The Moment I Realized People Didn’t Have To Like Me To Like What I Wrote: In high school, I wasn’t so much unpopular as I was nonpopular. Look through my high school yearbooks and, except for class pictures, it’s hard to find evidence that I even existed in those years. That’s OK – being on the downside of the Wheel of Fortune helps form a writer, particularly if the writer has an upside to compare the experience to. In my senior year I took a course called Creative Writing. As usual, I sat alone in the back of the room where I could disappear into the woodwork. The teacher used to read work the students had written without giving the name until afterward. One day, she read something of mine. It was an excerpt from a novel I’d been working on, called The Price of Love, about a teenage girl who falls in love with a Robert Plant style of rock star who comes to town; cleverly, I’d named the rock-star character Robert Stone. After Mrs. White read the excerpt, which actually held the class’s interest, she identified the writer. People were in shock. As an entire classroom of heads snapped around to stare at me, you could almost see people thinking, “That thing that we just enjoyed came out of...her?” Suddenly, I was someone other than who they thought they’d been not seeing for the past few years. It didn’t make me any less nonpopular, but the way people looked at me from then on at least in that one classroom – there was that.