Author Talks

On this Skype visit with Middlebury Elementary School in Middlebury, CT, I’m talking about research (and what moats were really like). credit: Stephanie Robinson

Sadly, my schedule is swamped right now, so I will have very little time to do many more author talks in 2021. If you’re eager to have a virtual visit from me for the 2021/2022 school year, please contact me and I’ll see if I by chance have an opening or might squeeze you in. Thank you!


“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

“Diane’s enthusiasm for both writing and all things Scottish really shone through and engaged the children. I absolutely loved how Diane broke down the idea of writing and editing a story into bite-size pieces.”—Amy Graham, Cascade Brook Elementary School

“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

During this virtual school visit with Phippsburg Elementary School in Phippsburg, ME, students created a truly incredible premise that they continued after we hung up. credit: Sandi Brann

Here I’m reading a chapter of The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter to the students at Spruce Mountain Elementary. credit: Amy Ryder

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 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.

(CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.2 through 8.2, adapted for different grades)

Timing: 45-60 minutes

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

Free Virtual Visits

This is a shorter version of the author’s journey talk about, in which I explore some of the things that have led to my current books, share book recommendations, and read an excerpt aloud (with Scottish accents). And there’s a spot for student questions too.

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

Timing: 30 minutes

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

Library Talks

My library talk is all about castles! Mighty fortresses of stone, that is, with murder holes, portcullises, plenty of arrow loops…and more. In this talk, I share where my love of all thing tough and stone began (my childhood roaming the cliffs of Mount Desert Island), and then launch into castle defense. I share pictures and encourage the audience to imagine themselves both as castle defenders, but also invaders. This talk is full of fun facts about moats, stuff that gets caught in armor, and what to think about as you design your own castle. This presentation includes a read-aloud.

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 a bookseller local to me to personalize books and then have them ship to you. Let’s chat if you’d like to explore this option!



If you’d like to book me for a virtual 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 Schools or Libraries (virtual visits):

A 45- to 60-minute presentation: $200

A 30-minute read-aloud and Q&A: Free


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!