Day: October 5, 2013

244. Barrington Homecoming for DIVERGENT Author Veronica Roth

 A fitting visit for homecoming week, 2006 BHS graduate and New York Times best selling author of the “DIVERGENT Trilogy”, Veronica Roth came home to Barrington Thursday and Friday for a series of events supporting Barrington 220 Educational Foundation programs that enhance learning in the district’s schools.
With the third book in her trilogy “ALLEGIANT” scheduled to be released on October 22nd and the first book “DIVERGENT” being made into a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet and due out this March, the 25-year-old author shared how her experience at Barrington 220 schools helped pave the way for her success.
During the two days she visited with students and fans at Barrington schools, Veronica offered advice for aspiring writers and talked about the inspiration for the “DIVERGENT Trilogy”, her young adult series set in a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of Chicago.
Two of Veronica’s former teachers, Dr. Becky Schultz from Grove Avenue Elementary School and June Kramer from Barrington High School’s English Department led an interview with Veronica before a full house in the BHS auditorium Thursday night where Veronica shared that her love for playing pretend as a child was a precursor to her writing career.  She says when that ended at about age 10 or 11, she started writing.  “I would create these weird, elaborate stories in the sixth grade.”
Veronica also credits past teachers in Barrington for encouraging her to submit her writing to contests and says her first exposure to some of the Chicago landmarks that appear in her books dates back to a walking tour of the city she took with one of her Barrington 220 classes.
Veronica also shared a list of books that have influenced her work (see below) and these three key pieces of advice for aspiring writers…
1.  Work Hard

Veronica says people often ask her for writing advice and tips to make writing easier.  She told the audience that her answer is always to say that there is nothing easy about writing and that there are no short cuts.
“The only thing you can do to get better at writing is to write.  Write a lot.”
2. Pay Attention
Veronica shared that ideas for her writing continue to come from the subjects, like psychology, and the surroundings that interest her most.
“The Fuel for writing is everywhere, so pay attention.”
3.  Don’t Fear Failure
During her sessions with students, Veronica stressed that failure is a necessary part of growth, a message that resonated with young fans like BHS Freshmen Casey Bergman and Katie Klepp who brought their copies of Veronica’s books to the events.
Katie Klepp says, for her, this piece of advice was a highlight.  “She told us, if we fail, we just have to try and fail better next time which I thought was really cool.”
Students from Station Middle School like these friends from 7th grade walked away with their Veronica Roth books in hand and a healthy dose of new confidence.
7th grader Audrey Taillon says she left the program with a feeling that all things are possible.  “It’s amazing how any one of us could be just like her.  It makes me feel like we have such a bright future.”
Another interesting tidbit Veronica shared is that she writes her books while walking slowly at a treadmill desk.  And she says her cure for writers’ block is to let go of fears about how her work will be received and, as she puts it,  “Learn how to open up to the world sometimes but at other times, learn how to close the door.”
During the evening interview at Barrington High School, Veronica’s former teachers asked her about books and authors that have influenced her writing.  She was quick to share these five books of note which have had some impact on her work……

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