Saturday, June 8, 2013

"You're the author of Flitter & Plank?!"

I had a pretty amazing experience a couple weeks ago. I intended to write a blog about it at the time and just forgot, so here it is now.

I write on the side, but my main profession is that of a janitor for the Hamilton City School District. I clean at a series of non-school buildings, but on occasion I am pulled to fill in at an actual school building, and those are the days that I love the most. On that particular week I was pulled into Highland Elementary school as the acting morning custodian. I love being with kids, but that was one school I hadn't been in much, so I wasn't expecting anyone to really know me.

Well, I was collecting breakfast garbage and was passing by a restroom where a class was taking a break and noticed the teaching eyeing me. After I'd mostly passed her by, she stopped me and asked if I was a writer. As it turned out, she recognized me from the back cover of the Adventures of Flitter & Plank. She mentioned that she had pulled Flitter & Plank from Highland's library and read it to her class and they loved it. The kids were excited when they realized that I was the writer of a book they'd enjoyed.

Following that, I went into the library and talked to the librarian. As it turns out, she hasn't been able to keep the Adventures of Flitter & Plank on the shelf all school year. For someone who considered Flitter & Plank dead in the water due to low sales (maybe 2 copies a month at most on Amazon), I was surprised to learn that it was so popular at one of my local school buildings. That teacher didn't even know that I worked in the district when she read it, so there wasn't even any "local pride" being portrayed. She and her students simply liked it based on its merits, and that's a wonderful thing for me to hear.

Well, the week moved on by and on Friday, the last day I was expected to be there, I was covering lunch duty when a little girl got my attention. I came over to her and she whispered, "Can I have your autograph?" I'll be honest... I could have wet myself a little right then. I've had friends and family ask me to autograph a book as I handed it to them, but I've NEVER had someone that I didn't know ask for one. I was so excited that I rushed from the lunch room and found a notebook in the custodial office. I wrote an autograph for her and when the other kids realized what I was doing, they flocked me wanting autographs as well. I signed about seven or eight pieces of paper before I ran out and told the kids to have the teachers make copies to pass around. They sat down, some disappointed that they didn't get a personal autograph, and the lunch break went on.

My last few minutes of that Friday consisted of me heading for the door when I was stopped by a young teacher who found out through the autographs that I was the writer of that book. She was very impressed and went on and on about how much the kids have been talking about me. She planned on checking the book out for herself when next it was available. Needless to say, I was pretty excited.

Having gone through that, I've been thinking about my planned writing schedule. I'm currently working on the second Anderson book, tentatively title Not Quite Home, and I planned on writing the second Refuge book after that (Refuge book 1 will be coming very soon once the cover is finished), but now that I've had quite a few kids asking for more Flitter & Plank, I'm going to write the sequel to that following Not Quite Home. It'll be a quick write, and I already have most of it planned so it shouldn't take me too far off my schedule. My youngest daughter Kelsey has been asking to help write a second Flitter & Plank for a couple months now anyhow, so it's a good time. I wrote the Adventures of Flitter & Plank to share the experience with my daughters. If at least one of them wants to work on a second one, then I definitely want to get it done while she's still interested. And who knows, it might make some of those Highland kids happy to read it.

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