"Hi!" Mrs. Ellsworth says as I enter the room. "I told them that when you got here I'd have you introduce yourself and let them ask you a few questions." I smile and the room full of fourth and fifth graders stare at me, expectingly.
"Well, I'm Kassie, and I'm a college student. I'm studying creative writing because I want to write books. I'm happy to answer your questions, but I was wondering what you like to read."
All hands shoot up in the air.
"Umm... so many hands," I say. "Why don't you in the pink ask the first question. Or tell me what you like to read."
The girl looks down at her shirt, smiles at the sight of pink and practically yells, "I like realistic fiction. You know, stories that are about kids like me."
I smile and point to the boy next to her. "Batman, go."
"I like historical fiction," he says. "Mixed with mystery."
"Okay," I say and point to a student near the back.
"You can questions, too, if you want," Mrs. Ellsworth reminds them.
"How long did it take you to get here?" the boy asks me.
"About 20 minutes. I'm next door neighbors with your teacher." The classroom erupts with No Way and Really?
"How long have you known our teacher?" the next one asks me. I look to my friend to see if she remembers.
"I like a lot of things," I answer. "Fantasy mixed with realistic fiction, for example. Yeah, I like it when genres are mixed. But mostly fiction."
"What are you writing right now?"
"I'm writing a book with a dragon in it," I say with grin. "Do you guys like dragons?"
"YEEEEEESSSSSS!!!!!!" they all scream, and one asks if I will make it a pop up book.
After a while, the questions are cut, Mrs. Ellsworth moves on with her lesson, and I settle into observation mode. I'm not the best with observations, mostly because I'm never sure about what I'm looking for, but I note how squirmy and fidgeting they are, how they talk to each other, ("Did you read the book, my dude?") and how they always raise their hands when they want to say something. This last one tells me that my friend and neighbor is a miracle worker. These kids LOVE to talk!
Anyway, she says I can come back, which I think I will, so there may be a part two to this blog. I'm hoping to interview a few of them, not only on what they like to read but also about their general interests. After all, the main character in my work in progress is their age. What better way to get ideas?
"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down... and bleed."
"Mongkok Street, Hong Kong"