Author Talks

Presenting to a wonderful crowd at Spruce Mountain Elementary. Photo: Amy Ryder

I’m booking virtual visits for schools and libraries for 2022. If you’re eager to have a visit from me, please contact me and let me know if you’re interested in one of these options. Thank you!

Author Talk: Building the Writing Journey

During this Skype visit with Phippsburg Elementary School, students created a really amazing premise! credit: Sandi Brann

Becoming an author involves a journey much like ones that a fictional character would take. Like their characters, a writer needs courage, perseverance, and inspiration to make it to the goal. In this talk, I’ll describe my own writing journey to my debut, The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, and share how it’s continued: where my ideas come from, how and where I do my research, and the all-important and frequently inspiring process of revision. This presentation includes a read-aloud, as well as Make a Premise, an activity in which I lead students to build a story premise of their own—and then revise it to see in real time how a story can evolve.

Timing: 60 minutes

Audience: third to eighth grade; classroom, grade, or assembly; or library student group

Author Talk: After the Author's Journey (NEW)


Photo: Heather Shadish

For children’s authors, the journey toward publication often mirrors our characters’ journeys: With friends, courage, and perseverance—and a magical item or two—we reach the goal, having learned something about ourselves on the way. That’s where the story usually ends. But in this talk, I’ll delve into what happens after. I’ll describe my own author journey: beginning with my first novel as a teenager and the inspirations that led to it, to my published debut, and to where I am now. I’ll talk about the inspiring moments, and the tough ones (like rejection); the role that I need to play as a children’s author in today’s world; the techniques I use to keep focused when everything seems bleak; and how all of that led to Secret of the Shadow Beasts. This presentation includes a read-aloud from that book, as well as a Q&A.

Timing: 45-60 minutes

Audience: classroom, small group, or small assembly; library student group; or general public

Author Talk: Interactive Writing Workshop

Students came up with incredible ideas during my Interactive Virtual Writing Workshop with St. Clare’s Primary School, Hong Kong. I love seeing student creativity in action. Photo: Ms. Sandy

In this highly interactive presentation, I’ll guide students through the process of creating a story premise—and then work with them to build it even more, using elements of fiction: perspective, character arcs, setting and sense of place, and action scenes. I’ll start with examples from my books to illustrate the concepts, and then this presentation will explore students’ ideas and celebrate their creativity—by introducing topics from the ELA classroom as experiential learning. This presentation includes a brief Q&A.

Timing: 60 minutes

Audience: third to eighth grade; classroom, grade, assembly, or full school; or other student group

Free Virtual Visits

In this presentation, I read a chapter of one of my books aloud and answer student questions.

As always, if you’re reading one of my books to your class, I’ll read the next chapter or let your class pick its favorite.

Timing: 20 minutes

Audience: third to eighth grade, classroom, small group, or small assembly; or library student group



If you’d like to book me for an appearance, please contact me with the kind of talk you’d prefer, and what specific date/s or general month you’d like to request. (For spring 2022, I’m doing only virtual events. Contact me if you’re interested in an event this summer or fall, and we can talk about how we could do it, as well as my rates.)


Schools or Libraries (virtual visits):

A 60-minute presentation: $300

A 20-minute read-aloud and Q&A: Free


 A note:

I support equity and inclusivity in the world of books and beyond. I am not available for any book events that discriminate against marginalized or underrepresented people, either on the page or off.


“Your virtual visit was a big success! Thanks very much for allowing enough room for students to engage and interact with you, and taking them on a literary journey. The virtual author visit is the first of its kind that we tried out at our school. We usually schedule in-person visits but what we witnessed on that day was way beyond our expectations as well. This clearly was a valuable learning opportunity for our senior graders.” Ms. Sandy, St. Clare’s Primary School, Hong Kong (Interactive Virtual Writing Workshop)

“As they went off to continue their stories, one student said, ‘Best. Day. Ever.’” Sandi Brann, Phippsburg Elementary (after a 45-minute Skype visit that included my “Make a Premise” exercise)

“Diane tailored her presentation to the interests and age levels of our students. She easily held the students’ attention by the content she had to share and the way she delivered it. Highly recommended! …Upon returning to the library after the presentation, a group of 8th grade boys gathered around the whiteboard and wrote their own story following the format Diane presented. Teachers have reported other students doing the same in their classrooms and outside of school. Every comment I have had from students, teachers, and admin about the presentation was positive, and the books are flying off the shelves.” Amy Ryder, Spruce Mountain Elementary and Middle School (Author’s Journey)

“We really enjoyed the presentation and writing sessions. Diane was very inspiring and really encouraged the kids to be creative but gave them a framework that can keep a writer from meandering off track or the plot stagnating.” Robin Strauss, Mount Desert Elementary/Northeast Harbor Library (Author’s Journey)

Book Signings

Book signings have always been part of each in-person visit. With virtual visits, I’m happy to send personalized bookplates to a bookseller local to you or work out a plan with Print: A Bookstore to have personalized signed books shipped to you. Let’s chat if you’d like to explore this option!


Do you need help funding a visit? If you’re a school in Maine, the Maine Literacy Fund can help. It has rolling deadlines from February 1, 2022 – November 30, 2022, and lets grant recipients know if their grant has been awarded within a month.

If you’re looking for advice on planning an author visit, Penguin Young Readers has an excellent checklist: How to Plan an Author Appearance

To arrange an author talk, please contact me with the talk or small group session you’re interested in and the date/s you’d like to request. Thanks!