I had the greatest time visiting with Ms. DiLiberto's fifth grade class last Friday. The entire class has been reading The Minstrel's Tale for the last few months and they were almost finished by the time I got there. I enjoy school visits, but there's something magical when the class has already read the book, or at least most of it.
Kids that age are naturally curious and it was a treat to answer so many intriguing and unexpected questions! It was incredibly fun to talk with so many young readers, future authors, and future illustrators. They even got it when I passed out stalks of "wizard's weed" to everyone. Of course, we did NOT discuss the ending, although a few tried to bring it up.
Then today, I spent over an hour answering some of the most touching fan mail I've ever received, most from that same class. This kind of thing makes me happy I do what I do. There really are people who enjoy my work. There's nothing like a roomful of 5th graders telling you they can't wait to read your next book to make me want to sit down and get busy.
Those are only a few of the perks. Of course, the best perk is actually getting to write at all; that precious gift of time, I'm so grateful to have, thanks to my wonderful husband.