NORMAN — From digging up secrets from the past to making up secrets of their own, each award-winning young adult author described their creative processes and how it felt to tell stories that had been forgotten.
In cooperation with Random House, Brown Brothers Books, Penguin Publishers and Perma-Bound Books, authors Sonia Gensler, Gennifer Choldenko, Ruta Sepetys and Wendelin Van Draanen inspired students from Norman Public Schools and Moore Public Schools to take on the creative writing process during a fundraising event Monday night.
Each of the four guest authors are nationally acclaimed and celebrated by middle school and high school students for their young adult novels.
Gensler, who grew up in Tennessee, now lives in Norman and is the author of two suspense novels, “The Revenant” and “The Dark Between.” Gensler has won the Oklahoma Book Award and the Parent’s Choice Award. Gensler said when creating the main character of “The Revenant,” she wanted someone who had gumption and was unlike herself.
“I imagined the things I wished I had the courage to do at 17,” Gensler said.
Choldenko, of California, said her novels evolved from researching details and discovering secrets about Alcatraz. She said a lot of her characters came from stories she was told from prisoners who were incarcerated at Alcatraz or children who lived on Alcatraz Island.
Choldenko is the author of the trilogy “Al Capone Does My Shirts,” “Al Capone Shines My Shoes” and “Al Capone Does My Homework.”
“Al Capone Does My Shirts” has sold more than a million copies worldwide. Choldenko said the title and the book aren’t as far-fetched as they might seem and that Al Capone had worked in the laundry room while incarcerated at Alcatraz.
“I (chose) Al because he was the most well-known prisoner and the most colorful,” Choldenko said. “Bits and pieces of people’s stories help build my work.”