On January 29th, Neal Shusterman came to our school and held an assembly with middle
schoolers. Mr.Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York and he began his writing career at an
early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of
Mexico City, Neal enrolled in UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and
ran a successful humor column in the school paper. Within a year of graduating, he published his
first book, and wrote a movie script. In the years following, Neal has made his mark as a
successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his
hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many
awards from multiple organizations and has written over 52 different books; “Challenger Deep”
is his proudest work.
We were extremely fortunate to have an exclusive interview with Mr.Shusterman, where
we got an in depth look into his mindset. Mr. Shusterman was inspired to become an author
because he was strongly influenced by Roald Dahl and received a lot of support and
encouragement from his english teacher to become an author. Mr.Shusterman explores many
themes in his book, some of which are the unintended choices we always made and how those
bad decisions we make divide society, and most importantly, how we overcome these mistakes.
Mr. Shusterman always thinks about a theme he wants to explore and why it is important to tell,
going through countless rewrites before he decides to commit to a work. While he is exploring
the themes, he always think about things that are unexpected but also connects to the real world.
Many authors have the problem of writer’s block which is a condition primarily
associated with writing in which an author loses the ability to produce new work.s However, Mr
Shusterman does not believe in this. He thinks that writer block is just an excuse for authors
being lazy. He gives 4 pieces of advice to future authors of St.Mary’s.
1. Write more
2. Make sure to rewrite and revise
3. Read books of different genres.
4. Be persistent
During his visit to St.Mary, he really enjoys the school a lot. He felt that the students here
are energetic and pleasant. If anyone is interested in Mr.Shusterman’s work, you can visit his
website to know more. (storyman.com)
Article by Jeffery Huang