Author Graham Salisbury Visits HPA

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012
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Special to North Hawaii News

Award-winning author Graham Salisbury delighted Hawaii Preparatory Academy students in grades 3-8 with his stories about growing up in Hawaii. The HPA alumnus visited the Village Campus on Feb. 6 as part of the HPA Friends of the Library author series. The noted author of children’s and young adult novels answered questions about his books and being a writer and signed books for the students.

Salisbury told the students his “Calvin Coconut” series came from his many childhood adventures in Kaneohe and Kailua on Oahu, while “Night of the Howling Dogs” is based on a real-life event his cousin experienced while camping at Halape. His favorite authors include Chris Crutcher, Jack Gantos, Will Hobbs, and Cormac McCarthy. To date, of all the books he’s written, Salisbury’s favorite is “Blue Skin of the Sea,” his first book of 11 short stories about growing up in Kona.

Salisbury, who took up reading late in life, emphasized the importance of reading.  “You can’t be a writer without being a reader,” he said.

The Oregon-based author became a writer “by accident.”

“I had a fear of public speaking and enrolled in a Dale Carnegie public speaking course, where I had to write two-minute speeches,” he said.  His speeches were well received and he decided to try writing short stories, which led to novel writing.

Salisbury suggested that students keep a journal because “when you’re writing, you can look back and get ideas for stories.”  He said the secret to writing is “look for better words; go one step farther than everyone else.”

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