Monday, January 27, 2014

Author holding writing workshop for teens at Mentor Public Library

Rachele Alpine
Teens who like to write will have a special opportunity this Saturday, Feb. 1, at Mentor Public Library.

Rachele Alpine—the author of the Young Adult novel, Canary—will host a writers workshop especially for teens from 1 to 3 p.m. at the library’s Main Branch.

Everyone who registers for the workshop will also get a free copy of Canary. Alpine’s book tells the story of Kate Franklin, a teenage girl who is sexually assaulted by a popular student-athlete and then told by her father to keep it a secret.

We talked to Alpine in anticipation of her workshop.

1. What made you want to be a writer?

I've always loved words. I can’t remember a time when I wasn't surrounded by books or telling stories to people. I have always been the type of person who wonders, “what if?” Writing allows me to explore that question and create worlds where I can answer it.

2. Why is the story of Canary special to you?

Canary actually started as a project I did in undergrad about 12 years ago. I was an education major, and we had to research a topic that was a problem in schools or among teenagers. I chose sexual harassment and assault.

Instead of presenting the findings in a standard research, my teacher had us create a multi-genre paper. This is a more creative way of sharing your work by using poetry, short stories, pictures, song lyrics, comments and other artistic elements.

One of the poems in my piece told that story about a girl who was afraid to speak up about what was going on in her school. It was this poem that stuck with me and I kept going back to year after year. It felt like a story that needed to be told.

When I sat down to write Canary, I went back to this poem as inspiration. The coolest thing is that the poem ended up in the final copy of the book.

3. What do you hope the teens who come to your writing workshop will get out of it? 

I want teens to leave the workshop full of new ideas, story starts, and an excitement for writing. We’ll be doing a variety of writing exercises to get their creative juice flowing and keep them writing well beyond the workshop.

I’m also looking forward to talking with them about publishing, everything that goes into getting your book onto the shelves, and answering any questions they might have about writing.

4. What is the best writing advice you ever received? 

The best advice I ever received was to read as much as I can (anything and everything because books are your best teachers) and to write every single day. It doesn't matter whether what you’re writing is good. You just want to get into the habit of creating new words each and every day.

5. Canary is, in part, about a young girl who is scared to tell her story? Why is it important that young people tell their stories--either through writing or other means? 

It is so important to get your story out and never have your voice silenced. No matter how hard it is, someone is going to listen. It’s through stories that people find understanding, strength and inspiration. We need to tell our stories because if we don’t, who will?

Teens can register for Alpine’s writing workshop by calling the Mentor Public Library at (440) 255-8811 ext. 215 or on the library’s website.

People can learn more about Alpine and her writing at

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