Building Worlds – Best-Selling Author Tomi Adeyemi Visits with FHC Students

Posted on 04/09/2018
Building Worlds – Best-Selling Author Tomi Adeyemi Visits with FHC Students

School is all about building a world for students – constructing a future where they can use their talents. Best-selling author Tomi Adeyemi has built a world that has enraptured young adult readers in her “Legacy of Orisha” trilogy, the first of which is titled, “Children of Blood and Bone.” A movie rights deal was recently signed with Fox 2000, but before the author shares her best-selling world on the big screen, she shared with Francis Howell Central High School students how to build a better world for themselves.

More than 100 students packed the learning commons at FHC to hear Adeyemi speak about her book and the writing process. After all, it wasn’t just any author speaking. Abram Cutshall, a senior, was elated to be there. “It’s incredible. Two days after I heard about the book, I saw (Adeyemi) on ‘Good Morning America’ talking about her deal being one of the biggest book deals that has ever been signed, and that she’s the next J.K. Rowling. If we hadn’t booked her before things had blown up, we might not ever have been able to meet her. It’s exciting to be with her right now, at the beginning of the journey, so we can kind of experience it with her.”

For those who couldn’t attend, the presentation was streamed live on Skylar Laird, also a senior at FHC, ran the streaming camera and microphone. Though she was there to work, technically, Laird was also present as a fan. “This is awesome,” she said. “I only heard about this yesterday, which is the only reason I haven’t read (her book) yet.”

Laird and Cutshall expressed the excitement that many around school felt about Adeyemi’s appearance. “She’s so big now and gotten so far in such a short amount of time. And she was talking about her movie deal, which I can’t wait to see. I just can’t believe we were able to get her here to talk to us.”

For Adeyemi, the pleasure was all hers. To see so many avid readers (of any book, not just hers) and aspiring authors together gave her plenty of reason to smile. Adeyemi wasn’t there to sell books – she’s sold plenty, reaching No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list. Instead, she was there to inspire the students to build their own world, whether they are an aspiring author or just wanting to build a better world in general.

Adeyemi’s website includes lots of advice for writers, but she has two suggestions for everyone wanting to delve into the craft. “It’s actually really simple – just write,” she said with a smile. “I know that sounds annoying, but the more you write, the better you get at it. We wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t tried really hard on the first book I wanted to get published that didn’t go anywhere.” When it didn’t get published, she felt like four years of hard work were wasted. “But this one – from start to finish – took a year and a half. So, I learned so much in that four-year process.”

It doesn’t matter what you write, either, as Adeyemi suggested. Just doing it gives vital experience. “I wrote so much fan-fiction growing up, too … not even growing up, I still do. I thought ‘You’re wasting your time, why don’t you write something original?’ But I was practicing.”

The second piece of advice also sounds simple. “Read,” Adeyemi said with wide eyes to emphasize its importance. “One of the biggest reasons my first book didn’t go anywhere was that it was written for “Harry Potter” fans, and we’re far past “Harry Potter.” People still love it, but they don’t want new “Harry Potter.” They want new epic adventures. And in 10 years, people are going to want something else.”

And perhaps Adeyemi was speaking to the author of that next big thing from 10 years in the future, after getting the inspiration they had always sought – from an author who wanted to help them build worlds.

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