I’m booking visits for schools and libraries for 2024/2025. If you’re eager to have a visit from me, please contact me and let me know which presentations you’d like. Thank you!
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 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
All About the Monster: A Monster-Building Writing Workshop
Monsters are among the most popular villains in fiction, yet what if the monster was the hero? In this guided writing workshop, I lead students in monster-building from that perspective. We’ll create our monster, think about some essentials, and then build it as the protagonist of its own story—with its own motivations and challenges. I’ll start this presentation with a brief reading from my newest book, Secret of the Shadow Beasts, to share some of the monsters I’ve worked on most recently—and describe how I might have written this novel if they were the ones in charge! This presentation includes a brief Q&A.
Audience: third to eighth grade; classroom, grade, assembly, or full school; or other student group (such as at a library)
Make a Premise, Build Your Story: A Guided Writing Workshop
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
Author Talk: Brutal Blocks of Stone and More: Building *Your* Castle
So, are you creating a castle? Writing, drawing, or building (in Minecraft, Lego, paper) are all are great ways to delve into medieval defense. This talk will introduce you to some of the ingenious (and nasty) details of these mighty fortresses of stone—and the murder holes, portcullises, and arrow loops that make them what they are. In this presentation, I share different parts of castle defense with real-life examples so that you can picture your own castle—from the perspective of a defender or invader. This talk includes fun (and disgusting) facts about moats and stuff that could get caught in medieval armor. This presentation includes a read-aloud. (For ages 7 to 13)
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