Other than the school where I graduated, my recent trip to Florida included my first return visits to speak at schools. It was nice to catch up with people I met three years ago, and meet so many new people.
But when I first landed, I met local author (and fellow member of the Class of 2k7...the original debut author co-op) Greg Neri for dinner. We had a great chat about past and future writing projects, and possible 2k7 reunions. It is, after all, our 5 year anniversary!
Here are the brilliant high school media specialists responsible for bringing me to Florida: Tara Cain, Deborah Monck, and Jennifer Sloan.
My first stop was Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda. At each school, I gave three presentations in the auditoriums. If you're a student looking to see your face in a crowd, click on a pic to enlarge it.
As usual, not having a copy of Thirteen Reasons Why or The Future of Us was no reason not to get an autograph.
After school, I met with the school's book club to answer questions and munch cupcakes.
The next day, I spoke at Lemon Bay High School in Englewood.
Students at the school created book trailers in advance of my visit, and I had lunch with the creators of the top three student-voted trailers.
Here's the first place entry!
On my last day, I spoke at Port Charlotte High School.
That last group had me laughing so hard. During part of my speech, I shared the back-and-forth editing process of a certain scene in The Future of Us. In that scene, Carolyn and I kept revising Sydney's clothes, and we also see the introduction of her "flippy little wave." For the rest of my presentation, I kept spotting students trying to make their hand do a flippy little wave when they thought no one was watching. The looks on their faces were always so determined, and once I noticed it, I couldn't keep myself from laughing...each time!
At lunch, I was presented with a booklet of student-works inspired by my books. It was a very touching gift. (Don't worry, Carolyn, I'll make color copies of The Future of Us projects for ya!)
Recently, I can't speak anywhere without being presented with a box of donuts. Y'all know me so well! Each school day in Florida began with me eating one (um...or more) donuts. Port Charlotte actually had two donuts custom-made for each book. There was a sun-shaped donut, representing Sunshine Donuts in The Future of Us, and two donuts shaped into a 13, representing...well...I think that one's a given.
To everyone I met or saw again on this trip, thanks for a wonderful time. When my next book comes out, I'd be absolutely honored to make a three-peat appearance!