Middle School students in the Art of Storytelling class spoke with author Emily Barth Isler via Zoom on Tuesday, November 8 about the process of writing and her debut novel, AfterMath.
AfterMath is an award-winning middle grade novel about grief, resilience, friendship, math, and mime. The book tells the story of 12-year-old Lucy, who recently lost her brother to a congenital heart defect. She is not prepared to be the new kid at school, especially in a grade full of survivors of a shooting that happened four years ago. Without the shared past that both unites and divides her classmates, Lucy feels isolated and unable to share her family's own loss, which is profoundly different from the trauma of her peers.
“The idea for AfterMath popped into my head and I couldn’t let it go,” author Emily Barth Isler told the MBS students. “I was affected by the school shootings that I was seeing in the news, and I kept thinking that I had to find a way to do something about it. As a writer, I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I have the opportunity to start conversations. That’s the most powerful thing I can do.”
Ms. Isler discussed researching her novel, generating ideas, and overcoming writer’s block. She also spoke about her favorite authors and offered advice to students who may aspire to become a writer.
“Writing is a process. Don’t ever let the fear of rejection, or of other people reading your work, stop you from writing,” she said.