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Young authors help Cape High celebrate literacy

By Staff | Mar 20, 2018

It can be fun to read, and on Friday authors showed up at Cape Coral High School to prove the point.

Thirteen young adult authors visited the school to celebrate reading by giving away 800 books written by the authors and by having the writers do classroom visits to encourage students to read, write and follow their own dreams.

The one-day event started with the school day at 7:30 a.m. and culminated with an outdoor festival on the school football field at noon, featuring the authors, as well as hosting games and activities.

The authors spoke to aspiring authors about their craft, how difficult it can be to break into the field and the amount of time and effort it took for them to find their distinct voice.

Jamie Ayers, a teacher at Cape High who organized the event, said it started in 2013 when she became a published author.

“I did my first school visit and I couldn’t believe the response to it. After the kids made a personal connection to me, I got a ton of cards the teacher sent from the students,” Ayers said. “They wanted advice on how to wrote a book, what books to read and wanting to start book clubs.”

Ayers said that because the road to publication isn’t an easy one, the visits inspire the students to not only read and write more, but also to follow their dreams and paths.

“Hearing how difficult it is to get published and seeing these everyday people who know me because I teach here and they know I’m a scatterbrain and that I can sit down and write three novels and have the patience to get them published, they see that achieving their dreams is possible,” Ayers said.

Alex Flinn came from Miami and was invited to the festival as a way to meet with other future authors as well as her peers.

“We talk about the writing process and give advice for people who might want to be an author,” said Flinn, who has published 12 novels, including her latest, “Beheld.” “It’s good to hear from a kid who considered your book to be a life-changing experience.”

Jeff Strand, the lone male in the group, wrote the comedy “How You Ruined My Life.” He said he’s been coming to Cape Coral schools for the last four years and takes answers questions about his profession.

“A surprising amount of people are legitimately interested in becoming a published author, so I start them off on the right path,” Strand said. “I don’t tell them it’s easy and that anyone can do it. It’s hard work and there’s a lot of rejection.”

Among the students who picked the brains of the authors was senior Isabel Karst, who spoke with Amy C. Parker about becoming a novelist.

“I’ve gotten help from my parents and teachers and I’ve started to write. I recently started a novel, but I haven’t gotten very far. That’s why I’m here,” Karst said. “I’m trying to find out the best ways to write and she helped a lot. I’m really inspired to continue writing.”