Sunday, 23 November 2014

Guest Post by Author Linda Dawley

MAGIC HAPPENS, and for me the magic lasted an hour one day last week. It was in the form of a chat, via Skype, with a group of third grade pupils in the US state of Oregon.

The class is reading my book, The Tooth Fairy's Mistake, a chapter a day. They invited me to talk with them about it, and writing in general.

I was thrilled to be asked, and a little nervous to do so.

The teacher sent me a link to the blogs the children had created and reading through them, I realised they are far beyond my computer skill set. I was impressed with their poetry, writing proficiency, and the interest they have in the world around them.

The teacher had posted questions about New Zealand for the students to answer: What time will it be in New Zealand when we speak with Ms Dawley? What is the capital of New Zealand? Do hobbits really live in New Zealand?

The Skype phone rang and when I answered it I saw a beautiful young lady, with fairy wings, sitting beside her teacher. My heart melted.

I was delighted that the entire class was so enthusiastic about my story. They all joined in the fun of wearing fairy wings to ask their questions. Brilliant.

I was so impressed with their polite manner. The children alternated sitting in front of the camera to speak with me. When their question was answered each person concluded with 'thank you' and invited the next student to the question chair.

They were so curious: When did you first start writing? Do you believe in Fairies? What is your favourite book? What do you like to do when you don't write? What do you like best about being a writer? What food is different in New Zealand? How does the book end?

Some of the questions were easy. I definitely believe in fairies. When I'm not writing, I like nothing better than curling up with a good book. There are two best things about being a writer for me; the dress code and the work schedule, (I can wear my nightie and work whenever I want to). Foods that are different, they don't have kumera or chokos in Oregon. I found it impossible to answer the question about my favourite book—that's like asking Mum and Dad which child do you like best? I couldn't spoil the surprise and tell the ending of the book.

At the end of the interview, the teacher explained that for each chapter read the children picked a favourite scene and created a picture to depict it. They showed me their pictures—I loved them.

I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with these children. I learned more about my writing process and how my book has touched their lives and imagination. The children learned a bit about writing, and some differences and similarities between the United States and New Zealand.

The Internet has changed lives in so many ways—this is one of the most positive aspects of connecting in cyberspace. Magic happens.

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