by Trudi Trueit
Recently, I got to Skype with an amazing group of kids, who’d gathered at the Frisco, Texas public library outside of Dallas, Texas to say ‘hello.’ Many of my online sessions are held with classrooms where the students are around the same age, so it was fun to do a virtual visit where the group spanned a wide range, from kindergarten through sixth grade. But little did I know when we began that this Skype visit would be unlike any other I’d ever done . . .
This particular event had been in the planning stages with Ms. Ashley Allen and her well-organized team of librarians since last spring. Ahead of the session, I’d sent several of my books to give away, including my newest tween novel, Stealing Popular. We had also planned to play a game, so I also sent bookmarks and stickers for prizes. When our Skype day, finally, arrived it was sunny and 73 degrees in Frisco. By contrast, it was a blustery, wet day in Seattle. The rain was coming down in torrents outside my window, with a river of water rushing down the sidewalk (it would turn out to be a record-breaking two inches of rain before the day was out).
Our virtual visit got off to a good start. I talked about how I got hooked on reading and writing as a child, and turned my passion into a career in TV news. I talked about how I’d made the transition from news reporter to children’s author. I had just begun answering their questions about my life as an author when everything went dark. The power had gone out.
I sat, staring helpless at my computer screen. This could not be happening. We had planned for this day, this moment, for months! Fortunately, within less than a minute the power came back on. Ashley called my cell as we’d agreed to do should something like this happen and I told her to hang in there. I powered up my computer, got back online, and when the Skype call went through, I heard a cheer go up from the kids. We were back in business! During the five minutes I was away, Ashley had done a wonderful job of keeping the children occupied by holding the drawing for my books. Whew! We continued on with more questions, a reading from Secrets of a Lab Rat: No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay) and finished up with a game without any further power issues. Double whew!
I was so grateful for the patience and flexibility from Ashley, her team, and the kids. Even with our mini break (and my mini panic to get back online), it was a delightful visit, and one I’m sure we’ll all remember.
I’d love to Skype or Google with your class, library, or book club (and remember, 25% of my online visit fees go to Orphans Africa). You can learn more about virtual visits or reach me through my website at www.truditrueit.com. We’ll have a great time. After all, what are the chances I’d have another power outage?