Career Day

Posted by on May 19, 2014 in Blog, public speaking | 2 comments

Last week I took part in Career Day for 6th-8th graders at my son’s school. This was my first time doing any public speaking about writing, and for an age group that’s known to be a tough but honest crowd! I spent four hours straight talking to four different groups of students.

A few things that stood out to me:

– they loved it that I mentioned anime and video games, and that I encouraged them to use fan fiction as inspiration and practice. I saw lots of friends whisper and nudge each other when I said that. A big part of my talk was that anything that uses imagination isn’t a waste of time–and that the video games I loved at their age inspire things in my books even now.

– they wanted to know about all the work that went into the creation of my book cover. I hadn’t even planned to talk about this, but the host teacher brought it up and it interested every single group.


There was another common question they asked: “Who’s the guy on the cover?” Not a single person asked about the woman. I love that they connected with Alonzo, the rare dark-skinned guy on a book cover. It makes me want to shake the book industry and say, ‘SEE?!’

We need more books–and book covers–that reflect our diversity. Kids needs to see more strong characters who look like them.

– talking about the apocalypse makes me cool. Me, cool. How crazy is that?

– they always asked how old I am. I don’t mind saying that I’m 34.

– one girl had the most gorgeous purple hair. I am still in envy of that hair.

After each talk, I had several students stay behind to tell me about what they wrote and ask me some questions. This meant everything to me. When I was their age, I would have walked on hot lava to talk to an author. I saw myself in them, and it made me happy for the future.


  1. Sounds like a blast! Glad it worked out well. 🙂

  2. #winning