Book Week can be one of the busiest and most challenging times of the year for an author, but it is one of the most rewarding, too, and I always come away thinking how fortunate I am.
Every school and library I have visited since my first book, Quizzical, came out, has been so welcoming, and the staff and children, wonderful. All are different, yet similar, and I have enjoyed each and every one.
I remember a couple of years ago I visited a library and was booked for two sessions. The most children I'd had in a session prior to that was about 80, and I was expecting about the same amount for these particular sessions, except that when I got there I was told that the schools had given the the library the wrong student numbers and there would, in fact, be approximately 120 students in each session.
I absorbed this, with a smile. I figured, what's forty more? The more the merrier! Well, I was hoping that would be the case, anyway! And it was. The children were brilliant. They were all so into the session. They were loud, but only when they needed to be, and excited, but always respectful, and it was one of the best sessions I've ever had!
I visited four schools over four days this year, leaving one day of the week free to catch my breath. As most authors would know, a lot of preparation goes into each session, whether it be at a school, or a library, and most schools and libraries request more than one session. It is not unusual to spend a day at a school, especially around Book Week, so you have to tailor each session to suit whatever year level you are speaking to. Your first session may be for Year 6's and your very next may be Preps and while each may be similar, they can be very different in many ways, too. They can be very draining, too. But I wouldn't swap it for anything. It is such a privilege to be invited to schools and libraries, and to get the opportunity to speak to children about your books.
I feel like I'm leading a second life, being an author - a whole different person than the one I am at home! When I'm not writing, or visiting schools and libraries, I'm just an ordinary mother and wife, doing what all mothers and wives do - working, running children around, doing the housework, cooking meals (and the list goes on!) Believe me, I'm no more special than anyone else. I'm just someone who is living a dream I've always had. And it's wonderful!