Clapton Girls' Academy in London to meet some of my readers and talk about my book Coping with Chloe and the possible sequel.
The girls of 7C and their teacher Miss Feltham gave me a wonderful welcome and were so kind in the things they said about Coping with Chloe. I felt a bit like a celebrity for an afternoon! The girls had all read the book as part of Pop-Up Booklinks, which is a brilliant project that provides classes with a copy of the book for each student to read and then arranges a visit from the author. This was great as it meant the girls had all read my book and given it lots of thought. They asked me some very good questions, which I did my best to answer. I then read them the first chapter of the sequel and they gave me some useful feedback.
But the best bit for me was when they showed me the work they had done on Coping with Chloe. Each girl had written a review and the teacher had bound these together in a book with a beautiful cover, for me to take home. The reviews inside were really well written and very good for my morale! The best thing in the world for an author is when you discover that someone has not only enjoyed but 'connected with' your book - it has affected them and made them think. I was overwhelmed to read all these reviews and I will treasure the book always. One of the reviews was even published in the Guardian.
The students had done lots of other things too - including writing some brilliant alternative endings to Chloe and performing two short plays - one of which was my favourite scene from the book (Anna and her Dad going out to lunch and failing to communciate about Chloe). The class could not have known beforehand that it was my favourite scene - so that was a wonderful surprise.
They had also made models, puppets, posters, a powerpoint presentation and lots more. I took home with me all the things I could carry in my bag, but I could not bring everything as I had to get two buses across London to my son's flat and then a train home!
I would really like to thank the Booklinks Project, my publishers Phoenix Yard Books, Miss Feltham and the other members of staff at Clapton Girls' Academy - and especially the wonderful and brilliant girls of 7C for working so hard and giving me such a lovely warm welcome to their class. They are all very intelligent, capable and enthusiastic and I am sure they will go a long way in life. Those who want to be writers - I would say go for it! Don't let anything stop you. But don't rely on writing to earn you a living because however good you are, it probably won't. In the end, the best reason for writing is because you want to (or feel you have to!) do it. But meeting your readers is a truly wonderful experience and I will never forget my visit to your school.
Very best wishes and good luck to all of you
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