. “So, when I do these school visits, in addition to meeting readers, I want to stress to future writers that it’s a craft.”

Gratz has written eight novels, but he told students writing isn’t always easy.

“I tell them becoming an author is hard work, but it can also be very rewarding. That way they’re not working in the dark.”

Nathan Hudson, of Hamlet Middle School, likes to write, citing Gratz’s The Brooklyn Nine as one of his favorite books.

“It was a cool experience talking to a good author who I actually read,” Hudson said. “He talked about the books as well as how he set them up so he could hep us become authors one day.”

Classmate Hannah Stemart agreed, adding “I really like his writing process.”

Following Gratz’s presentation, he autographed books that students purchased as part of the school’s Book Fair.

Filed in: Arts & Entertainment, Education, Hamlet, Latest Headlines, Rockingham

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