The Art of Authoring: Local author visits CHS Book Club. - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Islander Times News

The Art of Authoring: Local author visits CHS Book Club.

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Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 5:17 pm

Laura McNeal is a local author and CUSD parent who has written over five novels, several in collaboration with her husband and fellow writer, Tom McNeal. McNeal attended a master’s program at Syracuse University and met her husband, Tom, at a writer’s conference. It’s certainly quite the match; the two are constantly sharing their work with one another and this partnership eventually resulted in their novels Crooked, Zipped, and Crushed along with other titles. “Tom and I are still happily married after 20 years because we share the same goals professionally and personally—family first, books second.” said McNeal.

This past week, McNeal was very kind to come to the school with the intention of speaking to the CHS Book Club about making a living as an author. Members had the chance to hear about how she got into her profession and what her writing process looks like, from initial conception of a plotline to a novel on a shelf. Upon asking, I discovered that McNeal’s father had been in the Air Force, so she had moved around seven times before she was seventeen. “I learned to be observant and to listen carefully to the way people talk - to speak as they did and notice their gestures and habits,” said McNeal. She finally had a defining moment in a high school English class where she realized “I want to do that as a career.”

On the whole, McNeal’s body of work is directed towards a teen or middle-grade audience. McNeal says that this focus was somewhat of an accident. But when she described writing for teens, she brings up an interesting point: “Teenagers are powerful and innocent and hopeful, like many protagonists in novels written for adults as well as teens. They’re in the process of making decisions that will determine their entire lives, and they’re full of illusions about the future. That’s what novels are about: who we think we are when we start out, and who we are after our experiences test those illusions.”

McNeal breathes fresh life and art into the often commercial Young Adult genre. She left the members of the book club grinning ear to ear and eager to grab a pen and start writing.

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