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Saturday, November 19, 2005

On Cloud Nine (or how to interview a world famous author)

Ok, it was truly a stalking to rival what Andrea Z. did yesterday with/to Jim Burke. I laid the groundwork for the entire bloody affair yesterday. I met with a rep from Random House and asked what my chances were to securing an interview with one of my favorite YA authors, Jerry Spinelli. The young lady, Adrienne, informed me that Mr. Spinelli was a really nice fellow and, if time allowed, he would probably be amicable to speaking with me.

This morning, Troy chauffeured a number of us to the convention center. Jerry wasn't scheduled to show until 9:30 a.m. Peering at my watch, and noticing that I had quite a while until the "golden hour," I suddenly heard and felt the rumblings in my now empty stomach. I commenced to take the shoe-leather express to the Steel City Diner, a Pittsburgh ptomaine palace of legendary status. At the completion of my very filling and very inexpensive breakfast, the official hunt was on. Neither snow nor rain nor sleet nor dark of night...or a full stomach could keep me from my appointed appointment with the certainly unsuspecting Mr. Spinelli.

I sashayed up to the booth, purchased a hardcopy of Stargirl, and stood in the queue with the other Spinelli minions. When it was my turn, I introduced myself to the author and explained my situation. Would he be so kind to grant a few minutes of his valuable time to participate in a RCWP podcast? Jerry's answer was a resounding yes. However, he would not be available until noon. I told him, "Don't worry, after 25 years with the MSP and yesterday with the lovely Ms. Z., rest assured that I know how to follow (stalk) people."

At noon, I met my subject and we strolled over to tables that were set up at the front of the demo hall. The interview, which you can listen to on our blog, was the highlight of my trip to Pittsburgh. Jerry Spinelli, world famous, award winning author, took the time to speak with a third-year teacher about his novel Stargirl. A more gracious, sincere, and down-to-earth person cannot be found. Thanks, Jerry, you've made my day (and given me lots of information to take back to the Lakewood Middle School 8th grade Language Arts students!)


Blogger Aram said...

Way to go, Paul!
You are taking risks and it's paying off. Keep it up...especially when you return to your students. It's amazing what great things can happen when we go out on that limb a bit further than feels comfortable.

8:18 PM  

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