So, how many authors out there actually face, day to day, their audience? How many authors walk into their place of work (mine, my classroom) to be accosted by comments like I've received from young 15 year old Charlotte?
‘Mrs Roxborogh, am I going to hate you?’
‘Someone's told me that someone really important dies. It better not be [name].’
I say: I'm not saying a thing.
Charlotte shakes her finger at me. 'Don't make me angry with you!'
The next day, I show them the promo to Bloodlines. Charlotte, who is reading Banquo's Son, huffs and puffs during the screening and then turns to me. 'I can't believe you! How could you? I hate you!'
I suppose, normally, a teacher would be alarmed by such sentiments but it seems the strength of my story has moved her to declare passionately her position.
And then, the next day, she's read more and trucks on in, chirpy as, telling me she's delighted to learn the William is Macduff. Something must have registered on my face because she turns on me: 'don't tell me you've.../ Oh My God. Stop getting rid of the best characters!
All I say is: I love Macduff.
She says, eyeing me suspiciously. 'He's cool.' And then sits at her desk to continue with her NCEA internal.
Looks are passed around the class and to me. About a quarter have read Banquo's Son and know what happens.
Me? I'm onto the third book.
Charlotte? She's annoyed at Rosie. She's in love with Duncan. She's now suspicious of me as a story teller.
Thank goodness she still trusts me as her English teacher, what with me killing off some characters she's come to love!