I have given more than 240 author talks in schools, libraries, and bookstores in 18 states since my debut novel, ASHFALL, came out last year. But I'll never forget today's author talks.
Part of my schtick is to teach students a taekwondo move, hammerfist, as they enter the auditorium and challenge them to break a plastic practice board. Here's a pic of me teaching author Jennifer Armentrout taekwondo on the floor of Book Expo America earlier this year:
What made today different? In two different high schools today, I met blind teenagers. I almost didn't approach the first one to challenge her to try breaking the board. I have no experience working with blind students, and I'm not much of a taekwondo instructor, even with sighted students. But I decided I shouldn't deprive her of an opportunity available to everyone else.
I taught them hammerfist by holding their fist and swinging it, showing them how to move. Then I held the board so they could feel where it was. Both teens were nervous--neither of them thought they could break the board. But both of them succeeded. And in rising to that challenge, they provided me with an experience I'll never forget.
The other fun thing that happened today was that I returned to Hillsboro High School. You may remember that a few months ago on this blog I auctioned off a bunch of ASHEN WINTER-related goodies to help raise money to build a new library in Hillsboro. Well, here's one of the signs your generous donations bought:
I'm between two fabulous Hillsboro High School librarians, Amber Parks and Karen Creech Huskey.
Mostly I want to thank my fans for your help in building a new library in Hillsboro. The final vote will be November 6th. Here's hoping it passes--I'm looking forward to returning to Hillsboro and signing the final book in the ASHFALL trilogy, SUNRISE, in the library my blog readers helped to build. It's an honor to have such a generous group of fans. Thank you.