A math and science kid, New York Times bestselling author Gordon Korman said his writing started off as a hobby.
Korman visited Lugoff-Elgin Middle School last week to help inspire a love of reading and writing in every student in the classroom.
Korman completed his first book at the age of 12, when his school’s track and field coach-turned English teacher told his class to “work of whatever you want” for the rest of the school year. After Korman turned 13, he signed his first book deal and Scholastic published his first book This Can’t Be Happening at Macdonald Hall.
Now, Korman has books translated into 14 languages around the world.
The Canada-native, who now lives in New York, travels about 40 days a year to events including schools and libraries to talk about how he started out and where he gets his inspiration. Korman has written more than 70 books; at least one book a year since 1978. Unlike his first book, which his mother typed for him, Korman said his writing process today is seemingly paperless. He types everything on the computer and sends it electronically to his publisher.
“Gordon Korman is a rock star in the field of books for youth,” Lugoff-Elgin Middle School Media Specialist Anne Lemieux said. “When we were making plans to continue our focus on literacy, we decided to dream big, and our PTO agreed to fund this opportunity for our students to spend a day with a successful published author.”
Korman is versatile; he writes a wide range of books for all kids, Lemieux said. Students in each grade level have read at least one of his books. Korman suggested that student writers have their own style of writing. He told students that he gets a lot of his ideas from watching his children and his children’s friends, as well as his experience with children and schools when he is traveling.
“Sometimes, if you want to be a writer, you just ask yourself ‘What do I think is cool, what gets me psyched?” Korman said. “I love old movies; one of my favorite types of old movies is robbery films -- bank jobs, jewel heists…. And that’s where I got the idea for Swindle.
“The last thing you want to be if you are writing is bored. If you’re bored writing then you writing is boring.”
Students who completed their summer reading challenges were allowed to have a special lunch with Korman, which included an autographed copy of his newest book Ungifted. Published by Harper-Collins, the book is about a “normal kid who accidentally ends up in a super high-powered gifted academy.” His next book, Hideout, is set to be released in January 2013, but is already available this month as an e-book. His 39 Clues series, where he is one of eight authors, has been No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Sixth-grader Dalton Reeves said Korman is his “new favorite author.”
“I enjoyed it all; every bit of it! Korman is really cool. His presentation made me laugh and got me really interested in his books,” Dalton said.