As a creaky wagon lurched forward along a derelict trail, from one village to the next, an adventure story began to take form. Along the route, while the horses rested, the traveler told stories of his journeys. Taverns glowing with a flickering orange hue, the tales bordered between non-fiction and fiction as the truths slowly became further embellished. It was then, that the story and the story teller were bound. A time where the spirit of the adventurer rose-up within the tale. A time, when they were one and the same.
Fast forward to modern times, and debut authors emerge at rates exceeding the pace of new readers. Authors become further disconnected from their audience as sales circumnavigate the globe in seconds, but the reader’s experience is somehow diminished. The creator behind the tale is no longer lurking between the lines. Their values and experiences from which they thrive upon, which inspire and shape each and every word, are no longer bound together within the eye of the reader. As an American Author, living in Germany, I am isolated from the English-speaking world… I’m isolated by pure geography. But it is in the same method as how we spread stories around the world that there is an opportunity to reconnect with the reader.
On Monday, I held a triple session of back-to-back Skype discussions with a middle-school in Fort Collins, Colorado. The subject wasn’t about my novels, but rather the story-teller behind them. Who am I? What was my path from being an 8th grade reluctant reader to writing my first published novel at the age of forty. It was this bumpy derelict trail, the journey, which inspired my tale. With my new-found relationship at Belvin Middle School, the story behind the story emerged. Consequently enriching the words, values, and inspiration which had originally forged the emotions behind each and every page.
It is only now, in specific cases such as these, that the story teller and the story fuse together in the most natural and organic of ways. The geographic isolation was shattered.
I would like to thank the Belvin Middle School English students for welcoming me into their lives, and opening their minds to the world of story-telling. A special thank you to their teacher, shaper of futures and sculptor of minds, my older sister Jen Kraus for providing the environment to these 8th graders so they could get a glimpse behind the curtain. An even further special note, I had the extreme pleasure of an unexpected guest. My oldest nephew Jayden, who is a huge fan of The Three Hares, also joined the session. For me, that night, their morning, reinforced the meaning and purpose of why I write. This was my story behind the story.
The world is vast, amazing, and thriving with new adventures. But it can be traversed in moments with modern technologies, bringing the story teller from one village to the next, once more.
Note: If you are an educator who may be interested in a Virtual Author Visit, please feel welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows, maybe one of your own students have a story to tell, just waiting for the right spark of inspiration.