CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — After reading a short story in class, seventh grade teacher Rashod Seaton decided to let someone else talk to his students about what they’d read.

He reached out to the author herself, Rachel Vail. And she replied.

Today, Mrs. Vail joined 190 seventh graders from Franklin STEAM Academy to talk about her short story, Thirteen and a Half.

Students and teachers had the opportunity to ask questions and learn writing skills from the published author. Several students wrote to Mrs. Vail in the “chat,” telling her what an incredible experience it was to be able to talk to the person who wrote a story that they connected to so deeply.

Mrs. Vail has written more than 40 children and young adult books. Her books focus on topics ranging from the death of a beloved pet to being nervous about a first kiss.

Educators at the school said that they plan to incorporate Mrs. Vail’s writing in their current curriculum. Mrs. Greenwood said she has a page filled with notes for tomorrow’s class discussion.

When asked what she hoped kids took away from the today’s visit, Mrs. Vail said that she hopes they realize that while writing is not always an easy thing, it can still be really fun.