Students from Brooke Weston had the opportunity to meet best-selling author David Baldacci when he visited Corby Business Academy recently. The writer, who has published more than 30 books, spoke about his career and inspiration.
As well as penning thrillers his latest project has been writing fantasy titles for young adults including The Finisher and the latest book, The Keeper, which has just been published.
Mr Baldacci told the students: ‘I wouldn’t be a writer today if I hadn’t been a voracious reader as a kid. I wanted to be a writer from about the age of seven or eight. The idea of putting thoughts and ideas on a piece of paper was an epiphany for me.
‘As a writer if you don’t try different things you lose your spark and imagination and all you end up doing is typing; you write the same story with different names. If you don’t stretch yourself as a writer and try something different you wither on the vine. If you want to be a writer then don’t read self-help books, read the great masters like C S Lewis and Tolkien.
‘Entering the world of fantasy in my books for young adults was liberating for me. People think it’s easier to write for younger readers than adults. I tell people you write down to young people at their peril. What thrilled kids ten years ago doesn’t thrill kids today. When you write for kids you better bring your A game across the board otherwise they won’t finish the book.
‘The old adage is "write what you know". I would modify that to say "write what you would like to know". You have got to have a passion for the story because it may take you a long time to write it. When I was at school, college and law school I would eavesdrop. I was always interested in people. If you want to be a writer at some point you will have to write dialogue which isn’t as easy as you might think.’
Ten of our students, including Sixth Former Louise Sharpe, attended the talk at Corby Business Academy. She said: ‘Mr Baldacci talked about how he got into writing and how he went to Italy to see where his grandparents and ancestors grew up and the mayor organised a Baldacci day in his honour. He said that he used to read all the time when he was younger and used to go to the library and take out more books than he should have but they let him because they knew he would come back a week later and get some more. He wanted to give people the same feeling he had when he read books, to inspire younger people to write later on in life. He wrote his first book at about 34. Most of the times he gets inspiration from his wife and his mum because they are very strong, independent women. For me the best bit was learning what inspired him and all the different things he has done previously, like working as a lawyer.’
Corby Business Academy was the only school that Mr Baldacci visited on his current UK tour. He said: ‘I’m really glad that I’ve come here. I was impressed by the students’ questions. They are curious and intelligent. I would like the students here to aim to do something that they have a passion for. Most people have a job that pays the bills but they aren’t passionate about it. Take the time to find something you are passionate about and go for it. Passion is like lightning - it doesn’t often strike twice.’