White Pine award finalists EK Johnston left and Erin Bow visited Haliburton Highlands Secondary School on March 3 for the inaugural White Pine Day. The young adult authors spent the day with students from three area high schools doing activities and participating in a Q & A session. ANGELICA INGRAM Staff

Authors share insights with high school students

By Angelica Ingram

Published March 7 2017

How many rough drafts do you write? How long does it take to get a book published? Are any of your characters based on real people?

These were just some of the questions students had for EK Johnston and Erin Bow two renown young adult fiction writers and White Pine Award finalists on March 3 at Haliburton Highlands Secondary School.

The inaugural Trillium Lakelands District School Board’s White Pine Day held at HHSS featured the two authors who shared their writing insights with students from IE Weldon high school Fenelon Falls high school and HHSS.

Authors of books such as Exit Pursued by a Bear  A Thousand Nights The Scorpion Rules and The Swan Rider Johnston and Bow spoke to topics such as why they pursued a career in writing some of the challenges they face and why it’s important to read a lot.

“The most frequent question I get about Exit Pursued by a Bear and A Thousand Nights is how did you write these two books that are so different” said Johnston. “For me that question always surprises me because I see them as very similar stories … they’re both stories about girls that are in terrible situations and decide to do something about it in a variety of ways.”

Students lined up with a plethora of questions for the authors including how they came up with the ideas for their books which characters they related to the most and how they got into writing.

“I’m interested in words I’m interested in stories … I’m a reader” said Bow. “I grew up with stacks of books. I grew up always with my nose in a book. I taught myself to write I think  just by imitating it.”

Both the authors encouraged the students to follow their passions no matter what.

“Write a lot don’t listen to anyone and read a lot” said Johnston in her final piece of advice to the students.

The event was organized in conjunction with the TLDSB and Haliburton County Public Library.