Novelist to Vets students: 'Follow your muse’
Students at Warwick Veterans Middle School got a crash course in how to write a novel geared towards their age group Wednesday, as the school welcomed Paul Mosier, a Phoenix, Ariz. author of middle grade fiction novels, most notable “Train I Ride,” which has sold copies around the world.
The appearance came about as the result of a Twitter contest put on by Mosier where he simply asked middle schools to send him a message requesting he come to their school. As a result, Mosier visited a handful of schools in Rhode Island, including Vets, which has “Train I Ride” on their reading list for students as part of the ELA curriculum.
Mosier, along with his 15-year-old daughter Hannah, had the full attention of the audience as he told students about the novel writing process and his own personal journey to becoming a novelist.
“I’ve always written, but I never thought I could write a novel until I did it,” Mosier said. “I hope you guys have all had that experience of not thinking you could do something, and then you did it.”
Mosier said that he had been a painter and a writer, allergic to the “normal” types of jobs that were more restrictive creatively, but he never wrote a novel until around 2011. He did it as part of National Novel Writing Month (shortened to “NaNoWriMo”), which is a literary challenge offered to writers in November to write an entire novel in 30 days, and then spend a year refining that rough copy into something substantial.
Mosier urged students in the audience who liked to write to “trust their muse,” that gave them ideas, even if they feel like abandoning stories when they do come up with ideas. He said it was important to not feel as though you have to conceptualize an entire story prior to writing it, and that it can be discovered a little bit at a time, “like driving on a winding mountain road.”
While Mosier said he didn’t read a ton of books when he was a kid, he said he was always writing something. He has taken inspiration from his life – such as the tragic loss of his 9-year-old daughter, Harmony, to cancer – to inspire works such as “Echo’s Sister,” but also utilizes his own creativity to create character-driven stories from the perspective of teenage girls, as in “Train I Ride” and “Summer in July,” which he said is due to publish in the summer of 2020 under his publisher, Harper Collins.
When asked about the process of writing a full story, Mosier once again reiterated that “the answer is always the muse.” He said if he wasn’t an author he’d be “crying and wallowing in my own filth somewhere.”
Making his first visit to Rhode Island, Mosier expressed how nice and accommodating everyone has been to him since he arrived, and looked forward to the rest of his trip. He also said how fortunate he feels to be able to be doing what he loves for a living.
“The muse keeps on giving me stories, and I feel lucky that the muse keeps choosing me to write and share these stories,” Mosier said.