“I hope you continue to read, write, and follow your dreams” said writer Johanna “JD” Spero as she wrapped up her presentation to students at the Southern Adirondack Education Center.
Literacy teacher Cheryl Bianconi invited the local author to talk to students in the Special Education program as a special literacy enrichment event.
Mrs. Spero began by explaining that she chose the pen name of JD Spero because she wanted a gender-neutral name and didn’t want to be defined as a female.
A Lake George High School alumna, Mrs. Spero talked about her passion for writing, what inspires her, and her two published novels, “Catcher’s Keeper” and “Forte.”
In “Catcher’s Keeper,” her inspiration came from “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger. She wondered what would have happened if the lead character, Holden Caulfield, was around when John Lennon was shot. “Imagine. What if you could change history?” enthused Mrs. Spero. That was how “Catcher’s Keeper” was born.
Her latest book, “Forte,” includes several local references. The story is about a16-year-old New York City girl who loves to play the piano. Then, everything changes when she moves to Whitehall where her peers are more interested in sports than music. Because she’s tall the school’s volleyball coach encourages her to get involved in volleyball and gives her a jolt of magic to make it all possible. Unfortunately, that action cripples her so that she no longer can play the piano forcing her to figure out what is important to her. “The price for fitting in: selling out,” examined Mrs. Spero.
The ex-high school English teacher explained the connection between her two books is the central teenage characters. Each novel explores teenagers’ concerns and questions about their future.
Acting out all the characters, Mrs. Spero read the opening chapter of “Forte” to a very attentive audience. (See the video below.)
Mrs. Spero shared that her third book, “Paradox Lake,” is in the editing/revision stage, but is based on her middle son’s love of nocturnal animals.
Students were very interested in the topic of writing and asked Mrs. Spero several questions.
Students can now read Mrs. Spero’s books as they will be added to the library.
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