St. Joseph Catholic School was host last week to visiting author Susan Campbell Bartoletti of Scranton, Penn., who is known for her poetry, short stories, picture books, novels and nonfiction for young readers.

All 170 students and faculty crowded into the school cafeteria to hear the writer share not only some of the content of her fiction and non-fiction books, but also everything that goes into creating a literary work.

After asking the students if they like to read and having a resounding “yes” for a response, she told them that every one of them was a potential writer.

“My works are mostly history and are built around themes,” Bartoletti said. “I have written 15 books since 1994, and I love to deal with historical exploitations such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazis, the Irish Famine and the injustice of child labor early on in our country.”

In developing a fiction book, Bartoletti said she takes the backdrop of history and runs it through her mind in telling a story the way it could have happened.

The author shared her techniques for writing to her young audience, sharing with them three key components she utilizes.

“First of all, remember that you make time to do the things you really want to do,” she said, explaining that since she was an eighth-grade English teacher for 18 years, she had to choose the early morning hours to write and research her next book.

“Then I would suggest that you write about things you like and, finally, write about things you don’t understand,” she advised.

She told her audience the technique for developing a story, saying she begins with the setting, has a main character, establishes motivation for the character, develops a plot and makes sure the main character doesn’t get everything he or she wants. 

For further information on Bartoletti, visit her website at

Contact Paul at or 469-517-1450.