Author of “Just Fly Away” Andrew McCarthy Visits FHHS
Posted on 04/25/2017
Author of “Just Fly Away” Andrew McCarthy Visits FHHS

The experience of reading a book connects a reader with the author, but nothing compares to connecting with the author in person. Students at Francis Howell High School (FHHS) recently had the opportunity to meet Andrew McCarthy, the author of the book “Just Fly Away” that they read in Michele Dunaway’s The Novel class. During his visit, students had a chance to pick his brain and learn what makes him tick, to help understand the man behind the book. Not only did he let the students in on a few details on what motivates him to write, he also provided a few life lessons.

“All of us connected on a much deeper level with Andrew,” said senior Megan Tersteeg. “He didn’t just answer the questions we had about the book; he gave us so much background about himself and what he has learned in his life, all while pointing them back to the different situations in the book.”

This all began thanks to a simple tweet. Michele Dunaway reached out to Andrew on Twitter, and invited him to speak to her class. “It’s amazing how social media and technology can connect me and my students with someone hundreds of miles away,” she said. “Having him speak about his book and his life to my students was a true eye-opener to how his life connects with the story. This kind of presentation, I believe, provides the most value to our students and helps them understand the content on a much higher level.”

During his visit, McCarthy had several nuggets of wisdom. He shared his experience about when he traveled to Vietnam. “If there’s anything I can encourage students to do is travel outside of the country - be uncomfortable,” he said. “That’s where you can find yourself, and grow.”

“I’ve never spoken in front of a group of young students before,” said McCarthy. “The characters in the story reflected my life and my parents. Being able to create those moments when the reader could personally connect with me, and relate to a character in my writing is really the true goal.”