In his most scary and ghost-like voice, author Joel A. Sutherland began his presentation, “A day like today is perfect for staying inside and telling ghost stories.”
And that he did, sharing some of the scariest stories from his interviews for his bestselling series, Haunted Canada. Even though many of the students had read one or more books from that series, they didn’t all realize that each story was non-fiction. Joel explained that much of writing stories is akin to journalism, it’s all about interviewing and research, which he says is the best part of the job – to which librarian and history teacher, Melissa Ramon, agreed. “They are history books in disguise,” Joel said.
The best way to become a writer is to ask yourself “what if” questions, Joel told the boys. “Story ideas are all around us; it’s only a matter of keeping our eyes open for them and grabbing them before they get away,” he said. He used an example of a horse coming out of a barn – was it a horse or was it a zombie-ghost horse? This had the boys laughing and cheering with excitement.
In addition to his hour-long presentation in Wirth Theatre, Joel, Head of Children’s and Youth Services at the Georgina Public Library, ran age-appropriate workshops for students in grades 5-7. He demonstrated to each group of boys just how simple and fun it is to write a story. By the end of each seminar, the boys had written a little mystery piece they could build on.
“Joel is someone who makes reading and writing fun,” said Lori Lu, SAC’s Librarian and Archivist. “He is such a character and really tuned into this age group. I’m inspired to write!”
After celebrating reading and writing in the Middle School Tuesday, we may have a few budding authors on our hands.