Rural youth chatting with Hazel Edwards on video screen. My co-author Hazel Edwards and I participated in a web chat with a group of rural youth in 2011, discussing our book ‘f2m: the boy within’.

The geographic constraints were obvious: Hazel in Melbourne, myself in Wellington, New Zealand, and the youth  in Wellington Shire, Gippsland, Australia – a detail we didn’t notice until the day of the chat.

The group’s questions were wide-ranging, including how to co-write and get published, the benefits of e-books., gender topics including finding support in rural areas, my personal experiences transitioning and media and librarian reactions to ‘f2m: the boy within’.

The first few moments of the chat revealed Phong Truong, Branch Support Librarian and organiser of the chat, to be female and not male as I had assumed. We all make assumptions about gender!

As a new author it’s exciting to have opportunities to talk to young people who have questions about gender, and especially rewarding to chat to your own readers. New technologies give authors these opportunities. Websites such as Skype an author network make it easy to find and get in touch with authors willing to brave the technical world to reach out to their readers.

Technical note: It’s not possible to have two videos appear on Skype simultaneously, though you can have as many audio channels as your bandwidth can handle.


Web chat with rural youth – article by Hazel Edwards on Get Ahead Kids website

Ryan Kennedy’s profile on Skype an Author Network