Student attends writing camp led by Jonathan Rand

Along with all the other fun stuff Drew Seabase of Alpena got to do over his recent holiday vacation, this fourth grader at Ella White Elementary School wrote a fictional story.

While that might not sound like the most engaging activity for your average 10-year-old, for Seabase, it was a prime opportunity. The work on his story took place at an exclusive writing camp in Wolverine led by his favorite children’s author, Jonathan Rand.

Seabase was one of only 17 students from across the state selected to participate in Rand’s workshop for young writers. The camp, called Author Quest, took place in Wolverine where Seabase rubbed shoulders for four days with the well-known author of the American Chillers and Michigan Chillers mystery series.

Rand spent the time inspiring, encouraging and teaching the kids about writing.

“It was a Christmas present. My parents found out about the camp two weeks before Christmas,” said Seabase, who has read all of Rand’s Michigan Chillers and most of his American Chillers. “We learned a lot about writing, and I started writing a new story.”

The camp was structured to include four workshops and four individual writing sessions where the young attendees worked alone on their own writing projects. They also took part in numerous other kid-oriented activities like sledding, tubing and doing stretching exercises together.

Another enjoyable activity was going outside at night to gaze at the stars during a full moon.

Seabase, who is the son of Neil and Becky Seabase, said his favorite part of Author Quest was being among the first to hear about Rand’s newest books.

“He told us he has three new books coming out,” Seabase said. “I really enjoyed hearing about that.”

Those books include “Wicked Waterparks of Wyoming” and “Underground Undead in Utah” in the American Chillers series and “Catastrophe in Caseville” in the Michigan Chillers series. Seabase said the Caseville book, number 16 in the series, is about a giant cheeseburger that attacks the city.

Seabase also liked learning how Rand goes about his writing process, which involves Rand reading his story out loud via a headset that then transposes what he is speaking into written words on the computer. The shortest amount of time it took him to write a book this way, said Seabase, was two days.

Prior to attending the writing workshop, Seabase previously had met Rand when he spoke at Alpena County Library and also at his store in Indian River called Chillermania.

As far as Christmas gifts go, this third opportunity involving Rand ranks high up on his list of favorites.