Nashville based author Helen Hemphill spent the past several days with a group of fourth-grade students at Middlesboro Elementary School.
Hemphill donated copies of her recent book “The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones” to the school. Twenty lucky students were chosen to read the book — a chapter a night — and have discussions at school each day.
Students also had lunch with Hemphill on Thursday, attended an event Thursday evening at Lincoln Memorial University campus where they heard her speak about her successes with an additional lunch and book signing on Friday. The students enthusiastically described the book during the signing.
“Lots of twists and turns,” commented Rayne Shephard.
“Creative and adventurous,” said Macy Green.
“Unpredictable,” said Jordan McGeorge.
During lunch on Friday, Hemphill presented a slide show explaining the overall process of how she wrote the book —a process many of the students were surprised took years and numerous revisions.
Hemphill explained to the students she spent two and a half years researching and writing the book. During that time, her book underwent eight revisions.
She spent an additional year revising the book with her editor. Then, three revisions later in November 2008 her book was published.
“You learn to write during the revision,” explained Hemphill.
During the question and answer session, students asked Hemphill personal questions about how she became a writer. Hemphill candidly shared her story, talking about everything from being a very young reader to writing her first book later on in her adulthood.
“As a small child I would sit on my father’s lap and would try to read the newspaper,” recalled Hemphill. “When I started kindergarten I had already began to read.”
The author ended by encouraging students to follow their dream as she had.
“For me, writing a book was a dream and now I have accomplished that dream,” said Hemphill.
For more information, visit www.helenhemphill.com.