Author Talks

Here I’m presenting on World Read Aloud Day 2018 to Baker Middle School. This was a fantastic group of 7th graders, and I loved talking with them. They had fabulous questions and great book suggestions! Photo: Jenny Berlin

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. We’ll start the conversation there!

“Thank you so much for being a part of the 6th grade Career & Aspirations Day at Memorial. We appreciate all the time and energy you dedicated to preparing, and presenting. You did an amazing job. By far, our favorite presentation of the day! We are all very excited for your upcoming book. We look forward to having you back at school again. We truly appreciated hearing about your journey in being an author.”

—A lovely hand-written thank-you note from my very first author talk (before my book was in print) in South Portland, Maine!

Skype Visits

During Skype presentations, I talk a little bit about what it takes to be a writer (and encourage kids who struggle to write), then read an excerpt aloud (yes, with Scottish accents) and answer questions.

I love to let students choose the excerpt. This makes the presentation especially meaningful for students who are part-way into the book as a class (in that case, I read the next chapter) or have finished the book. (If the class hasn’t read it, that’s fine; then I’ll just choose an excerpt myself.) Skype sessions are limited to individual groups, and I ask that your class or school library get a copy of The Mad Wolf’s Daughter so that students at these visits will have the chance to read it.

Timing: 30 minutes

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

Author Talk: Building the Writing Journey

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: 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 Create a Premise, an activity in which I lead students to build a medieval story premise of their own—and then revise it to see in real time how a story can evolve.

Timing: 45 – 60 minutes

Audience: third to eighth grade; classroom, grade, or assembly

Small Group Writing Session: Intensive on Building Characters

In this session, I lead students through the process of creating characters. I’ll work on where to find potential characters, how to identify tropes and challenge stereotypes, what kinds of characters a story might have (protagonist, antagonist, sidekick), and how to create a character while creating a story. In this highly interactive workshop, students will build a premise, determine narrative perspective and character voices, and write approximately a few paragraphs to a page of fiction. Every student receives a signed bookmark.

Timing: 45 – 60 minutes

Audience: third to eighth grade, classroom or small group (ideally, no more than 25 students)

Small Group Writing Session: Intensive on Plotting

Every writing student knows that you need a character, a goal, and something that stands in the way. But why does a plot matter? Introducing: the stakes, which can be challenging to create; even published authors struggle with the process of teasing out the stakes from the conflict. In this highly interactive workshop, we’ll talk about the basic structure of a story—character, goal, conflict, and stakes—for The Mad Wolf’s Daughter. Then students will create their own premises, complete with stakes—and experience a taste of revision when I ask them to adjust character, goal, conflict, or stakes. Every student receives a signed bookmark.

Timing: 45 – 60 minutes

Audience: third to eighth grade, classroom or small group (ideally, no more than 25 students)

Library Talks

My talks for librarians can be remarks, a reading, and Q&A for a mixed-age audience, or else something more geared for a student crowd.

When I’m presenting mostly to kids (8-years-olds to 13 or so), my presentation runs between 45 minutes and an hour. In it, I speak briefly about how I came up with The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, then read an excerpt. And then the audience and I look into the layers of a Norman castle’s defense and build our own examples. And then I take questions. I can adjust these activities based on libraries’ specific needs.

Book Signings

Book signings are part of each in-person visit, or, in cases where time is limited, I’m happy to sign books in advance. Contact your local bookstore (many offer school discounts) or Penguin Young Readers (which also offers school discounts). Use this Penguin Young Readers Book Sales Form for Penguin Young Readers sales.

Rates

Availability:

I’m currently booking Skype presentations for the 2018/2019 school year and in-person presentations for Spring 2019. If you’d like a talk, please contact me with the kind of talk or small group session you’d like, and what specific date/s or general month you’d like to request. I’ll fill as many requests as I can fit in my schedule.

MY RATES:

Skype Visits:

Free

For Schools:

  • Three author talk presentations and/or small group writing sessions
  • Breakfast or lunch with students selected by teachers or your school librarian
  • A book signing

Within 50 miles of Freeport, Maine: $500/day

Beyond 50 miles of Freeport in Maine: $750/day plus travel (including accommodations, if necessary)

Outside of Maine: $1,250/day plus travel (including airfare and accommodations, if necessary)

For Community Libraries:

  • One 45- to 60-minute author presentation (either remarks, a reading, and Q&A; or a highly interactive presentation geared for elementary and middle schoolers)
  • A book signing

Maine libraries: $100

Beyond 50 miles of Freeport in Maine: $100 plus travel

Outside of Maine: $500 /day plus travel (including airfare and accommodations, if necessary)

Scholarships:

I love what public schools do for their communities and I want to support schools whenever I can. I’m also a big fan of Maine community libraries. I offer limited scholarships for schools and libraries in Maine (and occasionally out of state), depending on my schedule. Please contact me if you’d like me to speak and can’t fit me into your budget. I’ll see what I can do.

Questions?

Do you need help planning an author visit? Penguin Young Readers has an excellent checklist, “How to Plan an Author Appearance,”that might be of use.

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!