THS students learn from award-winning author

Published 2:32 pm Wednesday, November 25, 2015

K.B. Hoyle talks to a group of Thompson High School students in the school’s library on Nov. 23. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

K.B. Hoyle talks to a group of Thompson High School students in the school’s library on Nov. 23. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

ALABASTER—K.B. Hoyle knows being a gifted writer isn’t enough to craft a novel. On Nov. 23, the award-winning author visited Thompson High School to talk with students about the writing process, her journey as an author and the importance of learning.

Today, Hoyle has seven published novels under her belt, and has traveled to numerous literary festivals, including the prestigious Sydney Writers’ Festival in Australia.

Her works include the six-book “The Gateway Chronicles” series, which follows teenage Darcy Pennington through adventures in a new fantasy world; and a new series, “The Breeder,” reminiscent of Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.”

But Hoyle hasn’t always been the polished author she is now. The first book she wrote was never published and never will be, she told students.

Hoyle met with THS English and creative writing classes throughout the day. She stressed the importance of learning writing techniques from both writing and English classes and also from studying other authors.

“I learned the most about writing from studying stories that I love,” Hoyle said, noting she has drawn inspiration from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. “I had to discipline myself, I had to stop writing and learn to write.”

Hoyle also discussed the importance of constructive criticism. Although it can be difficult to receive, Hoyle said it’s an important tool in the writing process.

“I hope that I teach (the students) that they need to learn the discipline of writing, they can’t just rely on the gift that they have,” Hoyle said. “I want them to figure out that they have to be humble about what they don’t know and they need to be patient.”

Hoyle’s visit was organized through collaboration between the THS library and English department.

“I hope (the students) get a little more information about what it takes to be an author,” THS Media Specialist Gregory Stone said.

The THS library often collaborates with different departments in the school to enrich students’ learning experience, Stone said, noting he works closely with both the history and science departments.

Stone said he hopes to expand the number of programs and activities available to students at the library.

“We want to move away from just being books,” Stone said, noting he envisions the library as becoming “more of a hub of the school.”