Monday, April 30, 2018

Saying Yes to Fun

When I took part in the gala Festival of Stories back in March, one of the additional joys of the festival was the chance to be interviewed by Kristen Olsen for her radio program "Tunes and Tales" on station 88.9 KRFC. Kristen is a delightful conversationalist, so it was easy to forget I was being taped for a future radio broadcast and just enjoy chatting. In fact, it was easy to forget about the future radio broadcast altogether.

Then two days ago I got an email from Kristen saying that my segment was going to air on Sunday evening at 6:30, paired with a presentation by a group of elementary students who were coming to the studio to give a ten-minute book talk on my title Cody Harmon, King of Pets.
She added: "I know this is very late in the game, but would you be interested in showing up at the station as a surprise after they talk about your book on air? Maybe we could all get ice cream?"

It took me about 30 seconds to decide to say yes. I mean, going to a radio station? Ooh! As a surprise for children who had actually read and loved my book? Followed by ice cream?! This in a year where my chief goal for myself is creative joy and all the fun that attends being part of the world of children's book writing? When I agreed, I hadn't thought to ask where the radio station was. I just assumed it was in Denver, the site of the Festival of Stories (30 miles from Boulder). Instead it turned out to be in Fort Collins (65 miles from Boulder). Oh, well. Kids! At a radio station! Followed by ice cream! How could I not say yes?

I'm so glad I did.

I arrived in Fort Collins ridiculously early, but found the Alley Cat Cafe ("Always open") right near the radio station, where I sipped delicious ginger tea and outlined the next seven or eight chapters of Vera Everett, Comic Book Star. (I get serious about outlining a book once I have the first few chapters drafted, in this case, the first three). 

Then: time to go to the studio and meet my young readers: four second graders.They were already in the recording room with head phones on (so glamorous!). They hadn't known I was coming and all gave gratifying OMG reactions of happy surprise. We chatted among ourselves, with Kristen's encouragement, as the taped interview played, and then the children gave their report on the book, including what they had liked best.

Simon liked how the principal had an M&M dispenser in his office and how one of the characters shared his name "Simon."

Joie liked when the girls came over to Cody's house and planned costumes for the pet show. She especially liked how the pig was dressed up with a Charlotte's Web theme as she loves that book.

Forrest liked how, when the principal read out the winner for the pet show, he pretended not to be able to read the handwriting on the card that said "Mr. Piggins."

Zoe liked "the rough parts": when Cody's friend Tobit throws a rock at Stubby the Squirrel and upsets Cody, and when Cody and Tobit have a fight and have to go the principal's office.

I told the kids I loved writing all those parts of the book, too.

Here we are in the studio, the kids in their headphones (or other head adornments). 
Afterward, we had popsicles - yum! Mine was raspberry. 

If I'm ever asked again if I want to drive 65 miles to a radio station to hang out with smart, funny, fabulous second graders, I'm not even going to take 30 seconds before I say: YES!


  1. I loved reading this post. What a fun day for both you and your young fan club. I'm sure they will be talking about this for years to come.

  2. Thanks, Laura. It was a blast for all of us!