What a wonderful welcome I received from Megan Lindsay at the GSIS primary library where I had been invited as a visiting author to the GSIS Literature Festival. I was greeted by two other Authors, Bhakti Mathur and Rudiger Bertram who had come to talk to the children too.
It was lovely to be back at the Wanchai campus and meet familiar faces, like Ms Sachse-Hodder, Mr Benson and Ms Walsh. I even got a glimpse of Ms Franks in the sports hall, who was in her usual form encouraging the children energetically up and down the hall.
I spoke to years 4, 5 and 6. With year 6 we went through the writing process and what the important rules of putting ideas down in a story are. We talked about using the senses and having a balance between speech and description. We also discussed what I, as an author, look out for when I am editing my work. Ms Sachse-Hodder’s class had drawn a special welcome on the board for me.
The session went by quickly and many questions were asked. The children were surprised to see the cover of my next book The Secret of the Golden Dragon, as it is the dragon that is right next to their school and the children recognised it immediately. This cover has been illustrated by my son Rohit who was at the GSIS Wanchai campus three years ago.
We discussed how as an author I have paper and a pen to hand wherever I go as a thought might just come to mind. I also mentioned having the same on my bedside table as sometimes an idea springs up in the middle of the night and can be lost forever unless it is jotted down. As ideas come from reading other books and life experiences we discussed at length the importance of these and how they influence the style you write in.
I met some interesting children during this visit. I met an Anya who is also the heroine of my first two books and I met a boy who said he did not believe in magic. If only I had another hour with him to convince him! Most children knew how to make paper boats and some had seen Maasai warriors too. Mr Benson’s class wanted to know how one structures a story. Sometimes when the children have the start and the end they find it difficult to fill in the middle. My advice was to have a rough idea about the start, middle and end, look at the time restrictions, and then just start writing. In my experience words form and just like a mathematical equation the loose ends get tied up until you reach a perfect and tidy ending to your story, whatever the genre may be. Of course people who write longer novels may get what you call ‘writer’s block,’ which is a phase one can usually overcome.
My day ended with a lovely gift and card from the school. Thank you Megan and GSIS for such an enjoyable day.