• Anika Hussain

Guest Speaker at Austin Bat Cave’s Writing Retreat for Young Authors

Sometimes I can't believe this is my life. Sometimes, I can't believe that not only do I get to write novels but that I also get to share this experience with students/future authors.

Today, I did a virtual guest speaking gig for the young authors at Austin Bat Cave's Writing Retreat. To say I was terrified is an understatement. I mean, I've done talks before but never to my actual target audience. Before it had even began, I was sweating through my sweater and regretting all my life decisions.

As soon as the Skype ringtone started to blast through my laptop speakers, I was ready to hide under my bed. But I didn't (yay me!). Instead, I calmly took a seat on my chair and answered the call. I smiled straight into the camera and I'd like to say that as soon as I saw the students sitting there that my nerves calmed.

They didn't. They got worse. It did help, however, that we were having technical problems so I had a few minutes to gather myself and convince myself that I got this.

But as soon as I spoke to them, the nerves dissipated. Talking to them was like talking to my friends. I didn't have to put up a front or pretend that I was a "real" adult. They asked me questions about my favourite TV shows (One Tree Hill), favourite book/author (Looking for Alaska by John Green, obvi), have I ever met John Green (no, but please John Green can we meet, I promise not to faint) and about my favourite band (One Republic). They wore big smiles on their faces and some of them were so excited they even asked multiple questions - if that isn't a compliment, then what is?

I told them about my process/the inspiration behind book 1 and book 2, how to manage life + work + writing without dying, and the importance of watching telly on the daily to improve writing dialogue (I'm so sorry, parents, it's the only way!).

It's actually insane how I fun I had doing this virtual visit and I'm still in shock as I'm writing this.

Man, I can't believe this is my life.