Picoult received her bachelor's in creative writing from Princeton and a master's in education from Harvard. At Princeton, she studied with author Mary Morris, who she said inspired her to follow her love for writing. Picoult told the audience of a different type of experience in education when she was a young girl.
"I can trace back to a moment in fourth grade. I had a teacher who asked the class to write about their summer vacation. I wrote my story through the eyes of my piano. I got my paper back with an F, and was told this was not a creative writing assignment. It was then that I felt I knew creative writing was going to be my niche," said Picoult.
Picoult told the audience of another experience that helped her connect with characters in her latest novel, "Nineteen Minutes," which deals with school violence. She said in high school she and some fellow students petitioned for an honors English course. She said after the request was denied, she returned to school the next day to have her fingers slammed in her locker. A boy walked passed her closed locker door on her hand and called her a "freak."
"I am still not over that experience," said Picoult.
The enthusiasm about Picoult's books has been an exciting and positive time for the Schenectady County Library. Karen Bradley, coordinator for the "One County, One Book" project, said bringing the idea of One County, One Book to fruition has been more successful than anyone ever anticipated.
"This exciting community read is not only benefiting the residents of Schenectady County, it has put us on the map. Books can bring people together from all ages and from all walks of life," said Bradley.
In addition to answering questions from the audience, including one on her perfect curls, Picoult said the audience members should give themselves a round of applause.
"Congratulate yourselves on coming together to celebrate the power of books," said Picoult.