I just had an awesome time interviewing juniors at GrandBlancHigh School this past Wednesday. I was thoroughly impressed by how seriously the majority of the students took the event, coming in dressed to impressed and even bringing resumes.
It’s an annual event the school sets up to help prepare their kids for postgrad life and the rigors of getting jobs and college admission. Every student is required to attend and do at least two interviews, as well as check out at least three job fair booths.
I have absolutely no idea how these guys found out about me and GODMODE, but they extended an invite to me to appear and conduct some interviews. I was a little apprehensive because I’m not a company and I’m certainly not hiring, so what could I possibly offer to the event? But I decided to attend anyway, and just make the most of my opportunity when I got there. At the very least, I could use it as a vehicle to promote my book some more.
I printed up a few bookmarks with the Godmode website on it, and attended. It was very well organized, and they even offered me breakfast and lunch. It was formatted to where half of the booths conducted interviews while the other half was a job fair, and then it flip-flopped after lunch. I did the job fair part first, and was happy to meet with about 20 students who had taken an interest in either me, my book, or my profession. I was able to guage their interest and give them a few pointers about pursuing one’s dream of writing professionally, and getting published. I was asked about where I draw inspiration, how I got published, what classes I took to prepare for writing, what I write about, as well as the pros and cons of being a writer. I told them the biggest pro of writing, especially writing fiction, was that you are in complete control of the stories you create, which is very therapeutic when you’re a teenager and so much of your world is out of your control. I even got a few of them who were interested in proofreading my next book.
After lunch, the focus shifted and I was the one doing the interviewing. The first bunch of kids I talked to were awesome, and very serious about exploring the writing profession. One guy (I think his name was Desean) was on the Grand Blanc Football team, and played alongside my nephew Terrance Dye, who now plays at NorthernMichiganUniversity (Go Wildcats!). awesome kid: well-prepared, articulate, well-dressed and respectful. If that’s how he always is, Desean;s going to do some major things after he leaves high school. Since I didn’t really have any positions for them to interview for, I instead went the route of asking them about how prepared they were for some of the hidden aspects of the writing life: drawing inspiration, studying others to improve your craft, doing research, handling rejection, withstanding criticism and stuff like that. To some kids I had to give them some important general interviewing tips (i.e. DON’T BE LATE!!!) I talked to a number of other kids, all with very promising futures. Unfortunately, about half of these kids weren’t really interested in becoming authors, and really only interviewed me to meet their quota. To these kids I tried to show them how being a good writer can have a positive impact on whatever their career goals are, and how the skills necessary to being a successful author can still apply to them.
There were a number of prominent companies there, including Microsoft, Edward Jones, ITT, the armed forces and a bunch of colleges. I got to do some networking with Diplomat Pharmacy and hope to get my foot in the door with them and this graphics firm I also met there. I then ran into another author who was looking to start a writer’s group with other African-American writers in Flint. So I was able to come away with some very valuable contacts.
There were quite a few people taking an interest in GODMODE, and I was pleased to have gotten rid of all 25 of my bookmarks. A bunch of the kids thought the concept behind the novel was awesome, and I was pleased to hear that. There was a church there interviewing, and a few of them seemed to take a little umbrage with me using the title GODMODE for a sci-fi horror book about monsters, and I at first wanted to tell them that one of my main characters is a bible-quoting evangelical Christian, but I thought better of it and just shrigged the whole thing off.
I enjoyed the event a lot, and would have stayed a little longer to do more networking if I didn’t have to bolt for work immediately after. If they ask, and I’m still in Michigan next year, I’d love for a chance to do it again.