By Caroline White, Class of 2021, Westborough High School
Westborough – On Thursday, Oct. 10, award-winning YA author A.S. King visited the Westborough High School (WHS) library to speak with students about her career, inspiration, and the writing industry. K-12 Library Department Head Anita Cellucci and Westborough Public Library Director Maureen Ambrosino collaborated in bringing King to WHS.
King writes young adult fiction about real life. Some of the topics featured in her books include bullying and mental health.
“I want to shine a light on the things we ignore,” King explained.
She especially loves her books that people, primarily teenagers, can relate to.
When talking about her book “I Crawl Through It,” which she says is her favorite, she commented, “It’s the book I get the most letters from young people about… For some reason, teenagers relate to it.”
King decided that she wanted to be an author in eighth grade. After years of writing, she was eventually published.
“I was finally published when I was 40. It took me eight novels over 15 years,” she said.
To aspiring authors, she encourages resilience. She admitted that the industry is cut-throat, but tells young writers to continue writing.
“Your first book may not be the book,” she said. “It could be your third book. You have to just keep working. Read a lot, write a lot.”
She suggests that writers find something to write about that they’re angry or passionate about because “that means you’re not going to lose interest.”
On the environment of the writing industry today, King said, “At the moment it’s cool in children’s publishing to see how it’s changing to finally include diverse voices.”
She describes excitedly how the writing industry is becoming more inclusive of all different races, genders, and sexualities.
“In high school basically we’re all taught to read about white men,” she remarked. “Now in children’s literature, it’s just kind of exploded and it’s been really wonderful to be able to see just so many diverse voices whether it’s LGBTQ, whether it’s African American voices, whether it’s refugee voices, whether it is immigrant voices. We’re seeing a lot more literature so that everybody is being mirrored in books.”
Students who met King were touched by her kindness and down to earth nature, and strongly impacted by her words of inspiration.
Junior Cristina Vargas commented, “She was very honest and treated us like adults instead of children. She helped me feel more confident in the choices I want to make for myself later in life.”