Author visits with future writers at Pennock

By Staff
Posted 6/22/10

Though the final school bell had rung at Pennock Elementary the afternoon of May 17, a line of students remained, waiting patiently to ask author Robert Liparulo one last question and to sign just …

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Author visits with future writers at Pennock


Though the final school bell had rung at Pennock Elementary the afternoon of May 17, a line of students remained, waiting patiently to ask author Robert Liparulo one last question and to sign just one more book or bookmark.

    Liparulo, author of the popular “Dreamhouse Kings” young adult book series, visited the school last week to talk with about 40 students in third- through fifth-grades with the goal of becoming writers themselves some day.

    A former journalist, Liparulo has written more than a thousand articles and has multiple writing awards to his name. His first two thrillers, “Comes a Horseman” and “Germ,” were optioned by Hollywood producers. The Dreamhouse Kings series debuted in May 2008, with “House of Dark Shadows” and “Watcher in the Woods.” In all, Liparulo has sold more than a million copies of his novels.

    He is working with director Andrew Davis (“The Fugitive,” “The Guardian”) on the novel and screenplay of a political thriller. He lives in Colorado with his family.

    Pennock paraprofessional Angela Tanghal discovered Liparulo and his series after picking up one of his novels at Target. She and her family were hooked since the first book.

    “I am his biggest fan,” she said. “I love his storytelling skills and his novels are very suspenseful.”

    Tanghal knew Liparulo was from Colorado. She enjoyed his works so much that she took a chance. She e-mailed Liparulo earlier this year to see if he might be interested in stopping by Pennock to read to the students – for Read Across America Day – Dr. Seuss’ birthday, in March. Liparulo had a conflict but promised to stop by the school at a later date. He finally was able to stop by earlier this week, the students were just as thrilled as Tanghal to visit with the famous author.

    “These kids have been so excited,” Tanghal said. “All of these kids are ones that have expressed interest in being writers.”

    Liparulo answered a number of questions from the students. He talked about his own favorite novelist, Richard Matheson, author of “I am Legend.”

    Liparulo said he was so affected by that particular novel as a young boy, that he remembered starting to cry while reading the book. Then and there, Liparulo decided to become a storyteller.

    “He made me want to be a novelist, to be a storyteller. For a long time, I told people that my goal was to make 12-year-old boys cry,” he laughed.

    Liparulo urged those students interested in writing for a living to write every day to not get discouraged when trying to get published and to continue to work at improving their writing. He also explained a few of the perks of being a writer.

    “I got to meet a lot of people I wouldn’t have had a chance to meet. Do you know who Leonardo DiCaprio is?” he asked the students.

    “Yeah,” the kids said enthusiastically.

    “I got to have dinner with him because of this,” he said.  

    He said he’s loved forming new relationships with other writers through his work and has also enjoyed getting to know his own characters on a deeper level.

    “I love these kids, I love the family,” he said of his characters in the Dreamhouse Kings series.

    Though he says many of the characters in his books express a part of his own personality, the character of David in the Kings series is a lot like him.

    The Pennock students who took part in Monday’s presentation will have the opportunity to form a plot line for a future “Dreamhouse Kings” book. Kids can contribute a story idea of where the characters should go next, and if Liparulo chooses the idea, they could win an I-pod and story credit.

    One student asked him if, once he began writing a novel, if he ever had second thoughts about finishing it.

    “Every writer has second thoughts,” he answered. “But you have to write it anyway. The better novelists make the market, not chase the market.”

    Liparulo has 10 books published, his 11th is written and is working on the 12th. He said he was extremely fortunate in that it took him only a week to find a publisher.

    “The tough part is not getting published,” he said. “The tough part is finishing your novel.”


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