Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Author Chandra Sparks Splond to Host Teen Writing Workshop at West End Library October 10

Chandra Sparks Splond
What: Whose Phone Is This? – Teen Writing Workshop with Author Chandra Sparks Splond
When: Wednesday, October 10, 2018, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
Where: West End Branch Library
Details: Author Chandra Sparks Splond mixes technology with reading in this fun writing workshop where students will create cell phones for their favorite book characters. Free to the public.

Award-winning Birmingham author Chandra Sparks Splond is hosting a free teen writing workshop, Whose Phone Is This, in early October at the West End Branch Library. Splond will mix technology with reading in this fun writing workshop where students will create cell phones for their favorite book characters. The teen event is free and open to the public; no registration required. Call the West End Library at 205-226-4089 for more information.

In a Q&A interview, Splond talked about the workshop and what inspired it:

BPL: Tell me about the teen writing workshop, Whose Phone is This? It is a fascinating concept.
Splond: I'm always looking for fun, different ways to get people excited about reading. Whose Phone is This? is one of those ways. Most kids I know are always on their phones, and adults are often fussing at them to get off it. I thought this workshop would be a way to meet them where they're at, so to speak. They get to play on a phone and talk about some great books. Plus, I don't know about you, but I'm always curious about what people have on their phones. This workshop will also allow participants to get a peek.

You have a teenage daughter. Is raising her one of the things that inspired this workshop? If not where did you get the idea?
My daughter always inspires me. I did run this idea by her when I first decided to do it just to make sure it was teen approved.

What do you hope teens attending this writing workshop get out of it?
I hope the writing workshop will ignite (or reignite) a love of reading for participants. I'm on a mission to get people excited about reading. I sincerely believe that many people don't like to read because they haven't connected with the right book. Prayerfully, this workshop will put participants on the path to finding it if they haven't already.

A lot of your books appeal to teenage readers. Where do you come up with topics to write about?
A lot of the topics I write about come from my own time in high school, as well as my observations of today's teens. The saying is true that there's really nothing new under the sun. When I was in school, when were dealing with topics like love, friendships ,and pursuing your dreams, all of which I address in my books. I try to make my stories real and relevant to the issues with which youth are dealing today.

Any advice for young writers? And any tips for adult potential authors as well?
My advice to writers, regardless of age is to read and write.

I encounter so many people who say they want to write a book, but they don't take the time to actually sit down and do it. There's nothing anyone can do with an idea that's in your head. You have to put something down on paper. As one of my author friends once said, your writing doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be written. Many people I encounter say they don't have the time. You don't need huge blocks of time. Challenge yourself to do fifteen minutes a day. That might mean sitting in your car writing while your child is at soccer practice, or while you're waiting in the school pickup line or getting up a few minutes early. Look at your schedule and figure out how to make it happen. You'll be surprised how that time adds up. Most of my books are written in fifteen-minute blocks.

I also encourage people who want to write a book to read. I meet so many people who admit to not reading. All good writers I know are also readers. Read books in all genres. You don't have to like everything you read, but you can learn from everything you read. Don't just read books, but study them so you learn what to do and not to do in your own writing. If you're wondering how to fit reading into your schedule in addition to writing, again, I encourage you to find fifteen minutes every day to make it happen. One way I get my reading done is through audiobooks. I have the Libby and Hoopla apps offered by the Birmingham Public Library on my phone, and they have boosted the amount of reading I get done dramatically.

You have written how many books? Any new ones coming out soon?
I've written too many books to count at this point. Some of them will never see the light of day because they were teaching me how to write. I recently published my tenth book, Shine, about a girl who is dealing with the fallout from making the biggest mistake of her life. I plan to release a few more books before the end of the year. Readers can sign up for my newsletter and my blog at to find out more about me, my books, and my upcoming releases. There are also excerpts from all of my books available on my site. I also love visiting with schools, churches, libraries, book clubs, and other organizations. If anyone has read any of my books and is interested in setting up a visit, email me at

Anything else to add?
Thanks to you, Roy, Denise Ford, Maya Jones, and the West End Branch of the Birmingham Public Library for this opportunity. I'm a huge fan of BPL. I spent so many days in the West End and Five Points West Libraries as a kid dreaming about when I would one day see my books on the shelves. To now have the opportunity to go back to the West End Branch to inspire our next generation is a full-circle moment and so humbling for me. It's my prayer that I will continue to do you all proud.

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