MOORE — From digging up secrets of the past to making up secrets of their own, each award-winning young adult author described their creative process and how it felt to tell stories that had been forgotten at a fundraising event on Monday night. In cooperation with Random House, Brown Brothers Books and Perma-Bound Books, 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.
Each of the four guest authors are nationally acclaimed and celebrated by middle school and high school students for their young adult novels. Sonia 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.
Gennifer Choldenko, of California, said her novels evolved from researching details about and finding out secrets of Alcatraz and that 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 in fact 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 explained. “Bits and pieces of people’s stories help build my work.”