How well do you know your favorite authors? Megan McCafferty thinks you could know them a little better – especially when you Ask! Authors! Anything!
McCafferty has launched a new online series in association with Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party (SGATP) foundation. Hosted on Google Hangout, McCafferty will conduct a live interview via webcast with different authors on a monthly basis. Last month, she interviewed Sarah Dessen (The Moon and More) with the help of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Tomorrow, she will talk to Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak) at 2pm EST.
“It all started with a fangirly email I wrote to the editors of the Smart Girls at the Party site saying, among other things, how much I love their motto: ‘Change the world by being yourself,’” said McCafferty. She began talking to SGATP’s social media editor Ashley Kuske, a book lover who encouraged her to create the series that Kuske would have watched as a teenager.
McCafferty is an author herself. Her popular contemporary young adult series, Jessica Darling, has spiraled off into a new middle-grade series featuring – you guessed it – Jessica Darling. She knows the power authors have, and she knows just how hard it is to connect students and readers to their favorite authors.
“I coordinated annual author visits at my son’s elementary school. Even kids who don’t see themselves as big readers or writers will get inspired after hearing ‘a real live author’ answer questions about their work. Unfortunately, many schools don’t have the resources to provide such programs. With the Google Hangout platform, anyone with a computer can join in on the conversation when we broadcast live online. In a way, Ask! Authors! Anything! creates a virtual author visit for those who otherwise couldn’t get one,” said McCafferty.
Upcoming authors will include Anderson, Rita Williams-Garcia (One Crazy Summer), and Gayle Forman (Just One Day). McCafferty has many authors on her dream list – but one stands high above the rest.
“I’ll have to work up my courage before I’m brave enough to ask my idol Judy Blume! She was my first favorite author – the one who made the most profound impact on me as a young writer.”
The question is – will Judy Blume participate in McCafferty’s infamous Barryoake with her? Will we see somebody sing Barry Manilow on the show at all?
“Yes. And that ‘somebody’ will probably be me in a duet by myself,” said McCafferty.
Those interested can RSVP for the live show here. Anybody can ask questions for Laurie Halse Anderson by tweeting McCafferty at @meganmccafferty with the hashtag #AAALHA or by submitting to the Ask! Authors! Anything! Tumblr.
“The show can’t exist without your voice, so don’t hold back!”
In addition, McCafferty opened up Ask! Authors! Anything! to students, librarians, and teachers who want to participate. She is looking for groups of “tweens and teens” who love books, and hopes to generate enough interest from librarians and teachers that she can feature diverse perspectives from a wide range of young girls. You can tweet at McCafferty to apply.