SPRINGFIELD, NJ - For students at Jonathan Dayton High School, Wednesday morning brought the opportunity to learn firsthand about, writing publishing and more, directly from the source.
Author Greg Neri, who goes by the pen name G. Neri, Skyped in to talk to the students. Neri is primarily a writer of young adult fiction, who has written in multiple styles, including free verse, novelistic prose and graphic novels.
As far as the conversation was concerned, he spoke with the students about his background, including among other things, the time he went to Antarctica on a research grant. Neri explained that for the disadvantaged kids he worked with at the time, being able to describe something like that was invaluable.
Following his introduction, Neri took questions from students. He noted that with all of his stories, they were told in the way he said they wanted to be, ascribing a personification to his works.
He also said that in response to a question from a student, that there were times he struggled, but that through persistence and hard work, he was able to overcome his writers blocks.
For Jonathan Dayton Principal Dr. Norman Francis, bringing in authors by Skype to speak with the kids is a way for them to connect to what real-life adults go through.
"This is actually our second author Skype," Dr. Francis said. "We hope it serves as a source of inspiration. We want students to see that authors are real people, regular people. Hear their stories and process their struggle...to hear that authors who are successful go through that process, it gives them some motivation and a push to keep going, if that's what they want to do."
As Jonathan Dayton Media Specialist Barbara Reynolds noted, hearing from the authors is also nice because it reveals the person underneath the celebrity.
"They're always more interesting than I could imagine," Reynolds said. "Their stories are always so different...every author you meet is different, they all have their own story, just like every person here. And it really brings it to life."