Some months ago I was invited to do a skype Q&A with students of Nichols College, Mass, USA. Thanks to my good friend, Lisa C. Taylor, they had been studying my short stories from Hellkite. When I suggested that it would be good experience for all of us if I could get to talk to them about their reaction to my work, she was on the ball immediately and set up the session. There were no electronic glitches; we had a clear picture, fine sound and a group of students who were bright, engaged and full of questions. As it is a college that has a great interest in sport, they also got the opportunity to hear about Irish sport from Peter Moore who was at hand to answer all their questions. I was really delighted when Lisa sent the following responses from them. I think it worked.
· I learned that authors also have times of bad writing.
· My favorite part was when she spoke about how she got the drive to write. She said she gardens or just sits down and writes about anything. I have problems getting started so it was nice to hear her strategies.
· I enjoyed everything and I’m really glad Geraldine could do it. Peter’s laugh was contagious. I liked listening to her talk about where she gets her inspiration. Thank you for this opportunity! Not many people can say they Skyped with an internationally known author!)
· I enjoyed Geraldine’s answers especially when she answered my question by telling me that an idea can spark from gardening or doing dishes. She may be a famous author but she is just like everyone else. I loved the experience. Being able to put a face and a voice to the author of a book completely changed my perspective. It’s so cool that she’s all the way in Ireland. I learned that characters are 1/3 yourself, 1/3 someone you might know, and 1/3 from the imagination. That stuck with me.
· I enjoyed seeing the author in person over Skype. I like all her insights about her life as a writer. I think being able to interact with an author all the way in Ireland was a very cool experience and an overall great experience. I learned about her life and how she functions as an author. I liked that she individually answered each question in depth.
· I thought it was a great use of our class time because I really got to understand how much time and effort goes into being a writer. So much writing is done and so little is actually used. I learned that basketball isn’t that popular in Ireland.
· My favorite part was getting a clearer picture of some of the stories. I learned that even though she lives in Ireland, she’s not so different.
· I loved asking my own questions. She went into a great deal of detail in answering my question. I learned that her stories don’t represent her life at all.
· I loved seeing a face behind the book. She really connected with us over Skype and it was a very enjoyable experience. I also loved talking to Peter. I learned that it can take up to a year to make a good story.
· My favorite part was hearing how passionate she was about her work. She was excited to talk to us and answer our questions. I learned that writing experiences can come to you anywhere.
· My favorite part was when her husband came on to talk about sports in Ireland. He brought a lot of energy and I could tell he enjoyed talking about it.
· I learned that she likes to leave stories without a true ending to make the reader question what might happen.
· It was so interesting to read many of her stories and only know her name and then “meet” her via Skype and get a taste of her personality. It really added a dimension to her writing for me. That was my favorite thing. I also learned that a story takes itself where it wants to go. I’ve never had such an up close and personal connection to literature as this. The relationship that Lisa has with Geraldine is seriously inspiring.
· I learned that writing is a labor of love and the vast majority of writers don’t do it for their living. My favorite part about the Skype is that even though she is a writer, she is still like other people. She didn’t act better than us because she is famous. I also learned that writing there and here isn’t that different.
· The best part was learning her story and why she writes.
· I liked talking sports with Peter. He is filled with energy and also funny. Geraldine has so much passion for writing and it was great to hear how much it means to her.
· Peter was a lot of fun and cool. I learned you are never done trying new stuff and working on what you know. She seems so open to new ideas and happy to listen even though we were asking her questions.
· I liked how she was so willing to answer all the questions that we had. She was very invested in our time.
· I liked her accent and learning how Irish culture is different. I learned what it is to be a writer and that you need to just write.
· My favorite part was hearing her talk about inspiration. I also like hearing Peter talk about sports. I learned that most of her stories come from a random idea.
· My favorite part was being able to see the author and have her answer my question. I learned how she came up with the opening for ‘Centre of a Small Hell’ which was so cool to find out.