WILDWOOD - Most authors are known only to their readers through their work and a few lines, often with a photograph on a book jacket.
But on Thursday fifth-grade enrichment students in Glenwood Avenue Elementary School's lunchtime book club got to interact with author Sarah Prineas, asking questions about everything from her inspiration for her writing to the illustrations in her books.
Prineas, author of "The Magic Thief" series of children's books, however, wasn't visiting the Wildwoods or even the Jersey Shore.
She spoke to the group via Skype, an Internet telephone and video service, from her home in Iowa City, Iowa.
Prineas appeared on a large screen as the book club's members ate their lunches and asked their questions.
"Do you draw the pictures that are in your books," Mia Nocho asked.
"No, I'm a terrible artist," Prineas admitted. "If it were my pictures, it would just be stick figures."
The children laughed and Prineas then explained how the illustrations were made by an illustrator, Antonio Javier Caparo, who she'd never actually met.
Prineas said that the illustration of one character, Rowan, actually changed how the character appeared because the illustrator drew her with straight hair, while Prineas initially imagined her with her red hair sticking up.
"So Rowan looked different than I imagined her," she said of the character's final look in the book.
Prineas shared other insights and personal stories about how she came to be a writer.
Student Audrey Cordero asked, "When you were younger were you a good writer?"
Prineas said she was a writer, but more importantly she loved to read as a child.
"What I was when I was younger was a reader, a passionate reader," she said.
She also recalled that her father was a great storyteller.
"So I think I got my storytelling genes from him," she said.
Prineas laughed when one student suggested young actor Jaden Smith should play one of her characters, Conn, if a movie version was made. She had recently seen a remake of "The Karate Kid" with him in it and agreed that he would fit the part.
"I'm totally psyched that you think that," Prineas said.
The conversation was a welcomed opportunity for the club, librarian Marcia Lloyd and enrichment teacher Michael Menszak.
But young Zachary Cripps, 10, summed up the Skype event best.
"It's better than recess," he said.
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