|Here's me with the skaters and their counselor, senior|
skater Alex DiCola
One of the perks of writing for children is that you have a chance to meet and talk with kids. I did just that last week when I met with a small group of skaters at the Mentor Skating Rink in Mentor, Ohio. Before moving to Florida, I lived in Mentor for twenty years, and both of my children went through school there. My daughter Heidi skated at the Mentor rink when she was in junior high and high school, and it was this rink that I pictured when I wrote Pairs on Ice.
It was a young group and included some hockey players, so instead of talking about Jamie and Matt and the pressures of competition, I read some sections of my book, and we talked about getting along with teammates that you don’t like. They had stories about doing projects with kids they didn’t like or who didn’t do their share of the work. When I asked what Jamie and Matt could have done differently, they had some good ideas, like “Maybe Matt could have said he was sorry for making her fall,” or “Maybe she didn’t have to yell at him.”
I also talked about how I can live in other people's lives when I'm writing. "I can't skate very well," I said, "but when I write about Jamie, I'm with her, flying over the ice." One girl asked if I liked to read. She had a big smile when I said that I had always liked to read, that, like writing, reading let me have many different adventures. I asked if she read a lot. She nodded. I added that when I was a child, we didn’t have Amazon or e-books, so I would bring a pile of books home every time I went to the library.
I always enjoy talking with children. They’re spontaneous, honest, and you never know what impact you might have.