TWICE ASK Author: Nothing But Trouble

Today TWICE is hosting a day of sessions with author Sue Stauffacher on her book Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson.

Althea Gibson was “the first African-American woman to be a competitor on the world tennis tour and the first to win a Grand Slam title in 1956. She is sometimes referred to as “the Jackie Robinson of tennis” for breaking the color barrier.” – Wikipedia.

This program is an excellent Black History month program because the students get to learn much about the history of the time, as well as the writing process. Sue has a great PowerPoint with historical photographs that show the history and what Althea’s life was like.

Did you know that in Sue’s book Donuthead, the character Sarah Kervick is based on Althea Gibson’s toughness?! Now you’ll have to go read that book again to compare!

Here’s a flavor of the conversations and discussion from these sessions.

  • How do you get inspiration for your books? Usually by accident!
  • We noticed that the colors in the book around Althea Gibson are much brighter in the beginning of the book than at the end of the book. Why is that? The artist was trying to use colors represent how Althea moved from chaotic energy to focus towards the end of the story.
  • Why do you think Althea was so angry and wild? The answer included explaining how great athletes often have a wild streak and the ones that are great are able to harness and focus that energy.
  • What does “nicking sweet potatoes” mean?
  • What is your favorite part of the writing process?
  • How do you overcome writer’s block? I like to do something that uses my hands but not my head. Then I let the question rest in my mind and sometimes the answer comes!
  • What are your favorite genres?
  • In talking about publishing and failed projects, Sue explained to the students that if you want to succeed, you need to expect to fail. It takes persistence and many tries to succeed.
  • On her upcoming TillieRide, she invited the students to write notes to her to tell her how they overcame something. She said I’m scared, but sometimes you just have to overcome your fear!

Sue has a quirky sense of humor, and engages delightfully with the students. We hope you can participate in another session with Sue! There are still openings in the some TWICE ASK sessions with Sue in April if you want to join us!

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